A friend of mine shared this graphic on Twitter, created by Cheyanna A Lepka. It’s a matrix that details different writing styles. As a person who loves taking personality quizzes, I just had to figure out where I belonged on this matrix. But I was surprised to learn that if I had taken this quiz years ago, I would have ended up in a completely different square.
Years ago, I was a Lawful Plantser. I often knew the endpoint of my plays before aiming to write. I wrote very detailed profiles for characters, faithfully following Lagos Egri’s guidance in The Art of Dramatic Writing. I felt the responsibility of knowing all the ins and outs of my characters and their journeys.
Nowadays, I’d say I’m a Neutral Plotter. I still outline, but hold it less dearly - beat sheets is probably more like it. And I do indeed feel the guilt of wanting to write detailed character bios, but not finding the time to. I’m not sure if the change means that I’ve become more lazy or more confident in my craft. Probably a little of both. I think I’ve learned enough to know that I’m not going to get everything perfect out the gate, so why put so much effort into an outline that is inevitably going to change? I’ve also learned that once the show is handed to other artists, their experience with the piece will fill in any gaps that may be present. I can build as I go.
It’s kind of freeing, actually, to see this matrix, and to realize that none of these writing styles is better than the other. So I don’t need to feel like I’ve fallen short if I no longer find myself being “Lawful.” But alas… the guilt’s still there sometimes.