Literary Engineer
Because reading and writing are my only obsessions

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.

Are you a Pantser, Planner or In-Betweener

Dahlia Adler, Agented Author
I’m an in-between. I usually start off with some amount of plotting, but almost always end up going off the rails. I’m writing my first retelling now, of a biblical story, and that’s kinda nice because your plotting is basically already there in the source material.

Jenny Morris, Agented Author
Haha, this is funny. Until I started writing with Kelley Lynn I thought I was a complete panster. Then I kept asking her questions about future chapters and creating chapter outlines. (Which is normal for my process.) She was like, whoa, you are way more of a planner than I am. I don’t plot out every point but making chapter outlines does help me keep focused.

Mónica Bustamante Wagner, Agented Author
Plotter! I tend to get really anxious if I’m just writing and not knowing where I’m going. And I’ve realized that I am not very creative if I’m anxious. So first I write an outline, which is usually about 5,000 words or so, and then I write the first draft. Of course, many things change as I go, because sometimes I realize things aren’t working as I thought. But usually the premise doesn’t change and the big plot arcs don’t change either.

Lynne Schmidt, Un-Agented Author
I’ve always considered myself a punster, but now that I look at the last three WIPs, I think I’m a halfbreed. I’ll start the novel, pants a bit, then I get to a point where I have the query written before the novel, so I guess it’s a bit of planning. I know what A and B are, but the pantsing comes into play when I’m connecting the dots.

Theresa Paulo, Un-Agented Author
I’m an inbetweener, but if I had to sway only one way it would be Panster. Most of the time when I try to plan out what is going to happen, my characters take over and do the total opposite.

Mindi Scott, Published Author
I’m a Planner. Not planning puts me in a bit of a panicked state. (And by “in a bit of a panicked state,” I mean, “very much in a panicked state,” of course.)

Steph Campbell, Published Author
I’m somewhere in between. I usually start off with the spark of an idea. A random scene or bit of dialogue and write a scene from there. After I write whatever I felt inspired to write, I will sit down and work on a loose outline to work from. I often deviate from it, or move things around, but I like to have some idea where I’m going and to be able to cross things off my list. Though, I’ve written entire books from the hip, so I guess I do both.

Christa Desir, Pre-Published Author
Pantser. I’ve almost always started with a character and a core idea, and then they tell me where to go from there.

What’s your writing style: Pantser, Planner or In-Betweener

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8 Responses to “The Big Reveal”

  1. Avatar of Suzi Suzi Says:

    I am an in betweener too, although I lean towards pantser. Usually before I start writing, I’ll have a few notebook pages of notes, but I don’t organize them into an outline. Once I get into the writing, I’ll outline as I go. To help fill in. But I don’t always know where the story is going to go either.

  2. Cassie Mae Says:

    Uh, I don’t know! So I’m assuming I’m an inbetweener, lol.

  3. Emily R. King Says:

    I’m becoming more of an inbetweener too. I like to have a general outline and fudge the rest! There has to be wiggle room in my outline. :)

  4. Lara Schiffbauer Says:

    I started out an in-betweener and have moved more toward the plotter side. I find I write a lot faster if I know where I’m going. Otherwise, all the choices seem to freeze me up! I think of plotting as a really sketchy first draft. This summer I plotted out my entire next WIP. I was surprised at how much fun it was and how creative I still was. Plus, I always have wiggle room to change things. Just because I wrote it somewhere doesn’t mean it has to stay the same!

  5. Janeal Falor Says:

    I’m an inbetweener too, though I also lean toward pansters. I like knowing where I’m going, but my characters usually take over anyway.

  6. Mark Koopmans Says:

    I would be a pantser… but I can’t find me bleedin’ pants after I wrote that note last night for an upcoming WIP I haven’t even started :)

  7. Jenny Morris Says:

    I see lots of Inbetweeners. We rule. LOL.

  8. Dana Says:

    I’m an inbetweener. I need to have some idea of where the story is going and how it’s going to get there, but I find that if my plan is too detailed, I lose interest in the story before I even begin to write.

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