It has taken a while to figure out which way works best for plotting and scheming a novel. The two extremes are plotting. It is a method involving working out as much of the detail as possible beforehand. The other is pantsing a term used for flying by the seat of your pants. When a writer sits down and completes the entire novel without an outline. I have plotted one, pantsed one, and used a combination of the two. The first novel was written from start to finish with no outline. The third was detailed with 2-3 paragraphs per chapter. The irony is that both required volumes of re-working, rewriting and editing.
Finding the Best Fit
The way that works best can not only change for each person, but it can also change for each story. So if you find yourself wondering why one method was fantastic for the last story, yet stalls you on the next try a different technique. The one that worked best for me involved a combination, two-thirds pantsing and the last third plotting. Why? I find pantsing is fantastic for leading my characters into so much trouble. By the time I made it to the last third the conflict had grown too complicated. I had to stop and figure out how the protagonist was going to find a way out.
I sketched an outline for the fourth novel length manuscript. So far the story has veered off course. I will start panicking when I reach the two-thirds mark. Where the characters are in so much trouble I have to find a way out. Don’t be afraid to find out what method what works best for you.