Panster Alert! My Writing Process


Greetings, Vallerians!

Proud Pantser copyright Marianne Knightly

Today’s post gives you a peek inside my writing process as a pantser. What’s a panster, you may ask?

There are usually (but not always) two types of writers: plotters or pansters. Plotters, as you can guess, plot out their whole novel and characters ahead of time. I’m a panster, which means I write by the seat of my pants. Before I ever set pen to paper (or, really, finger to keyboard) I’ve already got the characters swimming around in my head distracting me. Their personalities, their traits, their dreams, the challenges they face – I’ll often pin those down before I ever choose a name for them (case in point is my current WIP (work-in-progress): I’m currently writing Seaside Valleria 3, and I’d already written two chapters before I finally picked the name for my hero). But all of that character info stays in my head. On paper, I’ll do a little pre-planning about where I want the story to go, but everything else I come up with as I write the book.

How often do I write? Before my health issues, I could write in huge stretches of time and just knock a lot of chapters out. This was especially important because this meant I could get the majority of my writing done over a month of weekends (and I could relax more during the week after the day job). More recently, however, I haven’t been able to do that, so I’ll write a little each day if I can, or try to write a few times in short bursts on weekends. That means it takes me longer now to write a book, but I know my body and its limits and I’ve got to respect them.

I also do what’s called ‘fast drafting’, a technique devised to help you get over the urge to stop and correct every little mistake in your manuscript (or MS), and instead just focus on getting the words down on the page. This technique has been SO helpful for me as it means I can write more in shorter amounts of time. Since I can’t write as much as I used to, this has still been helpful to keep me productive on that daily basis. One day, when I’m a full-time author, I might take more time to write a book, but for now this process is working well. If you’re wondering if only pansters can fast draft – Not at all! Even if you love to plot, then you can still fast draft. You might even be in a little better place to do it. Personally, I find extensive plotting limits me creatively, so I don’t tend to do that but I respect those who do.

That is the wonderful thing about writing – there’s no one way to do it. If you want to plot, plot. If you want to be a pantser, be a pantser. Write in short bursts, in long bursts, in a weekend, in a month, in a year…it doesn’t matter as long as you’re getting the words on paper (or in your computer).

Editing is also incredibly important for any writer, but it’s particularly important to me personally as a pantser. I had a different editor earlier in the Royals series, and it is noticeable. My writing style was not as polished or defined, and my editor at that time wasn’t the best fit for my books. Since about Royals 7 (Royally Ever After), I’ve had a FABULOUS editor. I adore her. She’s not only helped me find those pesky plot holes, but my books sound better, are more consistent, and my writing’s definitely better. I’d even venture to say I’m a better panster because of her guidance, because now it’s easier for me to catch things I might have previously missed. I’ll talk more about the editing process later.

So that was a look at part of my writing process. More to come soon! Are you a pantser? A plotter? Something else? Comment below and let me know!

~xoxo Marianne

This is Post 4 of 100 as part of the #100DaysofMKAuthorLife.

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