Writing life

The Three Types of Plotters

There are two kinds of people in this world: those who write books and those who don’t.

And of those who write books, there are three types of people: the pantsers, the plotters, and the plantsers.

Now, you are probably scratching your head, and wondering what all of that means. Pantser, plotter, and plantser all refer to a writer’s method of outlining the plot of their novels.

I’ll walk through each of the three categories. See if you can figure out what category you fit into!


This name basically comes from the saying, “Fly by the seat of your pants,” because that is basically the way these writers approach their book. They don’t take the time before hand to make a detailed list of what is going to happen in each chapter. In short, pantsers don’t outline their plot before they write.

Pantsers are also sometimes called discovery writers, because that is what they do when they write: they discover their story. Pantsers jump right into writing the story, without outlining a plot, and figure out what happens in it along the way.


Plotters are basically the opposite of pantsers. Plotters are the people who figure out the details, whether big or small, of their novel before opening a new document and typing up the story. They know what happens in each chapter, how the subplots tie into the story, and exactly when the climax is going to happen.

Plotters figure out the story first and then type it up.


Plantsers have their own comfortable mix of pantsing and plotting. They know the large, overarching plot, but not all of the fine details like a true plotter. But they don’t just jump straight in like a pantser. They have a balance of both.

When I first started writing, I thought I was a plotter at first, until I realized how in depth some people go in their plotting. Then I realized that I was a plantser, a nice mixture of plotting and pantsing.

Now, plotters, pantsers, and plantsers all vary in how much they fit into each category. Some plotters don’t do as much plotting as others, and some pantsers know a little bit more about their story than others do before they dive in. But these three groups are the main categories used to refer to a writer’s method of outlining.

What category do you fit into? Are you a plotter, pantser, or plantser?

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