The Life of a Pantzer


There are two kinds of people in the writing world: the Plotters and the Pantzers – those who write by the seat of their pants.

A plotter outlines before she goes, planning out the details, working out the nuances of the plot before a single word is committed to page. A plotter has a timeline, scene cards, everything they need except for the words themselves to bring a novel to life.

I am not that person.

Writing for me is like lightning: sudden, instant, immediate, and then gone. I write when inspiration strikes and when it hits, it hits hard and fast. Words come to me, and it’s up to me to listen and get them written down, nevermind the plot or scenes or three act structure.



It isn’t always the easiest way to write, my current manuscript – the thirteenth draft – is full of notes like “PLOT HOLE”, “WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THIS”, and “why. just why.” Trying to fill in these empty spaces of a slapdash non-outline is the main challenge for me in finishing Faehunter.

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This button doesn’t know what hit it.

Once upon a time, I tried to be a plotter. At the dawning of NaNoWriMo 2010, when I was young and bright-eyed and full of the wonder and hope only a 16-year-old can have, I decided the easiest way to survive November was to plan absolutely everything out. Everything. The plot, the characters, their backgrounds, all the scenes and all the trimmings were written down prior.

And I didn’t write a thousand words.

It almost felt like I’d already written it, I was no longer interested, my words and ideas spent. I had nowhere to go and nothing to give.

From that day forward, I decided I would have no more outlines.


It’s a no from me, dawg

I write out of order, I write when the ideas strike, on the train, on the street, at three in the morning! I write the words that bubble to the surface, I write the things that make me think, I write the things I want to read and wished someone else wrote first.

Being a pantzer isn’t for everyone. Some people truly like their outlines.

More power to ’em, but I say “No, thanks!”

How do you write? Do you plot or pantz? An outliner or a go-getter?

See Also:

What to do With A Writer’s Block

One thought on “The Life of a Pantzer

  1. George R. McNeese says:

    I’m more outliner than a go-getter, but it usually depends on what I’m writing. I write short stories/flash fiction, so most of the time, I’m writing by the seat of my pants. However, if I feel a story is going to be longer, I’ll compose a brief outline, write the story, then make adjustments as necessary.


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