One of the most common debates in the writing community is plotting versus pantsing. For those of you who are new to this topic, a plotter is just that—they plot. They can tell you everything that’s going to happen, sometimes for more than one book. Some have outlines which are so detailed they’re practically a book in and of themselves. These writers know every little thing about every little character, even the ones which have no name and no lines and are there for half a scene.
And then there are pantsers.
Pantsers write by the seat of their pants, hence the term. Oh, they may have a general idea of where the story is going to go and there may even be some sort of outline but for the most part… well, it’s like driving in the dark—you can only see as far as your headlights can reach. This wouldn’t be too bad if it wasn’t for the fact that writing isn’t like driving on a straight road. Writing is like driving, as my grandfather was fond of saying, on a road laid out by a drunk man.
I have no shame in saying I’m very much a pantser. Not only am I driving on twisty, turny, super curvy road, I occasional take detours on even twistery roads. I’m all about stops at roadside diners and taking a few minutes to look at those strange attractions which are most definitely tourist traps. Some of the best plot elements, the things which have taken the story to the next level, have happened because of a random rest stop.
Driving in the dark is scary, with or without headlights. The thing to remember though is that no matter how scary the drive, it’s always worth it when you finally reach your destination.