Pantser or Planner?

Unless a story comes to us complete and whole, most of us will fall more into one category than the other. And some of us sit with one cheek in each.

I've been having a couple of email conversations with two different people. In one, we're talking about imagination. This morning she said she thought most people didn't rely on imagination and the people who don't usually believe they possess little of it. She went on to say, "I think imagination can be awakened and can grow with use."

Her comments made me decide what to write here on the weekly writing post. As writers - especially as writers of fiction - we use our imaginations every day. Or we should.

But if we're solid planners, sometimes it's easy to become so mired in making sure all the details fit together we forget we used our imaginations to get to that point. That's when it's time to rock back and allow our imaginations to take the reins again and fix the problems. Wake it up and let it grow.

On the other hand, if we're solid pantsers we can have less of a problem relying on our imaginations but more of a problem in deciding which option to choose. Sometimes we have to follow each of those options to a final conclusion in order to select the one that works best for the story.

In each case, there are times we have to trust our intuitions - which brings me to the second email conversation I'm having. It's with one of my uncles about genealogy:

"You must remember that we only got where we are in this research by making some guesses that proved out."

Good advice for writers, too.