I've been a pantser most of my writing life. (For those of you who aren't aware of the term pantsing, it's the opposite of plotting. You write whatever you like without a guide and pray the process creates a happily-ever-after.)
I'd tried plotting in the past, and most of my stories felt flat and boring. Write down what I'm going to write? In order? Isn't that redundant? So I turned to pantsing. After creating a beginning point, a few middle points, and a fantastic end, I'd start writing. That worked fine until last year. MY WIP (Work in Progress) was the second book in a series, and the characters were wandering all over my storyworld, taking trips I'd never signed off on, and just in general making a mess of things. When I did my revisions, I managed to regain control, but it required massive rewrites. During this time, I heard about a book by Libbie Hawker titled Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing. Faster, better writing? Sign me up. It was a quick read, and I decided to give her method a try.
Part of me misses the purely unstructured way of pulling ideas out of the ether and writing my characters reactions. There's a thrill to creating a story in that manner. But what I usually end up with isn't a plot that provides a supportive framework for my story arc.
I'm not going to try to convert all of you pantsers out there. But maybe a few of you have considered trying plotting, yet you're afraid it will stifle your creativity. A simple outline, like the one in this book, might be worth a try.
How about you, writers? Are you pantsers? Plotters? And why? Let us know below!