That answers that question rather nicely, don't you think. :) See you next week. :) No? Allright.
What's the difference? Why does it matter? Why do you care? Why do I care? One question at a time. Eesh. One person, two hands.
A plotter is someone who plots out their entire book in written outline style before writing word one. There are different levels to this. Some writers do a bare bones outline or skeleton like the kind that archeaologists find with part of the spinal column intact, the skull, a few ribs, and a leg or arm bone or two. Then there are the ones with a slightly more defined outline, sorta resembling Mr. Bones (we named ours Johnny) from Science class. Then there are the more complete outlines like Mr. Bones with some of the muscles attached. And finally there are the outlines that are just missing the skin, because the author has done such a thorough outline, they really just need to pretty it up a bit, throw some extra details in there, and their first draft is done.
So what is a pantser then? A Pantser is the exact opposite. They usually start writing with an idea and a couple of characters swirling around in their head. Generally convinced that to plot anything is to write the story and so they're done before they get started. There are a couple of levels to this as some people know a bit more about their story than others, with all of their ideas for the story, the character,s and the world in their head. A pantser, generally does not really know what is coming next, as they write and plot as they go. The ending a lot of them see is "and they lived happily ever after" with no more details than that.
So those are the differences between a plotter and a pantser. Most authors put themselves in one or the other category. But that doesn't mean they stay there. The only person it truly matters to is the writer. Well, it matters to teachers, but that's another story. Me, I don't outline. I am, however, a pantser with plotter tendencies. I generally know the basic idea, the main characters, and how it ends - happily ever after. Only when I'm creating a world or mythical or complex back story do I do a lot of plotting. And that's so I can avoid inconsistancies. And even then, I talk everything out with a friend who doubles as a sounding board or on my wipe board before I write down anything. I'm in the camp of if I write it down, I'm telling it, so I'm cautious about what I actually write down. My outlines are more like kintergarden crayon drawings or to use the skeleton analogy that the archaeologist found - it's part of the skull, several pieces of bone - not whole vertabrae - from the spine, one of the finger bones, and a rib. Even though I am more pantser than I ever will be a plotter, I try to spend a lot of time on my characters before I start, so I can know what they're triggers are, they're likes and dislikes, and where they come from. Though, I have started a book, like the one I'm working on now, with only a couple of names, a vauge idea, and later the title. Author quirk - I have to know the title of the book before I start writing.
The other difference - a pantser can have more clean up and revisions than the plotter, but not necessarily. And just because you have the outline, doesn't mean you have to follow it. Just make sure your consistent with whatever you change. And it's believable within the world you created.
Whether you write with an outline or by the seat of your pants, neither way is wrong as long as it works for you. But don't be afraid to take pieces and parts from the other side in order to make your writing stronger.