Confessions of a Reformed Pantser

(That's not my scrunchie)

I hate outlines. I prefer to write like I read: with no idea what will happen next. While writing without a plan may be thrilling, it is also a very time-consuming, painful process for me.

My last manuscript was written in a few months; however I then spent the next year revising it, which included scrapping the first seventy pages. Although I liked the idea of pantsing my way through a manuscript along with Stephen King and Nora Roberts, in practice I ended up writing myself into all sorts of corners.

For my newest WIP, I’ve gone the planning route and the results so far have been outstanding. The feedback I’ve received from my fellow Restless Writers on my outline has allowed me to control the pace of the story, delete superfluous scenes that haven’t even been written yet and flesh out my protagonist (thereby ensuring that the first seventy pages of this WIP aren’t full of unnecessary character sketches).

In one sense, it feels like this process takes a lot longer, but I know that the bulk of my work is already done. If only I could apply this newfound organization to things like grocery shopping, I figure I’d have three or more hours a day to actually write.

Are you a planner or a pantser? Are you committed to one method? Why does it work (or not) for you?



Filed under Inspiration, Motivation, Starting up, Success stories, Trials and Tribulations

5 responses to “Confessions of a Reformed Pantser

  1. Well, I haven’t written many lengthy works, certainly not a full manuscript. But since I don’t usually let my lack of expertise stop me from sharing my opinion, here it is: I like to plan. I like a map. But I also allow myself to take detours. Sometimes even change the destination. But just getting in the car and driving? Can’t do it…

    Good luck. Sounds like you’re off to a promising start!

    • Lori Dyan

      That’s exactly how I’m approaching it: following a map with a few unplanned pit-stops along the way!

  2. I’m a pantser.

    And it’s killing me because it takes FOREVER to write this way.

    But I can’t seem to sit down and figure out the endings when I’m still at the beginning…

    (ironically, I taught English for 16 years and I taught my students to outline. always.)

    p.s. I can’t believe you wrote your previous manuscript in a matter of months. Picture me jealous. And impressed. But mostly jealous.

  3. This has got me thinking more about planning. I prefer to wander, dream , reflect and then push myself just a little to write about an emotional inspiration. Wish I was more disciplined but striving for it. I’m trying to find my lost groove so wandering around in the writing world at the moment. For me, this is an adventure. I know this corny but I’m ok with that!

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