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 and paranormal fantasy and romantic suspense, currently living in Auburn, Alabama. Author of the Sentinels of New Orleans series (Royal Street; River Road: Elysian Fields, Pirate's Alley, and Belle Chasse (Nov 2016). Writing as Susannah Sandlin, she is the author of the Penton Legacy series (Redemption; Absolution; Omega; Storm Force; Allegiance); The Collectors series (Lovely, Dark, and Deep; Deadly, Calm, and Cold); and the upcoming Wilds of the Bayou series (Book 1, Wild Man's Curse) releases April 2016).

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!