Monday, March 5, 2012

Liar, Liar, On The Ground, and Other Kinds of Pants

I've recently learned that there are two kinds of writers.

The first kind is called a "Planner." These kinds of writers do things like create outlines of their entire story (probably with bulleted sub-categories), take classes on how to improve their writing (and then implement suggestions), and they set aside specific times of day to write (likely 8 am - 12 pm, then a half hour lunch break, then back to the work in progress from 12:30pm - 4:30pm). The "Planners" are generally an obnoxious breed, always bragging about things like "words per day", meeting deadlines, or well-mannered, orderly children.

I am not that type of writer.

I am what is known as a "Pantser." As in, I write by the seat of mine. I write furiously when I get the inspiration to do so. I let my characters speak to me at their own pace. Often, this means going days without writing, then having a bit of a binge and banging out 8 pages at once. Sometimes it means I stay up until 3 am writing and sleep until 2 pm the following day. The cats like it when I do this; the dog, not so much. It also means that I don't know very far ahead of time exactly what my characters will do, or say, or where they will go, or how long it will take them to get there. I don't write my scenes in order, because I don't always see how they are supposed to be written in a chronological manner. I skip around, then go back and fill in the gaps because suddenly, the puzzle pieces can fit together.

It's really fun being a Pantser. One of the best things about reading a really good story is that anticipation at the end of each chapter, the exquisite torture in the second it takes to turn the page and begin the next sentence. As a Pantser, I get to experience the same pleasure.When I give them a sample, my test readers usually say something about wanting to know what happens next. Me too, guys, me too! I'm dying to know! Gaaah!

Lest you think I'm completely out of control, I DO have the last sentence already written. The very last sentence for my epic trilogy, of which Book One is still being written. I know exactly where my characters will end up, they've already made that VERY clear.

The details leading up to that last sentence...well, what fun would creating a story be if I had to be all organized about it?


  1. I am one of those obnoxious planners that you have referred to LOL!...but have been known to be a pantser too. One time I wrote a story, I had no idea where it was going and it ended up being one of the best things I have ever written. Now, I plan, but give the story permission to go whereever it will. Works for me! :)

  2. I am only rude about Planners because I am secretly jealous :)