Posted in On Writing, Useful Sites

Planner or Pantser?

I was recently going through Limyaael’s Rants (which I highly suggest to anyone who is interested in writing) and came across one about writing without an outline. Which, of course, made me think about planning versus pantsing when writing.

For anyone who knows me, I am a planner. When I try to write without a plan, I write maybe a paragraph before I start making an outline.

I’m not saying that all of my outlines are complex with no room for derivation. Some of my outlines consist of three lines or a beginning, middle and end. But they always give me a sense of where I am going.

Some of my outlines are for a complete work while others are only good for a scene or two. In fact, the majority of my outlines are only good for a few scenes at best.

I suppose that, by creating outlines for only a few scenes, I am trying to be a pantser. However, it is ingrained into my being that lists and plans are required for life. So, by making smaller outlines, my story can retain the spontaneity that pantser stories have while keeping the structure of an outline.

For this month’s Camp Nano, I am trying to fly by the seat of my pants. I am trying to completely avoid writing out any sort of outline. It’s not going as well as I would like but I’m hoping that I can at least get through the month.

So what about you? Are you a planner or a pantser when it comes to your writing?


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4 thoughts on “Planner or Pantser?

  1. I’m a planner by nature as well, so I can relate. I have found two things particularly helpful in cultivating free-flowing writing time:

    1) FreeWrites. Not only do they help me sort my thoughts, but it also shuts down the editor in me that is constantly trying to correct and revise while writing. Before I open my main document for a WIP, I open a new doc or use OmniWriter to freewrite. Sometimes it continues where I left off, other times it brings new ideas to continue the story.

    2) Hang out with your characters. Yes, you’re crafting the characters and the story; but ultimately, I give them a majority vote. As I write, I often realize that how I planned events is more appropriate to my perspective rather than that of my characters. It makes us sound crazy as writers, but I think it’s completely legit–think about their non-verbals when writing dialogue, consider their past experiences when projecting their perspectives, and even take into consideration little habits and likes they would have that round them off as people.

    Good luck! Can’t wait to hear how it goes.


    1. Thanks for the info. I find that free writing helps though only if I use Write or Die. I swear by that site, especially kamikaze mode. There is just something about possibly losing words that keeps me writing. 🙂



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