Pantser or Outliner

In the early days of flying with minimal instruments and low technology people were said to fly by the seat of their pants.

 

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The writing equivalent of that is a Pantser, someone who starts their writing in a non-technical way i.e. without a plan or outline.

The opposite of a pantser is an Outliner, someone who creates at least a basic outline before they create any content.

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An outline can range from a brief outline of the book, to a detailed outline that covers considerable detail of every chapter. The extreme form an outliner is an author who writes a detailed plan or outline of the entire book first.

 

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There are different views as to which is better, to be a pantser or an outliner. Some people cannot work without a structure in the form of an outline. Others feel, often quite strongly, that an outline suffocates creativity.

When I started my debut romance novel Not Too Old for Love I didn’t know about pantsers or outliners. So, I started with no more than a basic concept.  Without realizing it I was a pantser.  There is no doubt this allowed full flow of my creativity. But at the same time, it meant things took a lot longer and much work had to be rewritten or dumped.

Although I want my novels to be easy reading I do not want them to be hard to write or for much time and work to be wasted. Therefore, it is unlikely that I will be a pantser for my next novel.  However, I am unlikely to become an outliner fanatic and will probably start with a basic outline and flesh it out as the novel develops.

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How do you work?  Are you a pantser or are you and outliner.  If an outliner, then to what extent?

SHARE YOUR APPROACH and talk about what works for you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2 Comments

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  1. It’s hard to come by well-informed people in this
    particular topic, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

    Like

  2. I used to do a lot of planning in my dead, but I never did a real outline. I had to put down two projects (trouble with seeing the forest for the trees after so many rewrites) and I decided to write a discovery draft. It’s been really freeing and sort of fun to just write and see where it takes me. It took me in a completely different direction than I anticipated, and the book is way sadder and heavier than I meant it to be, but I’ve been enjoying the process!

    Like

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