You’ve probably heard writers drone on and on about whether they were plotters (people who outline and plot their book before they draft it) or pantsers (people who figure things out as they go along AKA “writing by the seat of their pants”) and all the pros and cons that come with their method.
While I find both methods fascinating (Pantsers—what do you mean you pantsed your way through a multi-POV and multi-timeline story? How could possibly keep everything straight? Plotters—a 30-page outline? Before you even started drafting the story? What the what?), I always considered myself a hybrid or “plantser”: I know the general story beats before I start writing and have even started writing a short synopsis before I draft. However, my “outline” is basically like, ten scenes I know I want in the story and then after that it’s me figuring out how the heck to get to them.
What really intrigues me though is what being a plotter, pantser, or plantser says about your personality in general. I can’t help it, I was a sucker for all those personality quizzes in Teen Beat and Cosmopolitan (and now occasionally on Buzzfeed). While I don’t sort all my characters into Hogwarts houses, I know that I’m a Ravenclaw, the MC of my ComiKon story is a Gryffindor (weird), and my cozy MC is a Slytherin who thinks she’s a Hufflepuff. What does that even mean? Well, it makes sense to me.
That being said, I’ve learned there is no situation more telling of one’s personality than…traveling. Are you the kind of person who checks and double checks your itinerary (and important documents, like passports) a million times? Has a checklist of the items you’ve packed? Has already researched and made a schedule of places to go and things to eat? Or do you prefer to go with the flow? Explore the location and go wherever your whimsy leads?
Surprise surprise, I’m a bit of both. I believe in being prepared, having a general list of places to eat (especially if it’s a different country and you know they have several must-try dishes; food is the most important part of any journey) and visit, and then working in free time around those places I know I want to check out.
I’ve been on vacation with people who want everything planned to the last detail (suffocating) and people for whom plans and punctuality mean little to nothing (frustrating). You want a real test of your relationship (romantic or otherwise)? Go on vacation together for more than three days, preferably abroad. People will show you who they are.
That being said, I’m currently plantsing my trip to Las Vegas next month. It’s a delayed anniversary trip for me and my husband (such a pantser) and my first time visiting Vegas as an adult. Would love to hear your recommendations, Dear Readers, and make sure to let me know in the comments: When it comes to vacation, are you a plotter, pantser, or both?