The 3 Types Of Worldbuilders: Planners

Last week, I published a blog on worldbuilding that introduced the 3 types of worldbuilders: Planners, Storytellers, and Creators.

Once you know what type of worldbuilder you are, it’s easier to know what to do or avoid when starting down the world-building and story-writing path.

Today, we’ll be focusing on Planners!

What Is A Planner?

A Planner is a writer who world-builds because they want their story to be the best that it can possibly be.

They want their readers to be immersed in the world they created for their story, and they want to make sure that if their story were to be scrutinized under a microscope, nobody would see a single plothole, or notice anything that doesn’t make sense.

As writers, Planners care deeply about how their stories will be perceived by their readers. 

Are their characters dynamic enough? Is the plot engaging and complex? Are the correct themes being portrayed throughout the story? Is there too much worldbuilding and exposition, or is there not enough?

These are the types of questions that a planner considers while they write—and even before they start!

A Planner’s Frustrations

Planners world-build so they can write. They want to make sure everything is in the story for a reason. They don’t want to be accidental geniuses. If something in their story is foreshadowed well, or the story’s theme showed up clearly, they want to say “Yeah I did that on purpose” and be telling the truth.

When Planners write their first draft, they often write it as if it’ll be their only draft. Needing to edit or rewrite anything may feel like a nightmare because it means they “missed something” while writing the first draft. And since most Planners do their very best on the first draft, it may also feel as though their best wasn’t enough—which can be extremely frustrating.

Planner Weaknesses

Because Planners want to do their very best and don’t want to be accidental geniuses, they may focus a little too much on details. 

Writer’s block isn’t usually a Planner’s enemy, but research can be.

Planners may find themselves researching anything and everything to make sure what their writing is “right”. That can become a weakness when they do more research than writing.

The fear of plot holes and extreme amounts of editing can keep a Planner in the world-building phase for far too long if they’re under the impression that they need ALL the details figured out before they can properly write their story. 

Being part Planner and part Creator myself has taught me that overthinking can kill a story before it’s even written.

Planner Strengths

But Planners also have a lot of strengths! 

They care a lot about creating quality stories, which their writing (once it exists) shows clearly. A Planner’s stories are generally fantastic and a lot of fun to read.

They’re also great problem solvers! 

Once a problem/plothole is evident, Planners are usually quick to find solutions. 

Due to the extensive research Planners do, their stories are often more accurate. They’re also great at combining plot and worldbuilding without unnecessary or boring exposition, making their worlds more immersive.

What To Focus On

If it wasn’t obvious by now, Planners tend toward the side of perfectionism and get hung up on the small details. But unfortunately, perfect doesn’t write books. Writing writes books.

Because planners tend to think through everything before they write, it may take forever for them to start writing. This is terrible since that means the rest of us are deprived of an amazing story! 

There are a few ways to encourage Planners to write instead of researching and worldbuilding for the next seventeen years.

#1 Hold Them Accountable

The first way to get a Planner writing or typing is to find them (or yourself if you are one) an accountability partner. If left to their own devices, a Planner is imaginative and can come up with creative ways to work on their story—without actually writing it. So having someone to check up on them can apply enough pressure to get a Planner writing. 

And on that note, if the Planner is willing, then letting them share their writing with another person may give them more confidence to start/continue writing.

#2 Don’t Plan

Second, a Planner can practice not planning! A great exercise for that is for a Planner to grab a random writing prompt and start writing a scene or short story without stopping to develop characters or settings. Being forced to develop the story as they go will help get a Planner used to writing, which may inspire them to try the same thing with longer works, like novellas and novels.

#3 Create A New Mindset

The third option is harder and more complicated because it involves a mindset shift. It is possible for a Planner to stop being afraid of “messing up”, “missing something” and “failing”. But that entails constantly reminding the Planner that: 

1. Stories are supposed to have multiple drafts because it’s impossible to write something perfectly the first time.

2. No one actually expects your book to be perfect, not even (or except) you.

3. At least if it’s written, it can be edited.

4. Someone is going to read your book and enjoy it, whether it has “mistakes” or not.

And any other fears or things that have been holding the Planner back.

Making a list of fears and doubts and coming up with phrases to counteract them will help a Planner slowly overcome those fears and gain enough confidence to write and world-build without fear.

Before You Go…

If you have any more questions about how to world-build/write as a planner, or if you or someone you know is one, let me know down in the comments!

In next week’s blog we’ll be moving on to Storytellers, so be sure to subscribe so you’ll get notified when the new blog is out!