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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Blank Screen

I love it when I begin a new project and I see the blank screen. That great expanse of white is calling to me, begging me to fill it with a jumble of letters that will eventually become a story.

I, my dear friends, am a pantser. No, no, no. I do not run around pulling men's pants down to their knees. (However, it is a thought to be considered.) In the writing industry a pantser is someone who sits down and writes, no lengthy outlines, no fifty page synopsis, no binders full of notes. Just the writer, the writing instrument, and the words in the author's head.

Each word that hits the computer screen is a surprise and the story can take you places you wouldn't believe. There are times you have to rope the characters in and pull them back to the original story.

My friend Karen Frisch, author of What's in a Name is my opposite. She is a plotter. She writes extensive notes. She shuffles them around, cuts and pastes, until she has the story in the order she wants it, then she sits down and fills in the good stuff that holds the story together. She knows once she sits down that all her research is done. Her plot is set. Her clues are embedded. She has a firm road map and she knows where it is taking her.

Amanda Torrey, author of Teen Fury Unleashed, is a plotster. She does some of her plotting ahead of time, but most of her writing comes from the seat of her pants.

I have one story, I refer to as my psychotic thriller, that I am a puzzler with. I do not work on this book often, but when scenes come to me I write them down and place them where ever they belong in the story. I had actually written the final chapter the same day as I wrote the first chapter and ever since I have been adding puzzle pieces to the middle. I'll let you know how that works out when I have a chance to finish it.

What is your method of writing?


  1. Love your style!

    I am a pantser, also, although I didn't know I was so labelled. I believe this is why I related so much with Stephen King in his "On Writing" which I just reread as I am having a bad spell. I was surprised, in my first read that one of my two favorite authors didn't believe much in plot - at least not in starting from it.

    Twelve years later it is still much easier, and enjoyable, to simply "tell the story" than it is is to stick to a planned agenda.

    In fairness to everyone who isn't this way, I have to say I think it comes natural to me as I tend to live life the same way as much as possible, whereas many others are lost when one of their "ducks gets out of line."

    1. Thank you for stopping by. I always enjoy your comments.

      I'm sorry to hear about the bad spell, I hope it is turning around for you.

  2. Nice post, Liberty

    I think I am more like Amanda myself. I do not have huge outline and fine details, but I do have a general idea of the who, what, when and where as well as general notes on my characters. But the rest just happens as I go along.

    1. Christina, Over the years I have tried all the different methods and that is the one that works the best for me. I use a big paper to keep track of my characters' names and I write down things I want to include when they occur to me, but basically I still fly by the seat of my pants. ;~}}

      Thank you for sharing your method with us. I love hearing how other people write.

  3. I do the same thing, Liberty. I have spiral notebooks so I can keep track of my characters. I tried to plot once, but my mind shut off. There's something freeing, for me at least, to look at that white screen and fill it up with my imagination. Thanks for posting such a great topic!

    1. It greats to hear from someone else who loves the white screen. ;~}}

      Now we both must fill it.

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