Research all the details. Write up a chapter by chapter outline. Write a character bio for all the characters you currently have. Get a map for your story. Draw your characters or have someone do it for you. Have everything down to the details before even getting into the writing portion.
That’s what I don’t do.
I’m, what is called, a pantser.
I just go into the writing bit and research details as I go. I usually have a vague idea of what kind of character I want, but they will usually change in personality, age, style, as the story goes along. I will only stop changing them once I’m satisfied.
This style of writing generally is not recommended, it seems, if you are writing fantasy. Fantasy involves a ton of research to make your world as believable as you can make it.
A pantser like me, makes things up as they go along and fixes the inconsistencies when they arise. That means I might start researching about types of roofs commonly seen in the countryside while writing the story.
I might look up if people used flint to start fires in the Victorian Era, find the answer, and continue writing the scene. However, there are downsides to this method. People who are planners will most likely agree that there is everything wrong with pantsing.
But there are also downsides to being a planner. You planners don’t write without suffering. I know.
Anyway, let’s start with the pros.
All the world building is done.
You know exactly what the scenes look like and what happens next. No excuse for writer’s block here.
Description of places may come a lot easier.
You will not be distracted when writing because you have all the detailed research done.
You can change the world building details any time you feel like it which can help you stay interested in your story.
If you have an idea, you can write it in right away without having to hold it in for a long time.
Immediate satisfaction when you see your story coming together.
You can get to know the character you created little by little and that can be fun and interesting.
- You may find you are restricted to what you planned and have little freedom in writing.
- You might spend a good chunk of time world building when you could have been writing. (a friend of mine spent ten years world building)
- Everything is set in stone so you can’t change things up if you start getting bored with it. Cue writer’s block.
- Since you haphazardly put information in, the clean up later can be stressful and unnecessarily tiring. Cue writer’s block.
- A good chunk of time might be wasted if you find out that a contradiction in your story, or something that doesn’t make sense, takes up half of what you wrote. An editing pain.
- Because you wrote on impulse, you can easily confuse yourself on what is actually supposed to happen.
Which one is better? Neither, in my opinion. Yet, one or the other might suit you better depending on how you work when it comes to writing. You might work better as a planner or better as a pantser.
Also, know that there is nothing bad about meticulously planning, and there is nothing bad about haphazardly pantsing. If you’re not sure which one is good for you, try them both.
Good luck! 😀