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“Pantser” or “Outliner”

Over the years I’ve struggled getting started with writing anything longer than a short story or a couple of scenes. In one of the podcasts I listen to (Writing Excuses), they talk about two types of writers: Pantsers and Outliners

Pantsers are discovery writers. They have a vague idea of where they want the story to go and figure it out as they go along. Outliners are the opposite. They create a very-detailed outline of everything that’s going to happen from start to finish then fill in the little gaps with more words, causing the story to appear.

I’ve had a very hard time finding where I fit into that. I like being able to discover what happens as I write, but I like the idea of having the plot laid out for me. I’ve tried relying on either method and both have left me frustrated and discouraged.

Then one of the hosts (Dan Wells) mentioned in an episode that he falls somewhere in the middle. He creates a rough outline with the major points of what he wants the story to look like then discovery writes as he fills in the gaps of his outline. When he said that, it suddenly clicked for me that this ‘new writing style’ is what would work for me! It explains why I’ve been so frustrated with trying to write exclusively as either a Pantser or an Outliner. I’m a little bit of both!

I like to discover the story as I write, but I having a frame could provide the much-needed structure to my stories. This is probably why whenever I struggle writing an email I find myself plopping down the main points then elaborating on those points until I have a well-formed message.

So, with this new self-awareness, it’s time for me to go back to all those stories I started writing and build up a rough outline for them to give me some direction to discover what’s going to happen.



2016 Reading List

~~Currently Reading~~


  1. Forge of Darkness
  2. The Lightning Thief
  3. The Sea of Monsters
  4. The Titan’s Curse
  5. The Battle of the Labrynth
  6. The Last Olympian
  7. The First Confessor
  8. The Omen Machine
  9. The Bands of Mourning
  10. Mistborn: Secret History
  11. The Third Kingdom
  12. Severed Souls
  13. Warheart
  14. Staying is the new Going
  15. The Princess and the Goblin
  16. The Only Pirate at the Party
  17. Calamity
  18. The Red Pyramid
  19. The Princess and Curdie
  20. Dune
  21. The Queen’s Poisoner
  22. The Throne of Fire
  23. The Serpent’s Shadow
  24. Gemini Cell
  25. The Emperor’s Blades
  26. The Providence of Fire
  27. Perfect State
  28. The Last Mortal Bond
  29. Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell
  30. Bluescreen
  31. Leviathan Wakes
  32. Javelin Rain
  33. Gunner’s Apprentice
  34. The Martian
  35. Hollow City
  36. I, Night Angel
  37. Throne Of Glass
  38. The Rithmatist
  39. The Lies of Locke Lamora
  40. Uprooted
  41. Real Marriage
  42. Red Seas under Red Skies
  43. The Republic of Thieves
  44. Freedom from Performing
  45. Tales Beyond the Ninth World
  46. The Sparrow
  47. The Blood Mirror
  48. Emotional Intelligence 2.0
  49. Oh Crap! Potty Training
  50. 30 Day Praise Challenge
  51. Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes
  52. Ren of Atikala
  53. Ready Player One