I like to read. I am a compulsive reader and usually can't put a book down until it's finished because I just NEED to know what happens next. I have never read the end of a book before starting it ever. This is why I love pantsing.
Everyone has their own opinion this is a great post by my good friend Everett Powers on plotting (or outlining as I call it). Obviously not every one falls into the two categories neatly, some do both to varying degrees, even I do but not until I've completed my first draft.
I only ever start a book with an idea a premise and a loose plot, sometimes even just a good line like one of my neglected WIPs started with this:
I was just finishing up a case I was working on, the case was scotch and I'd nearly gotten to the bottom of it.
When I started writing that I had no clue where it was going, still don't really and I'm about 75% of my way through.
To me pantsing is kind of like the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books I loved when I was younger. You control what everyone is doing and where they will go but only when you get to a certain point and then everything works itself out from there (hopefully). The fastest way for me to lose interest in a project is to figure out how it is going to end long before I get there. If I do I quickly change direction and steer it away to some other unknown conclusion. Things pop up as I write, interesting thoughts or situations that hadn't occurred to me until that moment and if I had outlined I may have skipped over them or tried to include them in some awkward way. I'm excited to write this way, I can't wait until I find out what happens next.
In my current WIP my MC was planning to commit a murder to steer the cops away from him as a suspect for another one. Until I wrote the words
"He was surprised to return to his apartment and see four uniformed policemen and Tim standing at the door."
I had no idea they were going to be there. It wasn't outside of the realm of possibilities but it certainly threw a monkey wrench into his (my) plans for what was going to happen next. I can't wait to find out what it is and I hope that someday when you're reading it neither can you.
Just a side note. I had already finished a first draft of this WIP and outlined it then lost most of the end of the draft. I am re-writing it and guess what, I may as well throw that outline out the window because suddenly my characters aren't doing what they did last time, which is good because I already knew the old ending, now I get a new one!
How do you write and why? I'd love to know!
Thanks for Reading