The Big Reveal


Welcome to The Big Reveal.
I enjoy reading author interviews, but often times they don’t ask the kinds of questions I wonder about. So I’ve assembled a group of writers at all levels, from un-agented to published, and every week I will have a new question for them. Some of these ladies have helped me with my own work, or given me advice on blogging or writing, so check out their blogs and see what they’re about.


One more note:This is our final week having Krista Van Dolzer on The Big Reveal and
we will be welcoming two new writers starting next week. So thank you to Krista for participating and good luck in your upcoming submission process.


Pantser, plannner or in-between?


Jade Hart, Un-agented author
I’m a total panster – as long as it’s flowing I’ll keep following where my characters are leading me. I love just writing by the seat of my pants as I get the best of both worlds. I get to write – which I adore – and read something I’ve never thought of before which is awesome 🙂 I do start to plan half way through as I tend to dry up a bit in the middle. I do more research or think what my end goal will be and then it starts to flow again. I don’t think I could ever plan everything though, I go on so many twists and turns that I never could of come up with if I sat down and tried to imagine it. It’s not until the character has evolved through the story that inspiration hits 😉


Janet Taylor, Un-agented author
My first novel, I was 100%–a naive pantser. I didn’t know any better. Although it was absolutely thrilling, not knowing what would happen to my characters from one day to the next, I would never do it that way again. I’m in-between now. I have a general outline of where things need to go. But within that outline- all kinds of exciting, unexpected things occur.


Stacy Stokes, Un-agented author
I’m a panster with the occasion bout of organization. “Organization” meaning that I may write out a loose outline or scribble a thought down so I don’t forget it, but usually I just sit down and see what happens.


Me (Suzi) Un-agented author
I’ve mostly been a pantser, but I’m learning more about plotting. I think I’ll be somewhere in-between. Sometimes the urge to write hits and you just want to go with it. I’ve don’t write in any order and jump around to wherever I want.


Joelene B. Perry, Published author
I have to have a general idea before I start, but sometimes I start with a single scene, and the story builds from there. I’ve NEVER written in order. The only time I come close is when I’m doing a collaboration (I’m on my second now). If I plot too far ahead, or know all the ways my story will be tied together, it takes some of the mystery out of it, and I lose steam.


Liesl Shurtliff, Pre-published author
Inbetween. I do a fair amount of pre-writing—character sketches, world building, and history of both character and setting. For the plot I have a rough idea of beginning, middle, and end, but other than that I just go with it and I’m often surprised along the way.


Mindy McGinnis, Pre-published author
Totally a panster, like to the freak degree. I start writing and write linearly and let what happens, happen.

Krista Van Dolzer, Agented author
I’m definitely somewhere in between. I used to be a hard-core pantser, then morphed into a hard-core planner, and now I just do whatever feels right. (I didn’t outline Steve AT ALL before I wrote him, and I managed to pump out his first draft in about a month, so I must be faster when I don’t plan.)

Melodie Wright, Agented author
Both. I know where each chapter is going but sometimes the story goes a direction I didn’t expect. Most of my writing happens before I sit down – usually late at night before I sleep or first thing when I wake up. I also plot while driving or walking or doing the dishes. Pretty much anytime my mind gets a break from immediate daily life stuff.

Ryann Kerekes, Agented author
I guess I would say in-between. When I first begin writing, I was a meticulous plotter. For my first MS, I had a spreadsheet with every scene, who was in it, what the conflict was, and as I finished writing one scene, I’d consult the spreadsheet for what was next. It was like writing by numbers. Once I knew I could actually write a whole book – with an actual plot –I trusted myself more. Now I am much more relaxed about it. Before I begin writing the story, I typically do a character sketch for each main character and several pages of notes about how the story progresses, the main conflict and how it’s resolved, working in the character’s arcs. And then as I write, since I ultimately know where the story is heading, I can make up the scenes as I go, or rather let the characters tell me how they are going to get there. They usually surprise me with something way better than what I could have thought of. One thing that has helped me too is watching the Plot Whisperer series of videos (on YouTube) by Martha Alderson. It’s basically a free writing course in how to plot! I highly suggest it.

Cassie Mae, Un-agented author
Pantser. I imagine the climax of the story and just write to get there. Then I imagine the end and write to get there. I’ve surprised myself even with the stuff that flies from the keyboard.

You know, just as I’m about to post this, I noticed something. Is it spelled pantster or panster or pantser? I’ve found all spellings on the internet. Anybody know which is the official spelling?

 So where do you fall?

7 Responses

  1. I’m definitely a panster. In my poetry, the Muse often takes me to places I had neither planned nor plotted. While preparing to write a magazine article recently, I chose a quote to lead-off in the general direction I wanted to go. To my surprise–and pleasure, the article went an entirely different direction.

  2. So cool. I love the differences in everyone. I’m a pretty even mix. I have to know the general structure, but then my pantsing throws it off. Why do I even bother?

  3. I’m a combination of both… I always have at least a loose outline of main plot points, but otherwise I pants my way through everything else.

    I came by to let you know I tagged you in a Lucky 7 meme 😉

  4. First ms, total planner–outlined chapter by chapter and built it up over and over and over and over. Ended up in a box 🙂
    Second ms, tried to be a pantser–had a scene in my head and went from there. A couple later scenes popped up so I wrote those and bridged the rest of the story. Much more fun this way 🙂 But I fear it will end up in a box…

  5. In betweener, here. I have a basic outline, but it always shifts/changes as I go. This last MS changed more from my original plan than any others and I think is my best so far. I’m too chicken to dive in without some kind of plan, though.

  6. My 1st MS I was a total pantser, surprised by sudden twists and turns- unicorns, talking trees, curses, all kinds of new excitement and I would just go with it along this super conveluted road. It was awful, very confusing, and I deleted over 50,000 words of random tangents. Once I had the final scene in my head it went much better. In my last 2 MS’s I’ve had more structure, but I still fly by the seat of my pants. I tried to be a serious plotter, but then it took the fun out of writing. Now I have a general plan and let some surprises come my way as long as I’m still aiming for the ending I want.

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