Pants, Plots, and….Mullets

Pants, Plots, and….Mullets

So, in the world of writing, there are plotters, and there are pantsers. Plotters are those diligent individuals who sit down and draft a synopsis, or an outline, or a general road map of a novel before they begin writing a story. Sometimes, those outlines are extremely detailed, as evidenced by exhibit A (being a sample of how J.K. Rowling outlines):


Then, there are those who are the antithesis of the plotters: the pantsers, or, those who write by the seat of their pants. While wearing pants. Hopefully. These are the lovely folks who insert their butt into their writing chairs and say “GO!” (in my mind, they do this loudly and with great aplomb. Also in my mind, I cheer them on).

So, what to do, what to do, what to do when one doesn’t fit into either category? Egads!

This is me. I sometimes plot, but sporadically and not very well. I sometimes pant (err, that sounds a bit wrong, doesn’t it?), but usually end up tossing the pantsing work, only to begin again.

My method of madness? I mull. Or back-brain. Or soft write. Whatever the term (see next paragraph for my suggestion), I need time to let things roll around in the space where my brain ought to me. Steep. Stew. Chew. Ponder. Ruminate. Mull.

And, hence, my suggestion: like-minded folk, may I offer up the term “mullet”. Now, I could have said “I am a muller!”, but why do that when I can proclaim loudly – from the tree tops, even – “I am a mullet! I am a MULLET!”

So. There you have it. I am a mullet, a strange breed of writer ( strange in my own mind) who spends as much time writing about the book I’m writing as actually writing the book I’m writing. Back when I was in university, I had a terrible problem with deadlines because I needed to ruminate and mull and construct my papers in my mind before I could set them down on the page, and sometimes, that process didn’t line up with, um, the deadline. Most of the time, I got those papers in, but the thing was, if I wrote in the, erm, normal way, rather than the mullet way, I almost always got lower grades. And, besides, this is how Mozart worked, I am told, and who am I to argue with Mozart’s methods?

So. Mullet it is. In writing terms, at least. But not the haircut. Never the haircut…

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4 thoughts on “Pants, Plots, and….Mullets

  1. I’M A MULLET!! So glad I’m not alone. (And Mozart, too, huh? Cool.) Thank you for identifying the strange writing creature that I seem to be. As you know, it’s been a rather long and trying journey for me to reach the point where I recognize that I’m neither true pantser nor true plotter and finally embrace my mulletness.

    For some reason, the Dr Pepper jingle is in my head now: I’m a mullet, you’re a mullet… wouldn’t you like to be a mullet, too? 😉

    1. Diagnosis confirmed! MULLETITIS!

      And yeah, I remember one of my music history profs saying that Mozart drafted whole works in his head and then wrote them down (or had them transcribed). So I guess we had better let him be part of the club…I suppose…. 😉

  2. I would say I am a mullet-pantser. I do stew over my stories quite a lot, but I rarely plot them out. The mulling part always helps me to figure out the characters and their motivations. The pantser in me, however, likes to just sit down and let the characters run amok as I follow them along. 🙂

    1. I say wearing pants with your mullet is a very good thing! 🙂 And yes, I do like to let my characters run amok too (if only so I can use the word “amok”, because it is an excellent word that is not used enough!)

      Happy writing, Rose – when you have a sec, let me know what you’re working on these day! 🙂

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