Plotting versus pantsing

On many of the writer groups I am on there is an endless debate of plotting out novels versus pantsing them (for those who don’t know what pantsing is, basically it starting without an outline). Opinions run high about which is “right.” Many plotters issue dire warnings that pantsers cannot succeed and many pantsers declare that the plotter way is too rigid. It’s likely that both are right, and both are wrong. It doesn’t matter how people get there, as long as the end result is words on a page and something that reaches THE END.

I’ll be candid – I come down firmly in the pantser category. The last time I worked from an outline was in school. That isn’t to say that I have no idea what my story is going to be—although sometimes that’s true—but my writing style is such that I have to let the story evolve as it will, even if that means I wake up without any idea of what I’m going to write that day. Yet somehow by the time my writing time is up, I’ve made my word count. That doesn’t mean everything is usable, but it’s on the page.  I can’t edit what isn’t there.

My process has adapted to this methodology. Often my mind is mulling over the next steps in the story during the day, and takes shape when I next sit down to the computer. In addition to being a pantser, I’m also a morning person. My creativity thrives best in the early hours before the madness of the day starts. By that time, I’ve had all day, and sometimes the night, to mull over plot points. I’m not sure that’s what happens with all pantsers, but that is what happens with me. I’m not “winging it” so much, as the popular misconception about pantsers goes, but I’m not working from an outline. My outline comes in the words in front of me for that day. Then the next day is something new. Etcetera. It has worked for me for years, and with luck and good fortune it will work for me for as long as I continue to put hands on keyboard.

Hope whatever your creative method is, it works for you!

Below is a little about my Soul Mate books and me.

My fourth Universe Chronicles book will be released later this year. In the meantime, my third Universe Chronicles book, Storming Time, is available now. Here’s a blurb and a buy link—if you’re interested!

Storming Time blurb:

A fast car, a little weather manipulation to cover his tracks, and Zared Hersh’s emergency extraction job is done. But when Hannah Nickels dives into his front seat, something about her aquamarine eyes strikes him like lightning.

Hannah’s been groomed to join Universe from the moment her time-freezing talent emerged. But recently, her power’s been glitchy.

In the relative safety of Universe HQ in Richmond, their relationship grows. But Hannah has a second, more dangerous power. And as her control slips, someone with a hidden agenda sets her up to fall—straight into Whisper’s trap.

Claire Davon

Claire Davon has written on and off for most of her life, starting with fan fiction when she was very young. She writes across a wide range of genres, and does not consider any of it off limits. Her novels can be found in the paranormal romance and contemporary romance sections, while her short stories run the gamut. If a story calls to her, she will write it. She currently lives in Los Angeles and spends her free time writing novels and short stories, as well as doing animal rescue and enjoying the sunshine. Claire can be found at:

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9 Responses to Plotting versus pantsing

  1. No wonder your books are so imaginative!

  2. You certainly have a vivid imagination!

  3. sueberger3 says:

    And I love your dedication. And your work. Here’s another method of story writing I just read about four pants are types. It’s from Jennifer Crusie. I’m having a glum realization that I have to rewrite again.

  4. pamelagibson says:

    I’m a pantser, too. My outline is in my head and it sometimes changes as I write. We all do what works best for us. Bravo to you.

  5. viola62 says:

    I tend to drift between plotting and pantsing. I often have an idea of where I’m going. As the plot forms, I make notes on it, but then, I let the characters speak. Sometimes, they take me to places I hadn’t imagined.

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