Confessions of a (Somewhat) Rehabilitated Pantser *

*Pantser — someone who writes by the seat of his her pants, without an outline or any freaking plan at all.

My name is Amy and I’m a pantser.

Ok, I’ll be more specific. My name is Amy and I’m a pantser with a couple of problems.

First, I must fix what I write before I move on, at least in the first thirty to fifty pages. At least with this new first draft which I think is different from the last first draft I mentioned here.  I had the idea for a story and it was really organic and easy to write.  Until the damn characters started making some decisions of their own, revealing things I hadn’t known about them before that impacted the story.  That would be — things that need to be in the beginning of the story or it will make no sense later.

I may be a pantser but I want to make sense, even (and maybe most importantly at this stage) to myself.

So I go back to the beginning and I sprinkle in the details that will come into play later.  Things that aren’t important right away but will be.  I could make notes to add those things, and I do.  I mastermind scenes for later in the book in prose without much punctuation in the sidebar of my Scrivener file.  I type out names and what they mean at that moment.  I do math on my dashboard calculator to figure out ages.  Those are my notes.  But my actual first draft? It continues to be refined.

So then – is it really a first draft?  Or, since I’ve rewritten the first twenty-eight pages five times — is it a fifth draft?

Second, and here’s the confession, I’m a pantser who wants desperately wants to plot.  And I’m working on just that in two fabulous online workshops.  I’m currently taking a StoryWonk workshop with Lani Diane Rich and a Savvy Authors workshop with Karen Docter.  They’re both leading me in a direction that allows me to plot without silencing my muse.  Lani’s workshop nourishes the writer’s spirit and the creative process.  Karen’s workshop taps into what we know about our novels and helps us get it down “on paper” leaving a trail to follow as we still make our own way in our new stories.  I now have goals and objectives for my main characters.  I have plot points and turning points and low points and high points.

Who knew I could do that?? Apparently, Lani and Karen.

So perhaps I’m a plotting pantser — or a pantser who plots a little.  There’s still a learning curve…and I don’t want an outline or a spreadsheet or lists or to know everything about my story before my characters are ready to tell me.  Because I love being surprised by what they say and do.

Is that a problem?

How do you write what you write?  Plot? Pants? Revise as you go? Get it all out?  Do any of you Nano? Do tell!!!