Wednesday, April 5, 2017

IWSG Post - My Panster Woes

We are already in the 4th month of 2017.  This year too like its predecessors is flying past at an alarming speed, leaving many of us writers stranded with our writing goals. A couple of my deadlines have whooshed past me, mocking my laziness.

 It’s the first Wednesday of the month, time for our monthly IWSG post. IWSG (Insecure Writers Support Group) is the place we writers hang around online, sharing our writing insecurities, anxieties, worries, clearing our doubts and learning from each other. As all the writers are at different stages of their publishing journey, there is a wealth of information on the IWSG website. we post on the first Wednesday of every month. To read the other IWSG posts, click here.

We all must thank Ninja Captain Alex J Cavanaugh (author of the Amazon Bestsellers: CassaStar, CassaStorm, CassaFire and Dragon of the Stars) for starting this wonderful group, which works as a major stress buster for us writers.

This month I have given myself a strict deadline of finishing a manuscript I had started sometime back. For that I have to write fast and I am actually pansting quite a bit of the story. I haven’t done any heavy duty plotting and have only a rough idea of what the ending will be like and what the major turning points will be.

This panster way of writing is giving me anxiety attacks, as I like to have a plot outline in mind before I start telling the story. Though between plot points I give myself the freedom to move any which way, but whichever direction I take, I know where I have to reach because the next major plot point is waiting for me.

I am wondering how other writers are such amazing pansters. How do they write without any outline? Can anyone give me any tips? I am eager to read all your IWSG posts and see what writing worries are bugging you this month.

April 5 Question: Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results? 

I have not used the A to Z Challenge to market my book or for the publicity of my book. I have done the Challenge just once and my book didn’t get published in the year I participated in the A to Z Challenge. But it sounds like a good idea for book promotion!


  1. I can't outline a book, which I wish I could do. I do know my major plot points and have thought of planning out a few chapter ahead as I go. I'd do that if I have time to write fiction again. For my nonfiction job, I love outlining in advance so I can just sit down and write my weekly work.

  2. This year is flying! But don't worry, Rachna - you still have plenty of time to get things done. :)

  3. Three months down already. Wild, huh?
    I'm heavy with the plotting so I've no idea how people just wing it.

  4. I'm trying to get through a story by making some up as I go. I think I'm going to have to stop and outline a bit more or it might end up in disaster.

  5. Hi Rachna,

    I never outline. I just go where the story takes me. RELAX, keep breathing, and let you mind fly.... don't worry about it, just ENJOY THE TRIP!

  6. Deadlines help us hone our craft quickly! I love them. Good luck finishing.

  7. As a pantser, I'm always anxious when I write, so I empathize with you.

  8. I never thought I'd be a pantser, coming from a career in accounting and then computers (IT). But I still have a trilogy of romance novels sitting mostly unwritten but well outlined while I slash through my pantsted mysteries with zeal.

    Do I ever get bogged down? Yes. Do I get back on track? Again, yes. It may mean slashing some scenes after the fact but that's what editing is for, right?

    I now start a mystery with a dead body (or a victim), a setting, some characters and just write. I rarely know who the killer is and have been known to change the identity several times as I write.

    Characters have had heart attacks, car accidents, kidnappings and more - unexpectedly. LOL! Hang on, it's gonna be a bumpy ride!!

    D: Dominica & D-Day Museum
    DB McNicol, author & traveler
    Theme: Oh, the places we will go!

  9. I'm still at the experimental stage as to how I write. But the variety - planning, pantsing and just writing rubbish - helps us to learn and develop. Keep going with the flow, Rachna. I've no doubt you'll get there and the results will be amazing. Take care.

  10. This year is definitely flying by too fast. I, unfortunately, don't have any pantser tips. I'm such a plotter. Quite a few of my plots/outlines end up being as long as short novellas. LOL!

  11. Pantsing is not for everyone. I swear by it. I don't really outline, but I have a random assortment of ideas here and there. One thing I do in preparation for writing, is I write small scenes that I will use later in my stories. Nothing says you have to write it in order.

    My only advice to writers for their first draft is write as fast as you can to the ending. Don't worry about getting it right the first time. My second advice, over-explain things. Spend a few pages describing something if the mood hits you. It is easier to cut things out of your story that is unnecessary, than to add things. Though you will find that after your first draft is complete, you still have to add things.

  12. A long time ago I was a pantser. I would write, and in my down time, I'd think out one to three plot points ahead of where I was. It worked okay, but I do fully plot now--loose plots with the major and several minor points. It's been super helpful to have an editor who is open to working with me on that part.