Or are you reading this and wondering what I’m talking about.
I didn’t know I was pantser. I learned my identity long after the fact. In this regard, I liken myself to a black widow spider.
Not because I mate and kill. I’m referring to the web. If you’ve ever touched a black widow’s web, you recognize it immediately by touch alone. But they are also distinguished by the seemingly helter-skelter designs. It may appear as though there is no rhyme or reason to their construction.
Being a pantser which means writing by the seat of ones pants is like that. A pantser builds a story with threads that may not seem to connect in a meaningful way. Often I don’t have a clue why I added something to a story. However, I’ve learned to leave what I don’t understand alone…in due time all will be revealed.
The construction of a plotter is like a beautiful ornate web, well-arranged and orderly. Plotter are precise, with well thought out outlines, graphs, notes, stickies, and the list of anal-anomalies can go on and on. (That’s snark born of jealous envy.)
I’ve heard some plotters speak of having outlines with a goodly number of pages. I heard a well-known author at a workshop say that her outline can be seventy pages. They might even have a bible for their series. These are things I’ve heard, but never experienced.
I’ve tried to plot.
When I first read Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation and Conflict I decided that I needed to plot to give a more desirous result to my writing experience. All I got for my effort was bored. I can’t write the book if I already know what’s going to happen. That takes the fun out of it for me. The adventure of discovery is missing.
So does that mean I’m left with an ugly misshapen web of words? The poor black widow’s web may not be appreciated because people are quick to destroy the little creatures before they construct their creation. The webs often look meager with little to recommend them other than their unique strength and resilience.
But left to mature in a place where the spider doesn’t have to fight to live, the web has its own appeal.
So I’ve learned not to worry about being a pantser. And if a strange, off the track sentence works it’s way into my story it doesn’t worry me now. I know I’ll discover the reason it’s there. It will be a delightful surprise and once again I’ll be in wonder of the workings of the strange mind God gave me.