From Pantsing to Plotting

In my last post, just a couple weeks ago, I talked about setting goals for the New Year. Well in regards to my own writing I’ve set some of my own goals. And the one I want to talk about is this: 

To outline a novel and then write that novel.

Previously on YAvengers there hasn’t been much talk about Plotting vs. Pantsing, except for Hulk’s post about it. However, it’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about it recently in regards to my own writing. I’ve always been a Panster (aka, someone who writes by the seat of their pants). I get an idea and I GO. And so far I’ve written three novels this way! Of course, one was slightly outlined due to it being part of a course. But Pantsing has worked for me for the most part. I pantsed Nanowrimo (am I the only one who thinks this sounds funny?) and it worked! It CAN be done.

I’ll be honest I’ve never given much thought to being a Plotter. Sure it’s crossed my mind but generally when
I get an idea I jot it down, write a couple sentences and any other main things I know and then try to write. If I want to rewrite a novel, I read my first draft, Gag a lot, write down a couple notes and try to write. 

Emphasis on TRY to write.

Lately I’ve been feeling a lack of creativity and direction when it comes to my writing. I love to discover these new stories in my brain. I love to build them up in my head and even spend lots of time visualizing on Pinterest. (Lots of time) But when I try to sit down and write it, out comes nothing. Nothing but crap that is.

I’ve decided that I don’t have enough direction. I know and love the idea, but I don’t know where I want that to take me. I don’t know the first steps to take to get to that nowhere. I don’t really know anything about my story. And so I’ve decided to try an outline. Truth be told I’ve considered it for the LONGEST time. Never seriously though, because outlines have always scared me.

The one experience I had with outlines was a bad one. I felt like I was sitting there forcing my brain to come up with content when really I should be “building and creating” my story. I didn’t know what I’d done wrong! So I gave up the idea behind the Outline.

Until now.

My lack of writing recently pushed me to ask for help. Help in books. [Where else would I turn to?] So I asked and got three fantastic writing books for Christmas. I’m very excited to use these in the my writing process. However the first one I’m reading and very much planning to implement is Outlining Your Novel; Map Your Way to Success. I’ve only just begun to read it, but I already feel so much better and excited to outline my book. It’s going to be a new experience and one that will probably stretch my brain and take lots of work, but I know that my story is going to be better and I am going to be a better writer because of it.

So in sharing my story I guess I just have one piece of advice, don’t get set on your ways of writing. Try new things. You might be doing awesome in your writing now, but the might find that one trick to your system that makes you fantastic!

And good luck with your writing! Whatever goals you set for yourself they are going to be awesome. Whether it’s to write a novel, to write two, or try something totally different like me! Just don’t let the Humbugs get you down. You hold the pen, you’re in control.

Later Days, 

If you’re looking for some good writing books here are links to the ones I received that are totally fantastic:

Outlining Your Novel by K. M. Weiland
Structuring Your Novel by K.M. Weiland
Self- Editing For Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King


  1. It might make me sound like a nut, but I don't have any one set way to write. In fact, my characters usually determine whether I'm a pantser or a plotter.

    Some stories absolutely have to have an outline, because the characters are detail-oriented planners who have to know where life is leading before they're willing to take a first step. Other stories absolutely have to be written by the seat of my pants, because that's the only way I can fully step into the mindset of my main character. Always, after writing my first draft, I'll plug the entire story into a calendar to make sure the details are right (like, if I have the characters walking home from school on a Tuesday afternoon, I need to make sure that the next morning isn't Friday). I think it's vital, though, to be adaptive. Every story is a different experience to read. It may need to be a different experience in the writing as well. :)

  2. I've done both plotting and pantsing before. I'm not sure which I prefer though. It usually depends on the type of story I'm writing and my mood. I don't think I've really plotted properly though....