APADO, Thoughts

Pansting vs. Planning: The Great Debate {APADO #3}

(this is APADO, a little blog series where I try to post once a day for the entire month of October. Yep, it’s a stupid idea. OH WELL.)
(I’m not psychic but this post will probably have a lot of opinionated comments. That’s okay. I like opinions. And comments >w<)
(also I legit just said I wasn’t a book blogger and here I am, making a bookbloggerish post. talk about indecision)
ahem, totally not showing off my nano certificates. I’M NOT.

Things have been nice and inspirational here on Steeplechase this week. I think it’s high time we opened a can of worms.

We all know that there are exactly two ways to do Nanowrimo:

a) Spend all your energy, creativity, and the month of October plotting out a gloriously complete story.


b) Throw caution to the sky and start Nanowrimo without a plan or a care in the world.

(Well, I guess there are a couple more ways, but we’re not going to get into those today.)

It seems that the entire Nanowrimo community is divided on this topic. Some swear by planning. Some live by pantsing.

And some are amused by the debate and want to hear more of these differing opinions. Hehe.

Let’s have a quick overview of both schools of thought.


Planning is the “correct” way to go about Nano. It also happens to be the sure-fire way to make sure that your hard work will pay off.

Planning pros:

It gets you in the Nanowrimo spirit nice and early! There’s nothing like getting excited about a new project, and planners get to dabble in their plot bunnies in their notes before committing to anything.

It’s social. Since you actually know what you’re doing, you can chat with people about how your story’s coming along. You could even have a planning party with other coordinated planners!

And it makes the writing process a bit easier. With enough notes, you can come out of Nanowrimo with a nice, clean novel that makes enough sense to be beta-read.


Planned novels are often a little stiff. They make sense, but they tend to struggle with pacing because “the plan said that this scene should last for at least 5% of the novel”.

Planning is stressful. The fear that your plan won’t be finished and that your novel will turn out trashy can start to control you if you’re not careful.

Isn’t planning a little…boring? What’s the point of writing your novel if you’ve already plotted it out completely? Doesn’t that seem redundant?

And woe to you if you have to make a change in the plot. Because a well-planned plot is well-connected – one simple mistake could end up forcing you to rewrite your story.

And then…there are…


Pantsing is also known as rapid-fire-stress-free-unconcerned-natural-writing-with-a-streak-of-weirdness-because-why-not. Memorize the acronym, there’s a test on Friday.

Pantsing pros:

Spontaneity = creativity. The ideas you roll out are raw, fresh and fun!

It takes a lot of the stress out of Nano. Can’t get off track if you don’t have a plan, ya know?

It’s fun. I’m not saying that planners don’t run into surprises, but when you’re down on the wire and have to make something up, the result is usually a lot more natural (and funny!).


It usually results in a second rate project. Like, maybe two hundredth rate. The lack of control can make your story inconsistent – sometimes even unreadable. And there’s nothing more depressing than wasting a month writing something that no one can read.

It takes much, much more work. Even if your pantsed novel has promise, it’s a long road to edit it into anything polished.

All this makes it easy for you to do the unthinkable – to abandon your project completely and banish it into the depths of your files, so you can mock it later for your own amusement.


What’s your nano style? Pantser? Planner? Something in between?

Personally, I think that the one that works for you depends on your personality. But I’m saving that tangent on MBTI and plansting for another post. Hehe.

But this isn’t about me – what do you think? I’d love to hear what you have to say.

The floor is officially open.

Be nice. But please speak your mind!

Sayonara for now,