In my recent talks to various groups about my book I have explained how I wrote my novel Lost on the Prairie in pantster fashion. A pantser is someone who writes in a way ‘by the seat of their pants’. They just start writing and discover as they go what will happen to their characters.
A plotter has their entire book planned before they begin writing it. They know what will happen to their character in each chapter or scene of the book and they plot that out with a story line graph or charts or a myriad of notecards with different scenes and events on them.
I had the general idea for my novel before I started to write it. I knew a boy would be lost- have adventures- and then would be found. But that was it.
One day I simply sat down and started writing the first chapter of my book. My book is historical fiction so often when I was researching a certain place I’d get ideas for what the next event in my book would be. It was kind of exciting to discover what direction my story would take next. On the other hand it sometimes led me to places where I got stuck and I had to wait for inspiration, look for inspiration or ask others what to do.
There are advantages to being both a plotter and a pantster. And truth be told I think most writers are a little of both. A plantster perhaps?