The Sad Story of a Plotter in a Pantser Suit

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I blame National Novel Writing Month. In November, I dived into NANO with a new novel idea with series potential. But I had only 30 days to write 50,000 words, plus Thanksgiving, plus a full-time job. No time for plotting! Gotta write! Seat of the pants!

So I did, and ended up with a 60,000-word WiP that’s a bloody mess (literally, in places). It has a good beginning, I think. From about the halfway mark till the end it clips along nicely. Between the opening and the middle it wanders around in a dense fog, and I have no idea what to do with it.

So now I’m in the ass-backward mode of writing an outline based on what’s already written, hoping it will help me step back and figure out how to get from the great beginning to the pretty good middle without letting my characters wander off into upper Mongolia. 

Repeat after me: I am not a Pantser.It’s too stressful.

You writers out there…any tips for getting a wayward manuscript back on track? Are you a plotter or a pantser?

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About Suzanne Johnson

Author of urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and suspense. As Suzanne Johnson, she is the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate’s Alley, Belle Chasse, Frenchmen Street (March 2018). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance; ILLUMINATION); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the Wilds of the Bayou series (Wild Man’s Curse; Black Diamond).

3 thoughts on “The Sad Story of a Plotter in a Pantser Suit

  1. I’m definitely a panster although I have been using guidelines lately to help keep the story on track.

    With your story, look at each scene individually. Does it add move the plot forward? Or offer character development? If so, then keep it. If not, then delete or cut it back. When you’re a panster, you do have a tendency to add in a much of extras, I do that all the time. And Nano will definitely make you a panster for a least a month!

    ~Nicole