Saturday, June 3, 2017

Which NaNoWriMo Writing Style Are You?: Pantsers, Planners and Plantsers Case Study


Buttons are treasured in this group. Buttons are provided to participants when they win a writing race (word war), donate to the cause, want to have a keepsake for how many words they’ve written at the annual Midway Madness Event, and to celebrate their achievement for participating in or winning the challenge. Any amount of words written during the challenge are celebrated.

This year, we wanted to take it a step further to help foster the relationships in the community we have. Many of the participants in the NaNoWriMo challenge return again and again to the events. We wanted to have a way for participants to get to know one another better.

Every year there’s conversations about what kind of writer you are. The NaNoWriMo site defines three different types of writers:  Pantsers, Planners, and Plantsers.

Pantsers are those who write by the seat of their pants. They don’t have a goal for the direction their writing takes them. They just write.

Planners plan out everything and never deviate from their outline.

Plantsers are the combination of the two types. Often writers will start with an outline or a goal that’s written down and planned out but they allow their characters and circumstances to take their story wherever it wants to go.

Inspiration and Design

These designs were inspired by participating in Inktober. I wanted to combine text and imagery so that the writing style could be easily recognized and yet there is still a fun element of the icon behind it.

I made an icon of jeans for the Pantser design as the challenge is informal. A plain, white background had the design looking incomplete so I put a lighter blue background behind the image to provide a more cohesive look.

Writers whom identify as Planners usually start with outlines so I created a notebook page with an outline on it. I choose an orange color to go with this design as orange is the complementary (opposite) color of blue on the color wheel.

I brought the opacity down on both designs so that it wouldn't distract from the text. In doing so, the orange color turned a nice shade of beige. Much like a mole skin notebook.

I combined both Pantser and Planner designs to make the Planster button. I put the pants on top of the notebook. Usually, plansters will have an outline as a foundation for the writing project and then go wherever the story takes them.

Coloring the Plantser button was challenging. While combining blue and orange together makes brown, I didn’t want it to be too strong and muddy the text. Adding a little blue to the orange cooled the coloring compared to the Planner design. The difference was enough to have three different colors for each design.

For the text, I wanted it to be simple so that the wearer can identify with the style of writing they use the most. I chose to use the font Hobo Std as the curved lines of the font worked well with the curve of the button. I wanted to provide a natural, organic feeling to the process of identifying your writing style.

Rim text was added to commemorate the year the button was offered. A simple font was used so as to not distract from the other text or images.

Community Bonding

The Municipal Liaison and I worked out that 40 of each button would be sufficient to provide options for each type of writer.

The buttons were provided at a table at the annual Kick-Off Party. Those who couldn't attend the Kick-Off Party were provided with the button they desired at other events.

It was clear that being a Plantser was the most popular choice. Sometimes writers had a debate within themselves as to what style they were. I had one participant come to me concerned that she had chosen the wrong button. I assured her that her writing style was personal and she could exchange the button she had chosen if another writing style fit better.

The Municipal Liaison was delighted with the turnout of the new buttons. Now, participants literally have a badge that declares what kind of writer they are. In doing so, conversations were sparked and bonds were formed.