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.

Pantser, Planner or in-betweener?

Kyra Lennon
Pantser. Planning makes me feel restricted, even though I know I am free to change my plan if necessary. I just prefer to have a very basic outline in my head and let the rest flow freely.


Medeia Sharif
Plotter. I work from a spreadsheet and need to know exactly what happens before I write.

Manda Pepper
I go in with a vague idea of where I’m headed but often find the story detours, at which point I go with the flow. If I steer too much, the whole of it just comes off forced. I mean, we’ve all read books and seen movies where it’s like: plot point, plot point, plot point. You can tell these things are all outlined and broken down to hell. Formulaic. No offense to planners, of course, but I believe in remaining flexible–though always true to character, which for me is the most important thing.


Rachel Schieffelbein
Pantser. I wish I was a better planner! I’ve tried, but I get frustrated trying to write outlines. It’s easier for me to just start writing.

Ilima Todd
>>>Planner to the core! Can you say 60 page outline? Ha! BUT, my characters and story always surprise me, so a lot of adjusting happens along the way, and I’ve learned to embrace it. I’ve tried pantsing like all the ‘cool’ writers, but those drafts never get finished.

Janeal Falor
I once heard MG author Liesl Shurtliff say she was a planster. That word fits me perfectly. I plan things out, but I go where ever writing takes me. Sometimes I readjust my plan when it gets off course, but sometimes I just keep going with the flow and see where it takes me.

Julie Sondra Decker
I’m definitely a complete pantser. And it’s gotten me into trouble more times than I can count. Being a pantser for me is all about having character-led narratives, and I’m trying to learn to go in with more plot structure so I don’t end up with a book that’s nothing but characters wallowing in their aimless lives. At least five of my finished novels really never went anywhere. The ones that did, in recent years, seem to have done so by accident. I’d never be able to write a mystery or a thriller or an epic fantasy because so many seeds need to be planted without leaving too many fingerprints, but I seem to have found my niche with “man vs. self” plots. That way wallowing in someone’s thoughts and presenting a psychological plot can be exciting instead of reading like navel-gazing..

Pantser, Planner or in-between?  

8 Responses

  1. I’m mostly a pantser. I’ll write out some notes about scenes or dialogue that pop into my head, but I don’t really plan anything out. Never written an outline before I write the story. Sometimes I don’t even know how the story will end, or what’ll happen in the middle.

    I just go where it takes me.

  2. We’re all across the board, lol.

    I’ve recently fleshed out a series synopsis in collaboration with my publisher complete with pages of backstory and plots for the books I haven’t written yet on their insistence. I’m curious how pantsers deal with ‘the man’ that way.

  3. Rachel Schieffelbein

    I always like hearing the answer to this question. You really have to do what works for you, and everyone is different. 🙂

  4. I’ve noticed that more and more people seem to be moving toward the middle, into plansting territory. I belong to a Facebook writer’s group and over the summer several of the pantsers learned to embrace outlining, and here I was, trying to let go a little bit. It’s funny how both have their pluses and minuses. 🙂

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