I’m a what? What the @#$% is a pantser?

21 Jul

I have considered myself a writer for a few years now but am just now learning the lingo. To be honest in the last few years I haven’t finished anything but I’ve started several well thought out ideas. I used to be scared by that and worried that it meant that I would never finish anything. A fellow writer, a woman who has over a dozen published, and therefore finished, books, told me that it took her over 2 years to finish her first book. That made me feel better about where I was in my own writing. I still didn’t feel like a real writer though. I’d only shared my drafts with family and friends, all of whom raved about what I’d written. It’s not that I don’t trust them but I know they don’t want to hurt my feelings.

Last week I found a writer on twitter and through her I found a crit partner matching group. A crit partner, known from here out as a CP, is another writer who you share your writing with and basically pick their writing apart in the kindest way possible and offer them feedback and they do the same for you. I shared a writing sample, a chick lit story I shoved to the side when my grandfather was sick and ultimately passed away. I felt like I was preparing for a first date waiting to hear back. I was checking my email every 15 minutes when I wasn’t at my computer. I was worried that whatever the feedback was it would prove that my family and friends were evil little liars who just wanted to keep from hurting my feelings. It wasn’t at all. She gave me some very great ideas to look into when I do eventually return to that story. I’ve now sent to another potential CP to see if we make a good fit as well. I’d love to have 2 different views on it when I get finished.

I also learned that I am a pantser and not a plotter. A plotter is someone who outlines and plans and knows EXACTLY where the story will go when they sit down to write. I have attempted to do this type of writing, even filling out an interview with my character. That made her seem dull and boring and not like the exciting girl I was getting to know every time I sat down to write and so I tossed out the interview, gave her a new name and started from scratch. Sometimes I would sit down to write and when I’d read back through I would realize I didn’t really intend for it to move that way but it made more sense than what I had sat down planning to write. That all makes me a pantser, someone who writes by the seat of their pants btw and not any of those horrible definitions from Urban Dictionary.

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One Response to “I’m a what? What the @#$% is a pantser?”

  1. Tawna Fenske July 21, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Congrats on finding a CP and establishing yourself as a happy pantster! It’s a great club, and I’m proud to be a dues-paying member 🙂

    Tawna

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