I’m a pantser.

Wow! My first blog as part of the Soul Mate family of authors. It feels so good to be part of such a talented and supportive group of people.

Now that I’m here I have something to confess: I’m a pantser!

When I confessed this to my wife, the shock on her face told me she didn’t understand. You can imagine her relief when I explained.

There are two types of writers: plotters and pantsers.

Plotters plan out their story completely, diagramming chapters and doing complete character sketches. They know when their characters will meet, when they will fall in love, and the precise instant that ‘dark moment’ will hit, even before they type the first paragraph of their story.

Us pantsers…well we write by the seat of our pants. When I begin writing a story I have two very rough character sketches, and a situation to plop my characters into. Then I wait to see what they do. Oh, I can poke and prod a little bit along the way, but it’s really their story to tell. I’m just the recorder. As my characters adventure, I discover those flaws and dark secrets that the plotter knew right from the inception of their story. Many times along the way I have to backtrack to fill in or change an item I didn’t discover until later.

Throughout the day, even when I’m not sitting in front of my computer, my characters call to me, telling me the next part of their story. Many times when I do sit down to write, however, they take me in a completely different direction (the scamps), and I end up somewhere I never imagined just an hour or so earlier.

I’ve tried being a plotter, really I have. It seems to me the better way to write – no pitfalls, no blind corners to navigate. But it never worked for me. No matter how well I plotted, I would get to a point where my characters just refused to do what I wanted. I’d have to let them loose and end up replotting the rest of the story anyway.

So, off I go. My characters sharing their adventures with me, so I can share them with you. I’m a pantser.

S. C. Mitchell

I blog here and at: http://scmitchell.wordpress.com/

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About scmitchell

Just a small town computer nerd with big dreams of becoming a published author.
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16 Responses to I’m a pantser.

  1. B.J. Scott says:

    Welcome to the SM family. Wish you much success with your writing.

    I can be considered both. A pantser and a plotter. I have my story outlined before I start to write, but jump all over the place. An example being– my first three chapters and my last chapter of a current WIP are written, and nothing is carved in stone. While I have an idea of where the story will go and what will happen to my H&H, the plot is often spur of the moment.

  2. Welcome aboard and fear not … I’m a panster as well. I tried to plot, but like you, it didn’t work. Once I wrote out an outline of a complete plot, then became bored with the story and never wrote it. I think I become part of my character’s adventure as they tell me their story and allow me to write it down. For me, plotting takes all the joy out of writing.

  3. Hi Steven,

    Welcome to the SMP family!

    I’ve discovered I’m both. Mostly, I’m a pantser–my characters like to surprise me, and I like it when they do. But I’ve found that if I’m writing a new world (as in a steampunk), I have to have the world carefully plotted out before a single word is written. I’ve found that’s true when I write romantic suspense too. My crime isn’t believable unless I plot.

    Now what my characters do in my crazy world… Well that’s entirely up to them!

  4. bevirwin says:

    Welcome Steven
    I’m a pantser trying hard to be a plotter. It would make writing so much easier. I start out with an idea or someone talking in my head, figure out what the ending will be, I do like justice, then I fill in the middle.

  5. Hey, Steven, welcome to Soul Mate!

  6. scmitchell says:

    Thank you all for the warm welcome. I think I’m gonna like it here. :)

  7. Lyn Cote says:

    Steve, I’m both–a panster and a plotter! Some things I plan; others just pop up! Glad you found a blog of kindred souls!

  8. Welcome, Steve. I often think life would be easier if I could plot out my stories first. But when I sit down to try, nothing happens. Guess I’m doomed to be a pantser. Glad to have you in the club.

  9. Steve,
    I’m new to Soul Mate too, and like you, I’m a panster. I do plan a few things; very few things. Isn’t it exciting to see where our characters take us?

  10. revrosevan says:

    Hi Steven! Welcome to Soul Mate!

    Confession: I am a pantser, too. I try to control my characters by plotting things, but they just go off and do their own stuff. But I won’t complain. So far, it’s worked out pretty well. :-)

    I look forward to more posts and good writing from you!

  11. Cheryl Yeko says:

    Hi, Steven. Yep, me to, for the most part. Although recently I found a nice little tool that helps me to at least outline my chapters as I go. This helps me keep on track.

    Welcome to Soul Mate!

    -Cheryl

  12. scmitchell says:

    An author friend of mine dropped me a message after reading this. She calls it ‘Writing into the fog.’ I really love that image.

  13. Mary Hughes says:

    Great post! I like being a pantser because writing the story is an adventure. Congratulations on your debut post!

  14. jannashay says:

    Hi, Steven. Welcome to our SMP author group.

    I’m like you, a pantser. I’d love to be able to plot, but I can’t plot to save my soul. When I sit to write, I never know what’s going to happen next. It’s kind of nice because I’m always pleasantly surprised.

    Great post.

  15. Pingback: Which Comes First? The Story or The Character? | The View Outside

  16. Pat says:

    I’m a bit of each, plan somewhat but not all. Characters arrive and are explored in my head, vague plot ideas occur around him, but writing is a seat of pants thrill ride, without which I would never get anything finished.

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