Pros and Cons of Being a Pantser

Last week, we talked about the pros and cons of being a plotter. What about pantsers? What exactly is a pantser? It’s a writer who writes “by the seat of her pants”. She doesn’t plot. She doesn’t plan. She simply writes and lets the story and characters take her where they want to go. Sound fun? Well, it can be, but as with all good things, there are pros and cons to this writing method, too. Let’s take a peek.


-You have the freedom to write what you want to write, without worrying about where the story will take you. You can watch the story unfold naturally.
-You get right to the writing, without wasting time plotting.
-You might have an idea where the story will start and finish, but you don’t have to plot out every scene or chapter.
-You won’t get lost in research, because you don’t do much of it (if any) before you start writing.
-Your novel may take you in a different direction, one you hadn’t anticipated.


-You may have a lot of editing ahead of you, because of inconsistencies in the story, plot holes, underdeveloped characters, or the plot has stayed too far from the main idea.
-The time you saved by not plotting could be used up in additional editing.
-You may experience writer’s block, because you haven’t planned what will happen next.
-Your characters may not have fully developed GMCs (goals, motivations, conflicts) or their GMCs may not be throughout the novel.
-You may have to cut some of your “baby” as some scenes and chapters may not really be relevant to the story (as much as they sounded great as you first wrote them).

As I mentioned in my last post, there is no right or wrong way to write. In fact, many writers do a combination of plotting and writing by the seat of their pants. If one method isn’t working for you, try the other. You may be surprised. Some of my writing coaching clients have discovered they thought they were pantsers but are actually more comfortable plotting and vice versa.

Find what works for you.

Can you add to the pros and cons list? Have you tried plotting and writing by the seat of your pants? Which do you prefer and why?

Lynnette Labelle

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