Before we begin, for the non-writers and beginning writers, here’s an explanation of what we are talking about. Writers tend to come in two varieties Plotters and Pantsers.
Plotters plan out their work ahead of the writing process. They do their research and make scene, chapter, and story outlines to follow while writing. This does not preclude injecting new thoughts, but it does keep the writer from going off on a wild tangent.
Pantsers, on the other hand, have a story idea. This usually involves a character and either an adventure or a problem. They begin writing and head off wherever the characters and the story take them. This kind of writing by the seat of their pants is where the name comes from.
So, we have put the question to our authors—are you a plotter or a pantser? Here’s what they had to say.
I'm neither a plotter nor a pantser as most define the terms. I am what is called a plantser; a hybrid of the two.
Outlines don't seem to do me much good unless I'm writing nonfiction. This is because my characters seem to get their own stubborn ideas about how things should go. Having said that, I can't really say that I sit down without a clue as to what I want to happen. Often, the story has already played out in my head and that in and of itself is a type of outline.
I don’t know if I can be identified as either. I’m the type that’s never far over the line either way. My storyline track that I’m currently following from the release of New Perspectives is mapped out for several more novels. The road the next books follow is definitely NOT set in granite though.
I am an unrepentant pantser. I try to follow Poe’s advice and start with the ending. I know generally how the story might end and the tone of the story. That is, of course, provided the characters cooperate along the way.
I started Voodoo Moon five times because Ed Landry kept complaining that he wasn’t getting enough attention. In Death Rides the Red River, I did not plan for the congressman and his entourage of werewolves. They just muscled their way into the story.
When I’m writing, I am forever getting sucked into the story and held hostage by the characters until they get their way. I’m telling you the truth when I haven’t left the house and tell you that I just got back from New Orleans, Wyoming, or Timbuktu.
I’m so full I couldn’t eat another bite. Oh look, food!