Reader/Writer Confessions: Top Five Tips If You’re a Pantser

I AM A SELF-CONFESSED PANTSER.

With the July session of Camp NaNoWriMo just around the corner, I thought I would post my top tips if you’re a pantser. For anyone who doesn’t know: there are pretty much two sorts of writers. Writers who plot novels, plotters, and people who go blindly into novels . . . I am the latter. Well, to be honest I am kind of in between, but most of the time, I lean towards the panster side of things. Why?

I like to be surprised! I don’t want to plot out every twist and turn that will happen in my novel; I like to discover them when my characters discover them. Obviously there are going to be pros and cons to each type of writer, but my best advice to everyone is to just write how you write best. I don’t plot out every chapter (though there are people why write chapter by chapter outlines before writing the story, who are plotters), however I will have an idea of where the story goes. In other words, I’ll probably know the beginning, middle, and end of a story before I write it. Everything that comes between, however, is a mystery until I write it.

I can’t help much for people who are notorious plotters . . . but if you’re a pantser, and if you plan on competing in NaNoWriMo (the July session or otherwise!) here are my top ten tips!

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1. Find out what inspires you, and use that when you’re writing your novel. For example, I love listening to music when I write. So therefore, I create playlists for every novel I write (this is also something I will go into deeper details in my Writerly Post Wednesday in a few weeks time). Whether it be music, books, exercise, pictures, having something to inspire you while you’re writing will prevent blocks.

2. Don’t edit. This is really common advice, and applies to whether you’re a plotter or panster, but if you’re a panster like I am, this is especially important! Something doesn’t make sense? Plot is all over the freakin’ place? Who cares!? It’s a first draft — that you’ve written in 30 days, besides! — and first drafts are allowed to be flawed. That’s okay. Just go with it.

3. Make connections with other writers. This is supposed to be a fun activity, so talk to other people online who are doing it. This will also encourage you to write more!

4. Even though you’re a panster, have some idea of where your novel is going. Know small things about it: character names, an idea of where the story is going. You’re more likely to get your story done, and without less blocks.

5. Don’t worry if you do get stuck. Just keep going. During Camp NaNoWriMo, the best thing that I can advise is to keep writing, no matter what. This point is similar to #2. Don’t worry if it’s bad. Don’t worry if you actually have no clue where your story is heading. Just keep writing. Think about a way to spice up the story: a new character, a plot twist, take your story in a way you didn’t think it would go.

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Let me know: Are you a potter/panster?

 

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