When it comes to my writing style, I am a pantster. Which means I write by the seat of my pants. No outlines. No idea of where the plot is going or what my characters are going to do next.
I like writing this way. I can’t believe some of the things that happen to my characters. Just a few minutes ago, I met somebody I had no idea would ever, in a million years, be in my novel. And he’s added a lot of tension to the story. Necessary tension.
To me, these surprises feel right. They feel natural. And I like that they come in and make my story better and take it to places I may never have imagined if I sat down to write an outline.
But, of course, like anything that sounds too good to be true, there are some drawbacks to life as a pantster. Sitting down to write, with no specific idea of what is going to happen next leads to a lot of blinking. And staring.
And once that wears off, it can lead to a lot of unnecessary wandering. A very literal, “well let’s go down this street, or open this door, or take these stairs, or talk to this stranger, and see what happens.” The thing is…sometimes you can make the decision to go there and…(gasp)…nothing happens. Nothing useful, anyway. That means a lot of Ctrl X-ing.
The good thing is, the more I write, the better I can see when I am going down a wrong path and stop myself a little sooner. Not soon enough. But sooner.
So far, that’s the way I write. That’s the way it all goes down. I don’t expect it to change, but who knows.
If you are a writer, are you a plotter or a pantster?
And what about in real life? Plotter or pantster?
I’m pretty sure I’m a pantster in both cases, although sometimes I keep a strict calendar. A strict…flexible…calendar. Ok fine. My calendar is very flexible.