Friday, September 16, 2011

In Defense of Pantsing. (Yes, Really!)

Let me start by saying I have never been a fan of Pantsing, or "seat-of-your-pants" writing. It makes no sense to me. Not only that, but the likelihood of running into the dreaded Writer’s Block multiplies when you Pants write. Granted, most novels I begin I write in “Pants mode,” and once I’ve written the first chapter or so, out comes the trusty pen and paper and I outline the rest. Because I'm a Plotter. From start to finish, and I make notes along the way on all the characters. So, by the time I write it out, I am sure of the What, Why, When, Where and How.

I surprised myself this weekend. As in, I made a startling realization. I’m sure all other writers know this, but I am somewhat new to the “Ah-ha Moment” party, so forgive me if this is old news.

Pantsing might actually be better than Plotting. At least, for ME.

Why do I make this claim? Because with any novel I’ve ever written, I’ve always plotted it out, and I stay with that plot, and there it is. Because I’m sort of a control freak when it comes to my writing. I am The Boss.

I’m currently writing a novel, and I will be honest, I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. It’s simply coming out of my brain, one sentence at a time, and I don’t have a plot. I’m simply watching it unfold as I go. I already have 52K on it, and I’m enjoying the process immensely, to my surprise.

BUT, since I’m monstrously insecure about having no firm plot, I gave what I had so far to a friend, for her honest opinion. And she liked it. A lot. And one of her comments was that it didn’t have the usual “info dumps” in it that a lot of books have.

And I realized, to my joy, there wouldn’t be. Because the backstory and motivations for everything are coming out as I write, and being revealed slowly, because even I don’t know what they are.

So, when I “Pants” write—does that mean I’m a better writer? Because I’m relinquishing control and essentially letting the characters dictate how things unfold—I info-dump less and the story is actually superior to what I usually write? I will admit, I’ve been surprised by some of the twists and turns my characters have taken. And if the end result is entertaining, even better, right?

So, there you have it. An argument for Pantsing! I wonder if other writers feel this way...

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