Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

If you’re a writer, you’re probably either a plotter or a pantser.

Plotters are usually predominately left-brained. This means they use the left side of their brain more than the right side. The left side of your brain is the one that controls logic and order. If you are predominantly left brained you probably like your life to be orderly, are good at math, regularly make and follow to-do lists, are punctual to appointments. You get the picture. Left brained people are more likely to create a detailed plot plan before writing, whether it is fiction or not. They are also more likely to write plot driven stories, where the action dictates what happens to the characters.
Pantsers write by “the seat of their pants”. They are more right-brained. They are creative, passionate, emotional, and can be messy and disorganized. They are more in touch with their senses, and their writing includes touch, taste, and feel. Pantsers keep their stories in their heads and sit down and type them without planning. They may even rebel against writing down the plot and creating a plan. Pantsers are more likely to write character-driven stories, where the emotions of the characters determine what happens.
Most of us have seen this dancing woman who spins. If she spins clockwise, you are using your right brain, and if she spins in an anti-clockwise direction you’re using your left brain.

If you’re quite evenly right and left brained, you should be able to change the direction she is spinning while you stare at the moving image. (Hint: look at her shadow–it somehow makes it easier to change her direction if you do.)

A lot of us are a mixture of both, and use our right and left brains equally.

Click on the link under the table below to take the left brain/right brain test and see how you fare.
Strangely, I scored more on the left side in that test, but I see the dancer spinning clockwise more that anti-clockwise, although I can change her. And I’m definitely a pantser.

Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz
The higher of these two numbers below indicates which side of your brain has dominance in your life. Realising your right brain/left brain tendancy will help you interact with and to understand others.
Left Brain Dominance: 9(9)
Right Brain Dominance: 6(6)
Right Brain/ Left Brain Quiz


Peace and Love.

21 thoughts on “Are You a Plotter or a Pantser?

  1. Hi Trish – Great to meet you on LinkedIn. I am L-12, R-10, I think that's pretty evenly balanced :-). I copied the HTML and will post the same on my blog tomorrow. Come over and follow my blog!


  2. Amy, I followed you. I saw you also like Wilbur Smith. My best friend at school, Liz Walton's sister typed the manuscript for When the Lion Feeds, and I've read every book since. I call him an Exxxtreme romantic suspense writer!

  3. As a classroom teacher, I have had other tests for brain dominance, learning/working styles, etc. I always came out right in the middle. Now that I'm at home and spending more time writing, I thought maybe my brain dominance had changed.

    To make time for writing, I've given up on perfectionism tendencies, especially where housework is concerned. I took your test to see if I have really shifted in my brain dominance. Nope! My house may look messier and my walls get cleaned less, but the toilets are still clean. Sometimes my piling gets ahead of my filing.

    But I'm still in the middle with a score of 11 for Left and 11 for Right. I can only make the dancer spin counter clockwise if I scroll down and look mostly at her shadow. The middle is okay with me, because I have often thought that must make me more flexible in my thinking. I have more methods at my disposal.

  4. Like Sharon, I got the same results on the quiz (L-9, R-8) as I've been getting for nearly two decades. I think it's the best way to be! πŸ™‚

    Not to be a party pooper, but I think that GIF is designed to go one way for a while, and then go the other way. I couldn't get it to change while looking at it, but while I was reading the text below it, my peripheral vision caught a skip and when I looked back up, it was going the other way. I watched for a while and saw the change happen. The “stars” on the body shift location.

  5. I don't know how that picture was made, but I can change it at will–so it's not pre-programmed. I do find I have to change the way I look at it, so maybe that's what you were doing by looking with your peripheral vision.

  6. Kathy, Math is not the only measure of left brain dominance. My twin eight-year-old grandsons are the perfect illustration, as they are total opposites. Corbin is tidy and careful and brilliant at all his school work, while Blaise is messy, a great artist, excellent at sport, and hates anything that means sitting for too long.

  7. I guess you're right, because this time no matter what I did, it didn't change the spin. I stared at it for a really long time. πŸ™‚ When I clicked the link to open just the gif, there were no dots/stars on the body. Still couldn't get it to change. πŸ™‚

  8. This is an absolutely fascinating post. I always thought I would be more right brained than left but it turns out to be the other way round. I suppose I knew anyway because I just love my routines. If I don't have something to follow than I can't get a thing done.

  9. I'm a little confused because I scored L9, R5 but I can only see the dancer spinning clock-wise, which should indicate that I'm right-brained. I know I'm a little of both. I like to plot (sometimes), I can be organized in some things and really disorganized in others, and I like to think of myself as logical, but I can get emotional watching a sappy commercial. I wonder if there are people who are mostly or all left or right brained, or if everybody is a combination of both.

    Interesting blog.

  10. Jana, Try looking at the shadow at the bottom. That's how I make it go the other way. I did have comments on a group on LinkedIn from a girl who is totally right, and she confirmed that she is disorganized and crazy!

  11. Trish, I don't know how I have missed following your blog but I am now:>) I actually posted this page through group but never took the quiz myself. It just showed up as a discussion in LinkedIn under my profile (probably via Hootsuite). Some great discussion led me to take the quiz. Very interesting – mine was really close: left 11, right 10. Guess that makes me almost 50/50. LOL:>) BTW I could spin the girl both left and right.

  12. Hi Trish, enjoyed taking the quiz. I easily saw the dancer switch rotations. I scored a little higher on left brain dominance than right brain. I'm a avid list maker and love checking off what I've accomplished. (Self reinforcement ;o)

  13. I'm right brained, and yeah, I don't play well with outlines. I'm amazed at how many people think there's something wrong with this. While I was growing up and writing, people kept trying to “fix” me by telling me I really needed to outline and that it would help so much. I actually did try outlining on my novel — on the revision — and it actually broke it further. Outlining isn't a cure-all.

  14. So, apparently I'm about even. I'm 12 Left, 10 Right but I can't spin that wicked woman up there! Go figure…ROFL!

    I don't outline (I hate it, b/c it's telling the story to me and I don't want to know until I write it dang it!)

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