A pantser is a writer who sits their fanny in a chair and just lets the words flow out through their fingers or as one writer describes it by the seat of their pants. They have an idea of where they want to start, and how they want the story to end. They can craft entire novels through cause and effect. Two well known pantsers are NYT best-selling authors JoAnn Ross and Allison Brennan.
So Why Can't I Be A Pantser?
For me, being a panster reminds me of the story of the airplane pilot who announces over the speaker, "Ladies and Gentlemen, we are lost. But we're making good time. So please take a look out the window and enjoy the scenery.
- I'm a list maker, I have been since I was ten years old. I have to list things in order of importance.
- I'm a goal setter, so I have to know the end result and how I'm getting there, so I have to know the long term goal or the dramatic action.
- I have to know the short term goals- the characters emotions, the specific tasks, objectives, and actions of the protagonist. I need to know the scene goal with the antagonist blocking the protagonist at every turn.
- I write mysteries, I don't like stumbling over dead bodies if I have to figure out how they got there as I write, even though I'm told pantzers love this.
- I don't have the temperament to keep writing myself out of corners and that's what happens to me when I don't plot the story.
There are many successful pantsers and their method of writing comes easy to them, but not to this list making, goal setting writer.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?