Former Pantser, Current Planner

About six months ago, I shared with you all that I'd completed my first novel and was in the process of submitting the manuscript to agents. 

Well, guess what?

I've written ANOTHER one!

*throws confetti*

I can hardly believe it myself!

*clangs cymbals*

But it's true!


Two days ago, I sent my manuscript to six readers and have been getting some good feedback so far. My fingers are crossed that I'll be able to start submitting it to agents in about a month.

I've been keeping up with a lot of other author's blogs (side note: even though I'm currently unpublished, the fact that I've now written two complete novels makes me feel justified in calling myself an author) and there is QUITE the debate between those who plan their books and those who fly by the seat of their pants. Being a first-time author, I didn't know which side I'd be on.

Well, now I know.

I was a former pantser, but am now a planner.

My first manuscript was very much pantsed together. I wrote what popped into my head at the time, sometimes not even in order and although it worked out in the end, it took FOREVER to edit. Like, the better part of five months. That wouldn't be so bad except that I don't have a full-time job and therefore spent many, many, many hours in front of the computer. It literally took twice as long to edit as it did to write. Granted, I was learning a lot about structure (especially dialogue) and how to make things flow well, but I really felt that if I'd had a plan in the beginning, it would have made things much easier.

So, this time around, I decided to make a little plan. Nothing too crazy, nothing too set-in-stone, but more of a general direction of both the plot and my main character's personal growth. It went well and kept me focused but it wasn't until I read an article by an author who uses character boards. I'd always thought that was more of a movie-thing-deal, but then I thought, "Hey, you're new at this so shut your face and give it a try!"

Well, let me tell you. Character boards are the bee's knees.

The cat's pyjamas.

The lion's mane (that isn't actually a saying, but I couldn't think of any other animal examples)

I'm now COMPLETELY OBSESSED with them.

I blacked out the outline because it'd tell you EXACTLY what happens and...well...that's just not good. Ps. How great are Mac templates?

It's AMAZING how much easier it was for me to visualize my characters interacting with each other. I'm a visual learner, so I really shouldn't have been surprised, but I WAS! Keeping this print out next to me, as I was writing, led for a much stronger line of continuity.

So I figure that I'm now 70% planner and 30% pantser. Sometimes a story just goes off by itself and those are usually my favourite scenes. However, having a general plan and character boards really helped me stay on track and led for a much shorter round of revisions and edits. 

Now I have to go work on my synopsis and obsessively check my email for more feedback. Then, I want to sneak in some time to start on Russell Brand's Booky Wook. The name ALONE made me pick it up. Plus, it'll be nice to read something I haven't written. You know, cause then I can be surprised when something happens. 


  1. Coincidence strikes! Having been a pantster my entire writing career, I just this morning picked up the index cards and the sharpie and said, "Let's try this planning thing."

    I think ... I think I've been a Super-Extreme-Planner-Lady in disguise. This entire time. *gulp* Planning the scenes and drawing subplot maps and tinkering around with everything is SO FUN ACK!

    Don't even get me started on character boards. Love 'em. And that mac template sure is pretty! =P #jealousPCuser

  2. Wow, Jennie! Congrats! That's amazing. Can't wait to see your books on the shelf at the bookstore and be able to say that I know that author. Even if it is only through the internet world. You are SO COOL!

  3. Congrats on book #2!! That is so awesome! I can't wait to read your books someday! I better get a signed copy :)

  4. Riley - Hmmm, so great minds must think alike! I'm interested to know how it all works out for you! Ha, with Super-Extreme-Planner-Lady in disguise!

    Julie & Nikki - Aww, THANKS ladies! You can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be throwing copies at whoever wants them! Haha!!


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