I’m a pantser. I admit it. What’s hard to take is when you have friends who mention they can tell a story has been “pants” like it’s some kind of evil. So you can imagine how that makes ME feel. I’ve tried to plot and outline. Every attempt has left me frustrated and made me feel I was losing that creative flow that comes from sitting down and writing before the ideas stop coming. A pantser HAS to write when the idea comes.
If there was one thing I took away from the RNConvention, it was that there’s a better way than plotting OR pantsing. I took a class called “Plotting for Pantsers” given by Lynn Lorenz. She gave us reasons why plotters are too rigid, often taking years to write a book. She said many times they get so caught up in plotting that they never write the story. She also said pantsers often get lost, forget what they named characters, and lose the plot because they forgot to include this or that. So she showed us a way to blend the two together. I won’t go into the whole process, but she basically uses a spreadsheet to start with. She has lines for chapters, different cells for scenes, etc. The way she does this seems really doable for pantsers. And maybe plotters, too. The point is, I think I’ve finally found something that could work for me. Some books, especially novellas, are easy to pants. But when the plot becomes more complicated, you need more structure. She talked about turning points in your story, etc. The way she does this, you can pretty much tell where that turning point is going to be without having a rigid outline. This lady just had it all together, in my opinion.
Btw, the majority of authors in the room were pantsers.