The Pantser’s Life For Me: To Plot or Not to Plot

I began one of my books with the sentence, “All I’d said was, I wouldn’t mind seeing her in her knickers.” That was all I had – except the pantser’s abiding thought: “That sounds like an interesting book. I wonder what happens. I’d better write it, to find out.” And I did find out – but it took me 95,000 words. On the way, I’d revisited Newcastle on Tyne, the city where I grew up, I’d spent time in a Young Offenders Institution in Aylesbury, crossed America from Boston to Seattle and ended in Shrewsbury. I’d known love and lost it, found it and lost it again; I’d eaten a lovely garlicky chowder in Legal Seafoods in Boston; I’d met two men in Wyoming who shared their house with a pair of blowup dolls and the pastor of the Church of Forgiveness in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho had given me a completely unexpected meaning for the words, “making confession.” I’d seen a petty thief beaten to death and I’d watched a cop who didn’t much care whether the person he jailed was guilty just as long as he was able to close the case. And not a moment of it planned in advance. Yes, it’s the pantser’s life for me.

If you’d like to read that book, you’ll find the paperback version here and the Kindle version here.

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