Tuesday, April 6, 2010


I tweeted this earlier then realized it would make a good blog post.
I want 2 douse my synopsis in gasoline, flick a cigarette at it, then strut from the fire like a badass, wearing sexy boots & cool shades.
I can't take credit for this vivid scene. I've been wanting to reenact my own version of this moment of badassness ever since I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine. (He used a spark from hitting his metal adamantium claws against concrete, but I don't have claws so I'm improvising.) Love me some Logan. Mmm, mm.
I do really want to set my synopsis on fire though. I'm a pantser. Not an outliner. The systematic thing has never worked well for me; neither has structure, or organization. I like chaos.

I like flying by the seat of my pants. Heck, I wrote most of my college papers the night before they were due and I got A's. Twice I tried taking my time and really "organizing and planning" my project and I got a B. See, I know what works best for me.

I know I should learn to love my synopsis. Maybe even try to become an outliner. If an agent or editor makes this request of me in the future, I will try. Until then, I'd truly love to go all renegade and throw my overly organized piece of methodical malarkey into a gasoline tanker, light a cigarette, and flick.

Too bad I don't smoke. Or have access to, and permission from someone to blow up a gas truck. THAT would make a great Vlog.

Are you a pantser? Or do you love all those organization tools people say are so good for us writers? I hope I'm not the only one with pyromaniacal daydreams.


  1. I am definitely a pantser. I wrote a 20 page public policy paper in one night and got an A. Most my papers are done last minute when it comes to school.

    Even when I do have outlines, they aren't very detailed and I don't pay attention to them. The year I won nanowrimo for the first time, the month before I'd taken part in a prep event that included character sheets, interviews and 5 versions of an outline. During the actually writing I never looked at the outline. Not once.

    I'm trying to do some outlines, at least for rewrites but I am pretty sure I'll always be a pantser with the entire novel idea figured out in my head but not on paper(computer).

  2. I am a total pantser. I have fantasies about becoming organized, but it'll never happen. I just don't have any organizational DNA. I am dying just trying to come up with a 1-3 sentence summary! :-)

  3. Pantser! And glad to see I'm not the only one shirking my writing responsibilities. It's just never worked for me to plan ahead, kind of kills the muse (which makes me think that "Killing the Muse" would be a great name for a novel).

  4. Outliner! :P But I consider my outline as a first draft...just with the fewest number of words possible. :)

  5. Synopsis = evil. Evil!!

  6. Oh lord I am such a combination of the two = FREAK, I know.

    Yep when it comes to writing I am the pantser - everything else the organized, type A crazy lady! lol

    ;o) But hey I figure a little chaotic organization is fun for all

    Visit My Kingdom Anytime

  7. Everything I write is written in chaos!
    My ideas only come right at the moment. I can plan for my greatness!
    or something..

  8. Ugh...synopsis.

    It's like taking all the cool and sucking it out, leaving only the bones of the story.

    The dry bones.

    Yuck, I say.


  9. I'm totally a pantser. Also, I'd love to blow something up. I wish that sort of thing wasn't frowned upon. *sigh*

  10. I'm a combination pantser/outliner. Yeah, I know that's weird. But I need to have a general idea of where I'm headed when I'm writing. I leave the little details of how to get there up to my imagination as I go.

  11. Posting a pic of Wolverine strolling away from a blazing inferno does not absolve you of the need to post a YouTube vid of you burning your synopsis and stalking away from the pyre in boots and sunglasses, as we requested. (Okay, it was just me, but I was speaking for everyone. And I wasn't the one who mentioned the whip bit.)

    So get on that, would you? Kthx.

    P.S. Pantser, thus far. People have been trying to reform me but I'm ignoring them and indulging in pyromania in the meantime...

  12. I did that with all my papers in college too! Procrastination=As. Preparation=Bs.

    I've been a pantser so far, but I am outlining my next WIP. Just to try it. Because as a pantser, in Shattered? I had like thousands and thousands of words to throw away and it irritated me! But my outlining style is pretty loose... So I still get to feel like a pantser--and I'm not gonna force myself (or my characters) to stay within the outline.

    I also totally have pyromaniacal daydreams =)

    PS. CJ Redwine offers help with synopses (she even gives a workshop) I NEVER would have finished mine without her feedback. http://queryworkshop.blogspot.com/

  13. To tell you the truth, I query all the agents that don't require a synopsis first and put it off as long as I can!

  14. Eeps, I can not abide the synopsis. Organization is my weakest link. I sympathize with you, but I also think perhaps this means you are getting close, so woo-hoo, if that's right!

  15. Oh my gosh. I hated writing my synopsis. HATED it! I felt like I was writing book reports in third grade again- not something I wanted to relive. I'm glad most agents don't require the darn things!

  16. OH I feel your pain. Fun post! Story #1 was a pantser, and I've never had more fun in life than when I was writing that story. But when my publisher picked it up, they basically said it wandered and floundered and they'd offer me a contract only if I agreed it needed a lot of work. So I got my hands on as many plot books as I could and killed 30k words!!! The plot is much better now. Then I discovered Larry Brooks' Story Structure Architect (free) online, and it's the most amazing thing I've ever found. So I applied this baby with story #2 and there is no way I will ever have to cut 30k words. I just need to add some things now.

