Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Day The Pantser Planned Ahead

I love the feeling that comes from finishing a manuscript. It doesn't matter how crappy it is, and how much you wish you never have to set eyes on the thing again. All that matters is that, tens of thousands of words later, it exists. It's here, living and breathing on paper or in your computer/tablet/magical pen that writes itself, and you no longer have to contain it in your head.

It's such a relief, too, as if literally 106k words (I'll need to take a weed-wacker to this thing to trim it down) have been lifted from my shoulders. It makes me feel all light and gooey inside. Being a writer gives a sense of accomplishment like no other, because it's such a long investment and the biggest reward you'll get immediately is your own satisfaction at completing what you started months or years ago. So kudos to all writers out there!

Now I'm going to put this ms away for a couple of weeks and move onto the next project. But I'd like to try something a little different this time.

I want to create a detailed outline first.

I've always been the type to go into a story with basics. Who's who, where they are, what's happening. I sometimes write the first chapter with no idea about what happens in the next, other than, "Okay, this and that character will do blah blah later, and we'll figure out what blah blah is when we get to it. NOW WRITE THIS THING BEFORE YOU SPONTANEOUSLY COMBUST, because that's what happens to silly writers who wait too long."

Is it wrong to write without plotting everything out? Some would say yes, others would say not necessarily. Everyone writes differently. And being a pantser seems to have worked for me so far. My mind has never let me down when it comes to figuring out what happens next. But "works for me" might not necessarily be what brings out my maximum potential.

And while the thought of making a detailed outline makes the pantser in me break out in hives, I'll be giving it a shot for my next project.

It'll be tough. My imagination pretty much runs itself. It dictates when it'll give me ideas and when it'll make me chase my tail in circles as I try to figure out an impossible plot point.

And to sit down and make all these bullet points, carefully planning out what goes on each? To resist the call of the story until it's ripe and ready for plucking? And then stick to this outline?


  1. Haha, well I´m a pantser too XD The thing is, I rarely plan things ahead and it also works for me. I´ve started reading your new stories and I love them, they´re awesome!

    1. Thank you! And gotta say pantsing is a lot more fun.