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Pantser develops the story as it goes along, not really knowing where it is going. The Plotter outlines the story before writing so basically all the writer has to do is fill in the content.

I am a panster since I get an idea and let the writing flow. To me outlining is boring and I lose interest by the time I get the outline done. Being pantser requires a lot of creativity and letting your mind develop the story. I have written a few nonfiction books and I outlined those since I was putting out information rather than entertainment.

I ran across an article about this subject which I like so I will include it here.

Outlining for Pantsers
 

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Thanks for the article. I'm a pantser and I remain a pantser. If there's a problem with my first full manuscript, I still don't outline it, I alter it with the full book in my head. But that's me. If I see a problem with the plot, chapters are changed, for sure, but there's no outline. The only thing I do write is a few sentences regarding ideas of the next few scenes in a book so I don't lose it if I'm away from writing the book for a long time.

Of course, for a beginner writer, learning the structure of a novel's plot is crucial and outlining is one way to do that. It's far less painful than writing multiple unpublished books and figuring it out later, like I did.

One more thing to add. I run through upcoming chapters in my head all the time. The funny thing is, when I sit down to write, invariably the story goes in a completely different direction. So even if I was to plot, I wouldn't stick to plan. Again, that's me. I really don't believe one way is better than the other. I love the spontaneity of my method, but it does take multiple run-throughs.
 

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I've always done a very rough outline, usually just before writing the blurb, and the blurb gives me another rough idea where I want the story to go. Then I start writing the first chapter. See if it's clicking. Maybe a middle scene, too. Then I roughly outline an end.

And then write the rest of it. Sometimes halfway through the story might change. If it works, it works.

But as many on KB will undoubtedly mention, in some genres you really don't have a ton of leeway. Some genre readers expect certain tropes and plot elements. A lot of it depends on genre.
 

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Of course, for a beginner writer, learning the structure of a novel's plot is crucial and outlining is one way to do that. It's far less painful than writing multiple unpublished books and figuring it out later, like I did.
This is so true. I started out not knowing anything about structure and so wrote a lemon as a first attempt by the seat of my pants which languishes on my hard drive after publishing and then unpublishing, Lesson learned.

Pantsing is fine as long as you are aware of structure to readers' expectations so that you have it in mind for objectives you need to reach at stages to produce an entertaining read..

From posts on here over the years and on authors' blogs, many an author has said they have had difficulty writing a blurb after the event, the same with a synopsis if they are considering submitting to agents. The very least I do when I have an idea for a story is to write a blurb to start with to know the story has legs for the genre. On occasion, I've written a synopsis as a precursor to a comprehensive outline. On other occasions, I have simply authored a blurb, then written the story by the seat of my pants.

There isn't much of a difference between either method if you understand structure in my experience from doing both methods. Both outlining and writing by the seat of your pants can lead to writer's block while figuring it out, and while when writing to an outline it can help to finish the story rapidly, the time taken in writing a comprehensive outline can negate that advantage.

It's all down to what works for the individual author and maybe the complexity of the plot..
 
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I see movies in my head and try to type them before I lose them. I usually see the climax scene, action or romance or both, way early and sketch it out. As I'm writing I will be all over the place and think there's no way I'll end up there, but I follow the muse. And then, sure enough, I end up where I saw it months before. :)

I write the blurb early and it rarely needs changed. My "outline" is a chapter list that I completely fail to follow and then change to match what I wrote. I add chapters as I go. One time I wrote like mad for a week ad didn't make it any closer to the end. The book went from 25 chapters to 35, lol. Basically, my chapter list is just to keep me from getting blank-page syndrome when I finally get a chance to write.

OH and another thing that is extremely helpful. Stop in the middle of a scene you know how it will end. Then when you sit down again, you can dive right in.
 

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For me, outlining is where I'm at my most creative. Ideas just keep coming faster than I can write them down. The whole story takes shape before my very eyes: all the plot twists, foreshadowing, motivations, everything. It's like witnessing a house being built. After that, all I have to do is put it all into words which for me is a totally different creative process. Pantsing is my worst nightmare: I can stare for hours at an empty page thinking, "Now what?" I just can't be creative with both ideas and writing at the same time.
 

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Creativity is right brain. Editing is left, at least for me. It's funny because when I write for myself, I make all the same mistakes that I fix while editing other people's work. :LOL: I'm in the creative part of my brain and not thinking in "editing" mode.

I had always thought of outlining in conjunction with academic writing, so thought of it as a logical, left brain acitivity. But I have a client who writes a 30 page outline of her (long) books or serials, and that's where the storytelling happens. It is like a very sparse first draft. Then writing the story is actually filling it in.
 

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If you are a pantser, sometimes it is still useful to get a general sense of where story arcs are going, otherwise it can lead to either a lot of editing and re-writing or story arcs that seem unbalanced. I pantsed a lot but also followed a four act structure and tried to roughly plan out how the scenes in each act would play out. Plotting doesn't mean you have to go into hyper-detail--you can think of it like writing story beats or bullet points--a guideline to follow so the story doesn't go too far off the track.
 

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I am a hybrid. Both a panster and a plotter. I like to have framework for the books that I write, however it is very loose. It includes a time line so that things don't get all messed up in that regard and just some prompt sentences for the things I'd like to include. That gives me a guideline to go by and then I can let my ideas flow. This allows my characters to surprise me if they feel like doing it, I can change directions if I get a certain inspiration inspiration, but by using a timeline I don't have events occur before they should or after they should.


Edited. Self-promo not permitted in the WC. - Becca
 

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I've tried to outline but my characters are too stubborn and refuse to be told what to do.
I have the same problem with the dog! If I outlined, I would not have a story. I would sit with a keyboard and blank sheet and it would remain a blank sheet. I know that, because I once tried. I never begin with a story, only characters and a setting. Put the characters in the setting and see where they go.
 

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It's always so interesting to read everyone's process.

I'm an outliner but with a very light touch. Similar to writing chapter titles, I simply write a single sentence that hangs on one of the story's structure points. I make sure it adheres to that outline graph and the story progresses smoothly. It doesn't strangle me with an outline that I constantly have to adjust because the story morphs on me, yet I still have a simple roadmap that allows a great deal of freedom.

If I tried to pants a book, I end up with spaghetti. An incomprehensible story that would take far too long to unravel and frustrate me to the point I just put it away.
 

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It's always so interesting to read everyone's process.

I'm an outliner but with a very light touch. Similar to writing chapter titles, I simply write a single sentence that hangs on one of the story's structure points. I make sure it adheres to that outline graph and the story progresses smoothly. It doesn't strangle me with an outline that I constantly have to adjust because the story morphs on me, yet I still have a simple roadmap that allows a great deal of freedom.

If I tried to pants a book, I end up with spaghetti. An incomprehensible story that would take far too long to unravel and frustrate me to the point I just put it away.
I often find, as I go along, that something is happening that contradicts something that has happened previously. I always make a point of going back and altering it there and then, so I don't forget and we end up with an unbelievable muddle later on.
 
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