Pantsing Verses Plotting


Do you think about your novel for weeks on end? Do you lay out the chapters and scenes in great detail before you ever begin writing? Or are you the kind or writer that sits at the computer and declares to the empty page that you will create an amazing story as you go? Or are you like me, and think about your story a lot, but then let the organic feel of discovery often take over your characters?

I’ve tried plotting, honestly I have, you know, using plot points, pitch points, midway….etc. But when it comes down to it, I love to discover what my characters are going to do next. One of my favorite characters is Rachael from Soulfire. I outlined the whole story, after all, it was my first real novel. And then somewhere between chapter one and chapter two Zephenia, my main character, met Rachael in the market place. I had no idea who she was and what she was doing in my story. I left her in, not quite knowing what to do with her.

Long about chapter four I had this great AHA!!!! moment. Now of course if I tell you who Rachael really is I’d spoil the end of the book. So you’ll just have to read it and find out. But my point is that often times the joy of discovering the story has such an organic feel to it, and I love that.

I’ve started another story and every time I try to plot it nothing is working. Where is my characters mid point? What is her first crisis? These are things I just can’t seem to solidify. So I wrote chapter one, with no real idea if I’d even started my story in the right place. But I decided I’d try this one completely pantsing it. And guess what? I’m really enjoying the process much more than if I’d plotted it out. I even woke up in the middle of the night, sat up and said, “His name is Trevon and he’s a scoundrel.” That’s the character who showed up in this book. I even think I know who he is, but for new he’s a knight in not so shining armor (literally).

Will I have to revise this new story because I didn’t plot it? Most likely, but that’s okay, too.

So whether you are a strict plotter, a loose pantser or somewhere in between, writing is about enjoying the craft.