    But I hear you!! There is NOTHING better than pantsing. !!!

  17. I'm a pantser too! Synopses stink!

  18. As you know, I'm a recent convert to outlining, but I'm still totally disorganised (if that's possible!).

    I like to think that I'm the best of both worlds.

  19. I can understand your pains! I had to write a 1-page synopsis once, and it was terrible. I started the first paragraph with great momentum, and then it was all downhill from there. I don't mind outlining, but writing a synopsis... Terrible. I plan to query all the agents who don't require a synopsis.

  20. The same thing happened with all my college papers. I always had the plan to organize, but then it would be the night before the paper was due and I would simply scramble and get an A. I know plans for writing are good for me and that I can organize and plan really well, but I always end up changing things around anyway and I work best under pressure. Now, I do a mixture of planning and winging it.

  21. Pantser! I do a plot outline in my head with just the main scenes for the beginning, middle, and end, and then just put the interim scenes together on the computer from there! Although I was a total outliner in college, but for writing novels the seat of my pants approach seems to work best for me!

  22. I'm definitely a combination of both.

    I did all of my papers, homework and studying the night before they were due. And today some of my best writing and ideas come in the spur of the moment.

    BUT I also need to know, in my head, the general direction something's going. Are the hero and heroine going to get together? Is the villain going to die, or live to fight another day? Where will the eipc battle take place? I need the general information in my head or the things I write have no structure and just sort of ramble on.

    Now go get that synopsis done. You can do it!

  23. Confirmed wing-it Pantser.

    I'd like to torch my third draft of revisions right now. Do some kind of sacred death dance around the flames. I'm in revision hell, knotted up and tangled in plot lines.

    (of course, outliners would tell me that if I had plotted an outline I wouldn't be all snared right now. They'd probably be right)

  24. Great post!!

    I've always been a panster--but was recently forced to switch to outlining. I spent nine months doing my "seat of the pants thing" and then ended up deleting 90% of what I wrote because I'd sent my word count through the roof.

    So, I reluctantly tried an outline. Of course, even my outline is too damn long, but at least I can pick what scenes to cut BEFORE I spend months writing them. Probably a better idea...

    Love your blog btw, I discovered it through Kelly's blogfest. I'm Callie, another aspiring YA author. Nice to "meet" you.

  25. I'm not a pantser, and yet, even i'm not looking forward to writing a synopsis

  26. Pantser first draft. Outliner second draft.

  27. What an eye catching post. Hehe..You can borrow my hubbys lighter

  28. I despise synopses too, but I love to outline. So I'm not much of a pantser, my fingers begin to itch too much for that outline paper.

    I'm so glad I found your blog--it's awesome!

  29. That is hilarious Karen. Have you seen that clip with Will Farrell called "Cool guys don't look at explosions," you should google it.

  30. Pyro dreams are fine, so long as they don't involve puppies or any fluffy animals.

    As for me, I'm have a general outline that I plug basic information into, but it's more or less a tool for me to hone my idea into a real idea for a novel. Once I have the basic elements plugged in, then I write by the seat of my pants. LOL

  31. Have I ever said that I like the name of your blog - so whimsical. I'm an outliner, but writing a synopsis or query really intimidates me. I love the idea of sending it off in a blaze of glory.

  32. Just finished mine. And wanted to slit my wrists. Or someone's wrists anyway. But you can do it!!! I know you can. I also am working on the synopses for the sequel, and I have to tell you, way easier to do it before the story starts--which is really weird because I am a pantser all the way. Good luck, chica. I'm rooting for you.

    By the way, left an award for you at my blog ;)

  33. In college I wrote my papers the night before too - I'm sure they weren't all A's, but they were passing!

    I think I'd be a combo - pantser and organizer. I haven't done a synopsis yet, but I have a feeling... Love the pic! Good Luck with it ;o)

  34. I used to use vague outlines or just writing where the story took me. Then, an agent actually did request a synopsis, and I spent the next few days struggling to get one together and finding someone to critique it for me. Now, I try to always have something that I can cobble together quickly because should that agent call, I don't want to keep him/her waiting.

  35. Pantser, wrote my best stuff last minute! I am married to military man(Navy) who wants organized. I am creative and I can find anything you ask, even though you think it would be lost in a sea of paper. I wrote most of my college papers night before, A's; I think this feeds into
    my bouts of procrastination. Great post~
    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  36. Definitely a panster! I write all my stuff last minute and always get A's and even A+'s. If I plan, it doesn't come out right. But then, I greatly dislike writing nonfiction so I always through a little something into the mix. Sometimes I have to sit back and laugh at my teachers; they see my crappy stuff, like it, and give it an A. If they read part of my book, they might be blown away (no, I'm not completely full of myself, I just know that some of those papers were complete BS.)

    As for planning... like I said, almost never. If I have an idea I write it down quick in a sort of internal letter to myself or journal entry. That usually works, and it's vague enough that I can build on it as much as I want. The journal entry is usually not more than two sentences! *lol*


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