Why I Stopped Pantsing

Check out JS Mawdsley’s insights on pantsing vs. planning a novel.

JS Mawdsley

Both of us are hard-core outliners. When we write our novels, either alone or together, we plan them out thoroughly ahead of time. This means that, in the grand, Manichean division of fiction writers, we are aligned with the planners, rather than with the “pantsers” (i.e. those who write by the seat of their pants, or make it up as they go).

It was not always thus.

When we started our first four books together, we had a sort of an outline: a spreadsheet listing the scenes we had planned for each of our four POV characters. We did that so we could divide up the work between us. “I’ll do this scene. Do you want that one?”

The descriptions of these scenes were pretty minimal, like “Susan meets John.” So we pretty much got to write as much or as little as we wanted, provided that by the time…

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