On my walk this morning, my first reaction was “It’s freezing.”  Checked temperature.  Yesterday, the high 60s.  Today: 37.  Brrr!

Packed in some time before work on the Futures workshop.  It’s opportunities, so it’s pretty interesting. 

Cold all day.  I’m sure it heated some but it never felt like it. 

Evening work on the book.  The timeline change helped a lot.  It forced me to think and change something that was creating issues. Still a bit slow going. Maybe my brain needs to thaw.

Onto the pantsing part of this:

The way you hear it from other writers and developmental editors, pantsing a story is the worst thing ever because the stories “are always a mess.” 

Reason #1:

Look at who’s telling you this.  The developmental editors want to sell you a writing system. Pantsers are bad for business.

Many new writers hear things and pass them around as fact, often without any more evidence than they heard from another writer.

But you’re probably thinking, “My story is a mess!” So…

Reason #2

All that writing advice.  Nearly every bit of writing advice you find online or in the writing reference books is done from the assumption of outlining.  It’s not interchangeable with how pantsers write.  Nor can you separate the outlining parts and use what’s left (I tried.  It was ugly).

It does make that much of a difference.

Reason #3


Everyone has some craft issue they need to work on.  The problem with pantsing a book is that the process puts a magnifying glass on craft issues.

And it may not be the structure that everyone preaches at pantsers (because they can teach it through outlining).  The skill is characterization.

Characterization is a building block of story and is connected to every part of it.  Without characterization, you don’t have structure.  Without characterization, you don’t have setting.  Without characterization, you don’t have story.

So if the characterization is weak, other parts of the story may not work.  The structure given by doing an outline would shore it up, make the problem less obvious, but it would still be there.

If you want to get started on your characterization skills, hit Dwight Swain’s: Creating Characters: How to Build Story People first.