A pantser is a writer who writes through the unknown, which means they don’t plan or plot anything. They just sit down and write whatever comes into their head.
The opposite to a pantser is a plotter. This writer likes control and they like to know where they are going with a story. They plot and plan every scene, chapter and story thread.
As I am someone who does not plan her novels here are the highs and lows:
- Starting a story. Pantsers love starting stories. Sitting down to start writing a story is like entering a strange and enchanted forest for Pantsers. It is an exciting time as they don’t know what they will find on their writing journey. They might find literary magic or they might find literary beasties, but they don’t care as it is the thrill of the unknown that puts a huge goofy grin on their face.
- The freedom to stray from the path. Pantsers love straying from the path in a story. They like having the ability to take their story off in a completely different direction, whenever they feel like it. I can hear the groans from all you plotters out there. Pantsers hate control. They like to be free and go wild when let loose on a sheet of paper.
- The joy of discovering new characters…half way through a story. Pantsers love finding new characters. As they journey deeper into their enchanted forest new characters will spring out from behind trees and pop out of holes in the ground shouting “surprise!” It is so much fun being a pantser because you don’t know who you are going to meet from one chapter to the next.
- Crater sized plot holes. We tend to attract crater sized plot holes. This carefree writing approach has its drawbacks. They are normally so big there is no hope of crossing them so we are normally the ones rewriting half our stories.
- Middle Mayhem. The middle of a story or a novel is tough for us pantsers as we are having to make things up on the hop. Plus all that excitement at the start will have taken its toll on our brains making us weary. Our plotter writer friends will be busy following their detailed plan which will make us green with envy. The enchanted forest can go dark and sinister on us very quickly as we find ourselves not having a clue about which way to go.
- Painful editing. Editing can be uncomfortable for any writer but I think the pain levels are increased for pantsers. We have to make sense of what we wrote whilst we were getting carried away with meeting a random character in chapter four and we have to question why we went off on a wild goose chase in chapters eight, nine and ten.
Good luck in those enchanted forests pantsers!
Have a great day!
photo credit: Philip Dehm <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/48295183@N02/5989642101″>Sarah</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>