NaNoWriMo: Pantser vs. Plotter

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This is the first year I am participating in NaNoWriMo. I have published 4 books previously and found that I am a pretty good combination of Pantser and Plotter.  I like to keep the end open and continue to travel in the general direction of where I know I want to end (even if I go in circles to get there).

But for NaNoWriMo, I wanted to try my hand at Plotting (planning) rather than Pantsing.  Rachel Stephen is a plotting genius!!!!  I have watched her videos and used her methods to plan for The Sons of Judas (tentatively named—-I was thinking about using The Repentant Son, but who knows.  Between now and publishing I may change the name a dozen times!).  

I found that I love brainstorming.  Drawing mind maps and finding pictures for character/scene inspirations.  I also love creating characters and, using the Meyers Briggs methodology, coming up with quirks/flaws they can have.  The part I had the hardest time with was writing the outline.

I know you might be like WHAT!?   That should be easy if you have all the other pieces.  For some, it might, but for me, it was a struggle.  I found myself writing the scenes in total detail rather than sticking to an outline format.  I wrote full dialogues with descriptions on my outline cards rather than highlighting the main points and moving on.

It took me hours to finish 1/3 of my outline.  I thought, there had to be a better way.  So, I researched!  I found that I could list my scenes using a simple 5 point line diagram.


It was easier for me to draw a line and write in a scene using this method rather than for me to write out scene cards.  For one, I didn’t have as much room for detail and for two, I could plan out the entire novel on one page.

This zig-zag line was like a miracle for me.  I’d already spent hours and hours of time “over” outlining my novel and felt tired before I’d even typed the first sentence.  Using this method I was able to finish drafting my outline in less than an hour.  I still have flexibility and maneuverability for subplots and my favorite “2nd lead syndrome” tie-ins.

I am really looking forward to NaNoWriMo and the completion of the 2nd novel in The Revenant City Series.  I am learning a lot of new techniques and with every scene I write, I am further developing my craft.  After all, no one wakes up and becomes J.K.Rowlings or Stephen King without practice.  It is our love of writing and storytelling that drives us to madness and compels us to write a book. (LOL!)

For any fellow NaNoWriMos out there that would like to buddy up with me during this adventure, my username is DawnB423.  Find me at


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