Thursday, 18 April 2013
P is for Pantsing
Pantsing is a term I picked up from NaNoWriMo, as in, 'are you a plotter or a pantser'? From this you can probably guess that pantsing is writing without a plot, or at least without a details plot. The term comes from 'seat of the pants', which is 'based on or using intuition and experience rather than a plan or method; improvised'. It sounds simple, but it turns out there are many levels of pantsing!
The least pantsy way of writing is when you have a plan, you know what happens in one scene and the one that comes a little bit later, but you just need to get from one scene to the next, so you just write down the first thing that comes into your head to fill the gap.
That was an extreme example, but it is generally how I write except in a very few situations where I'll have a clear idea of what's going to happen and have a very detailed skeleton story drafted out to write around.
The most extreme pantsers just start with an idea and set off with no road map. In some ways it's like a freewrite, but slightly more focussed. The extreme pantser might think 'I'll write a story about a Prince rescuing a Princess' and set off without any thought of what he's rescuing her from or how he's going to do it.
In some ways I expect that's a very exciting way to write, but as I mentioned a few days ago, I like my lists :)