Writers tend to categorise themselves in a futile attempt to understand the writing process, and two of these categories are “plotting” and “pantsing”.
Plotters draw up meticulous plans before writing their books so they know exactly who does what, when, where, and how. They will typically know everything about a scene before they write it, and everything about the people in it.
Pantsers are the complete opposite. With no plan and only a vague idea of the direction of the story and the characters, they will write whatever comes to mind and see where it takes them. The story and the characters unravel themselves through the process of writing.
Now, I’m a plotter. I used to pants back in the day when I had no idea how to effectively plot a book. It did not work for me even a little. The story would go off on unrelated tangents, often I’d find myself stuck at dead ends with nowhere to go without back-tracking a lot, and the characters would do things highly unlike themselves.
In my experience, plotting is the only way to hammer out 3,000 or more words a day and end up with a workable manuscript. Others may make it work while pantsing, but it’s definitely not for me. However, after deciding to re-work book two in The Rogue Valkyrie series, I’ve had to dabble in writing without a plan.
After deleting a few chapters, I had a solid mental image of what the replacement chapters would look like, but I didn’t put it down on paper. Unnervingly, the entire concept of the new chapters were entirely in my head, and subject to the madness that goes on within.
As it turns out, some sporadic pantsing in a mostly written manuscript is actually great for developing the plot. When the story was subject to change, my imagination kicked into gear and because nothing was off-limits, the possibilities were endless. I’d like to think that these un-planned chapters are well-written and interesting to read, but we won’t know until it has a few ARC readers under its belt.
Pantsing is not my style at all, but I will admit it has its creative uses for a plotter who has the rest of their manuscript and plot already set in stone. This experience has definitely been a lesson in avoiding an “all or nothing” mindset, and allowing ourselves to dabble in an alternative method for the sake of progress.
While I’m at it, I’ll drop a few quick updates about The Rogue Valkyrie series and how it’s getting on. The release day for Valkyrie Cursed is fast approaching and as soon as it’s available, I want to have book two, Valkyrie Awakened, up for ARC readers. Book three, Valkyrie Unleashed, is half-written but I have pressed pause on continuing until after release week for Valkyrie Cursed.
This is the most exciting time of the process for me, because months of hard work are finally beginning to show some results. There have been some tough times while I’ve worked out what it means to author full-time up until this point – no doubt there’ll be more to come – but I’m going to enjoy the run-up to the release of this brand new series.
Thanks for reading! Did you know I also write urban fantasy books? Check them out here!