Both Panster and Plotter


Lena Winfrey Seder

There is a lot of talk about whether writers are ‘pansters’ or ‘plotters’.  I can’t answer for other writers, but as for me, I am a bit of both. How can one be both? It depends on what type of writing it is.

Non-fiction writing requires more planning, researching and plotting. It needs to be more organized than fiction. I write both fiction and non-fiction. I used to do some newspaper reporting. There has to be some planning, even for a short article.

Non-fiction and fiction both have a lot of things in common like the fact there has to be a beginning, a middle and an end. Fiction also needs a bit of planning as well. However, it depends on how much research one wants to put into fiction. Also, it depends on the writer’s style of writing.

I know some writers who use elaborate character descriptions and backgrounds before they even begin a book. They plan out the plot and do a lot of pre-writing. Other writers let a story develop on its own and take them on a journey. I do a bit of both. I loosely outline a book or story.  I choose some characters with basic descriptions and a basic, loose plot, but then I jump in and develop the story. The story will grow and change; sometimes it will detour from the plot to something more interesting. The story comes alive.

With both fiction and non-fiction, I have to either have an interest or a driving passion for it to go well. My best writing is from something I’m passionate about. Books and characters are like our children.  We love our favorite characters.

I don’t chain myself to one genre; I write what I like or I’m inspired to write. I write poetry, short stories, novels and screenplays as well as both fiction and non-fiction. My current work in progress is a paranormal novel.

I am thankful for my basic talent in writing; it has helped me when I’m on the spot with a tight deadline. I have been able to push myself to come up with amazing ideas in short periods of time and under pressure, and the results have been great! However, this is not always the best way, but at times it is needed. Writing is part raw talent while the biggest part is hard work. There are many talented people in the world, but if they don’t work hard they will not see good results. Success doesn’t fall out of the sky; it has to be earned with ‘sweat, blood and tears.’

I have been writing since I was in high school. I did some teaching of English for years. I suddenly realized one day that writing was not a hobby but a career. I love writing. To me, it is like breathing air; I can’t live without doing it.

And as writers, we cannot pretend to know everything. When we have doubts or questions about how to do something in writing, formatting, marketing, etc. then we must go and research. We must constantly work on strengthening our skills and abilities. No one is perfect, but at the same time we must strive to continuously improve the quality of our writing. Learning never stops; it continues until the grave.

You can find me on Facebook at:
WMD (Writers of Mass Distraction) group blog (I am a member):

My published non-fiction novel can be found at:
Good luck and good writing!
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  1. I'm a pantser but I'm trying to plot more.

  2. I don't outline, so I suppose that puts me in the panster category. But that's the fun part of it. I do know where I'm going, what scenes I've got coming up, and use a plot planner, but I figure if I spend time outlining I might as well use the time writing the darn thing.

    Good peice, Lena!

  3. Thanks, Jennifer for inviting me to blog today on your blog! And Lorelei, you make a good point; if you have to spend the time outlining, sometimes it is best to use that time writing the original piece. I just think it depends on what type of piece it is. I actually start a process of writing in my head before I actually put anything on paper, so I'm probably outlining and doing character backgrounds in my mind before I'm writing it down; I suppose most of us do this.