Major Slut or Non-Planner?

Well, the good news is that my latest completed novel has received official approval from my agent. And that means a lot. She’s my sternest critic, after all. So that means I’m now at the nail-biting stage where it’s with the publisher and we’re waiting to see what they think.

They’ll love it, of course.

And now I’m onto something new. I’m about half way through and I have a picture of where it will end, but I have no idea how it’s going to get there. Well, not much, anyway. This makes me a little nervous – but then, I’m always a little nervous when I’m writing something new, because I never know how I’m going to get to the end. I know where I’m going to start, I know where I want to end, but everything between is, well, unwritten. I have ideas, of course, but I don’t have a plan.

I recently heard that this makes me a ‘pantser’. Well. Umm. I’m a lot of things, but I’m not a ‘pantser’, surely? It really is an awful word. It looks nasty on the page and it sounds nasty when you form the sounds. Go on, say it out loud. Pantser. Ugh.

So, wondering where the word comes from, I googled it and found it defined in the Urban Dictionary as ‘one who performs a pantsing on a pantsie’ which, to my knowledge I have never done. Or it’s defined as ‘someone of either gender who is a major slut’ *shakes head* that’s not me. Uh-uh.

Who you calling 'pantser'?

Oh, here’s the definition I’m looking for – it’s a ‘NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) term that means you ‘fly by the seat of your pants”. Someone who doesn’t plan their novels carefully. It even suggests there is ‘enmity’ between ‘Pantsers’ and ‘Planners’. Really? Like Capulets and Montagues? I can’t imagine why.

Well, anyway . . .  according to NaNoWriMo terminology I’m a ‘pantser’, but I think it’s an ugly word so I’m not going to use it. It sounds like I do something odd with pants. Which I don’t. Instead, what I do is write without knowing what’s going to happen next – and you know what? It might make me a little nervous when I sit down to write, but I like it that way. I love the excitement of wondering what exactly is going to happen to my characters. Something good? Something bad? Well, it’s always something unexpected, that’s for sure. And then new characters rear their heads and turns the whole thing around, which I love.

For me, the planning comes afterwards, when I tidy up the first draft. That’s when I worry about all the details and the mechanics of the story. Before that, I just let it all unfold. (The story, not my pants.)

How about you? Are you a Capulet or a Montague?

Oh, and it’s snowing on my blog. Did you notice?

That’s all.

 

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8 thoughts on “Major Slut or Non-Planner?

  1. I read a much better definition from Scarlett Thomas (I think, but I can’t find the quote now so don’t, er, quote me on that), where she said writing a book was like a long car journey at night, and all you can see is what’s in the headlights in front of you. This is exactly what it feels like for me – I sort of plan my novels, but not in great detail, and always find things change drastically when I get to the actual writing, so I have to do a fair bit of ‘unplanned’ stuff too. I never know exactly what’s going to happen next or where the book is going to go, which makes it both exciting and terrifying!

    Really glad your novel was approved by your agent – I hope your publisher does love it! And as for the snow – hmm. I’m off to see if Blogger does that too…

    • I like the headlights analogy. That’s a good way of describing it. And it keeps you focused – not knowing what’s coming next. It’s the only way for me – I’m a terrible planner, my wife will verify that!

  2. Ooh, this post made me chuckle like a good ‘un! Pantser is vile. Pants alone is a vile word. Knickers and drawers aren’t much better. A new term is clearly needed for those of us who go with the flow (yes, I do too, but with a bit of planning along the way) – maybe you’re a ‘flow rider’ – that’s a lot better than pantser isn’t it? I used to be a ‘flow-rider’ all the time, but hit a lot of problems, so now I tend to have an outline with gaps for flow-ridering in between. I’m not sure what that makes me! Don’t answer that.

    • Flow-rider? Now that sounds kinda cool. But Pantser? Blyeuch. When we say something is ‘pants’, we usually mean it’s a bit rubbish, don’t we? Why would anyone describe their writing style using the word ‘pants’? But flow-rider? Hmmm. Not bad.

  3. haha this really did make me laugh! So glad your agent approved your book, but very sad because it isn’t snowing on your blog for me 😦 will have to look when I get home.

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