Are Pantsers a bigger group than I thought?


Confession, I’ve always thought pantsers were a rare minority. I know a lot of people relate to it and say they are, but unless you’ve finished a novel pantsing I never took it seriously. My philosophy is that most people aren’t really pantsers, they thrive on that in the beginning because the idea is fresh, shiny, and new but once the luster wears off it’s hard to finish something if you don’t know where its going.

Now, I feel like I can’t turn sideways without running into one. How many people are true pantsers? How many do you know? What are the pros to you as a pantser?

To clarify, I don’t think being a pantser is wrong or shameful or frowned upon. I don’t think they write worse books or anything. I just thought true pantsers were just rarer.


I’m a little of both. Like you said, I’ll write an idea maybe five paragraphs in front of a computer, later I’ll take a book and rewrite. So yes, your theory is true in regards to me.

The pros: I’m able to take an idea right away and write it out. I’ll probably finish a whole chapter by doing this before rewriting in a book, at times.

I do know someone who is a complete panster. They do this by listening to music or having background noise playing like YouTube.


I’m a panster. I’ve written three (four once my WIP is done) books this way. I know the idea of the story, a general beginning, middle, and sometimes end (though I usually know the end before I hit the halfway point.) The closest thing I have to an outline is a notebook with plot points/ideas in no particular order that may or may not get picked up as I write. I’m a very mentally visual person though, so I can “see” kind of a mental list of what needs to happen before what to make things work. If I were to plot, most of my plot points would change anyway because I have a near constant flood of ideas. So it’s easier to sit and write and scrap and add as I please.

It’s a hard process to explain, aside from saying these days I just know if it’s working or isn’t. I get a feel for the story and know where to take it more times than not.


8 years of pantsing NaNoWriMo, and countless shorts/novellas/novels finished with pantsing. Some of my work requires a drastic rewrite after pantsing though :stuck_out_tongue: But there arrre lots of people who don’t plan, we do exist!


I’m a pantser. For me I write a book from the first word to the last without any hint how the story is gonna go. I may have a vague idea but that’s about it. I’m a fast writer so for me my ideas are fresh all the way to the end but I edit hard when I go back over my book. But I Think rewriting and editing is fun as well so I don’t have a problem with it.
All my 11 books are written like this.

I don’t know if there are many true pantsers but I know a few that say they are.
And the pros to being a pantser to me is the freedome it gives me and my characters that we are not bound to a strict plot.


I’m a pantser. I come up with the beginning, middle, and end (which normally changes at least twice throughout the writing possess) and wing the rest. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t (though when it doesn’t, it’s not so much to do pantsering but because I had too many characters and couldn’t keep track of them in one case and in the other I stopped writing it for a while and couldn’t get back into the flow of it when I started up again enough though I knew where I was going with it). For the other two I pantsered though and completed, it worked pretty well.


Hi! I’m another prolific pantser. All my books are pantsed - as soon as I start planning, I can’t write the book. I don’t know how many books I’ve finished at this point, but it’s over 20.

The most planning I do is coming up with a concept like “god stole recipe of immortality” and that’s it. (That concept turned into four books) Sometimes I have a scene in mind and that scene kind of just turns into a book.

Yay pantsing :smile:


So, question for all, how much of the book would you say you know before writing? Is it practically a mental outline, or is it really, really sparse? I’m really trying to understand writing without ANY idea of what you’re writing about. I can understand not knowing what’s happening a few scenes down, but I don’t understand not even knowing what’s happening in the moment you’re writing.


Basically nothing. As I mentioned above, it can sometimes be a concept or I just have one scene in mind and go from there. I just start writing and come up with things as I write them. Then I stop to do a little research sometimes, and then I continue.


I’m sorry but that just blows my mind. Does not compute. That’s something impressive.


It’s very freeing :smile: Also exciting. It’s like discovering the story just as the readers will when I eventually upload the stories. My first drafts are really rough, so I can’t upload as I write. Also, a buuunch of plotholes, but I know pantsers who write basically flawless first drafts.


For me I don’t know at all what will happen most of the time. For me the characters comes first and then they decides what kind of story they want to have so I write that. But like @AWFrasier says sometimes I may have a scene in my head and then build a story around that.


That’s a really good way of saying it! :smile:


I’m kind of one of thoes writers. I don’t upload as I go though but I write a pretty solid first draft. Going over it only to check for spelling errors and stuff like that before uploading.


I’m so jealous. I’ve just finished a first draft here in the spring and then I spent the summer editing - I ended up adding an additional 10k words worth of extra scenes, worldbuilding, descriptions and better sentences overall.


I might add stuff as I edit too but it’s not a frequent occurrence. I usally write a book in a couple of months like my WIP I started two weeks ago and I set the deadline for mid december because that’s when I want to start posting chapters. But I also have stories that has taken me almost six years to finish.


Same! It’s amazing how some books just basically write themselves while others have to be a fight the entire way.


I agree it’s a bliss when the write themselves, my book series that I spent all of last year writing is one of those. I finished three books without any effort because the characters lead the way. And that feels so good. :smiley:


Ah I love when that happens! I had a book series like that and it was over before I even got to really appreciate it - and then I have this other series that I finished this year and god… Seriously… All four books were like pulling teeth! And while I was working on that series, I wrote several other books. (I work on several projects at the same time)

I wish all books were just easy-peasy :joy:


I have about 6 Projects going at once. Five of them are in my native language and they are in diffrent stages of being finished since I publish them in physical format it takes a little more work with beta readers and stuff like that. But they are done for the most part.