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Seat of My Pants Writing or Plotter/Planner

Pantser – A writing style where little is planned out or outlined ahead of time. Pantsing is writing and creating as you go along – writing by the seat of your pants.

Plotter/Planner – A writing style where very much if not the whole story, is planned out, outlined, and then that outline filled in the content.

This subject reminds me of my Mom and how she cooked. She was definitely a pantser! Rarely used recipes, and even more rare was measuring ingredients. Such things did not constrain her. 😊 On the subject of writing, this is a common discussion regarding whether one is a “Pantser” or “Plotter.” After much trial and error, I have fallen into the middle somewhere. I like a little structure that outlining offers, but not so much that I am trying to outline the whole story before I start writing the content. My current work has taken many twists, turns, and reversals as I wrote and began seeing characters and situations come alive and realizing that they wouldn’t do this or that in this or that situation. I love the freedom from an absence of constriction that an outline can impose. On the other hand, the light outlining that I do has helped me see potential holes or contradictions in the story before I put too much time into writing, only to rewrite large blocks because they don’t make sense.

A recent example was a character to which I had added a lot of importance that would seemingly not appear after two chapters because I initially had that character designed to be only a minor character. This all changed as my pantsing ways saw the character grow, and the interactions with the main character became more interesting. An outline might have stopped me and the character at that minor role level, but my flying by the seat of my pants revealed that this character had much more to offer. I then did some outlining to ensure I was connecting the dots right with the character now that it would be moving from a minor to a major character.

I bet we all can think of examples in our non-writing lives where we pants it or plan it. Which are you and did you even realize it? :)

I don’t need an alarm clock. My ideas wake me.”

—Ray Bradbury, WD

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I am definitely a pantser, especially when I journal. Whatever comes into my mind is what I write. Nice thing about journaling, it doesn't have to make sense to anyone else, it makes sense to me.

Oct 08, 2023
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For sure! As long as it makes sense to you :)

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