Tag Archives: style

Can You Change Your Pantster?

About three weeks ago I wrote a comment on a blog and used the phrase “sometimes you have to know where to stand.” When it was agreed that it sounded like a title, I wrote a quick three sentence synopsis of a non-existent movie. I liked the idea, so I sat down and wrote a 6,000 word story. I had no idea where I was going, I just had the phrase and a little off-the-cuff synopsis to use. I didn’t plan. I just wrote. Here is the story, which is pretty much a rough draft, yet passes as a finished story.

People often say that there are two types of writers, planners and pansters, i.e., people who write from the seat of their pants. My example above is pure panster. It is the method I use most often. I write for some of the challenges you can find on WordPress, and those are pure panster as well – I see the photo, perhaps read a key word, and write. I wrote two long novellas (25K + words) based on Writephoto challenges, so as I was writing those stories, I had no idea where I would go until I saw the next photo. I also wrote a full length novel this way! I have not published that novel, but it was written.

Most challenges are written 100% off the cuff as was the story described in the first paragraph, but more often I will write non-challenge stories when I am walking. I will at the very least get the basic idea, some major plot points and even whole chapters (if a book), but will often have the entire thing down, start to finish, in my head. I then will sit down and write it all out, like I am taking dictation.

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