changesYou have the pantsers (writing by the seat of your pants) and outliners. I fall mostly into the first camp, but tried to do more outlining for this current novel.

For me, one of the things that goes along with being a pantser  is a desire to fix things as you go. Revise a sentence here, a paragraph there, and keep going.

On first read this might sound like a good idea. Get the early stuff polished and ready to go so when it’s done, you can just send it out.

Wouldn’t that be nice.

The reality for me is that much of the story I revised along the way ends up getting revised again (sometimes heavily) because the ending and its subsequent revelations mean lots of scenes need to change.

This is probably the habit I’m working hardest to adjust and it’s not easy. But when I remind myself that things are going to change so I should just keep going, I’m always happier when I heed my own advice. And if I come up with a scene I absolutely love and am not sure it will fit with the final version, I jot some notes in a separate document or may even create a new document in Scrivener and label it accordingly. I don’t want to lose these gems, but I don’t want to be bogged down by them either.

So I try to just keep going reminding myself not to mess with a sentence, phrase or paragraph right now–unless there’s a problem you have to handle. Instead, encourage forward motion–in your intention and your actions.

Are you a pantser or an outliner or something else altogether? What are the advantages and pitfalls you associate with your writing style?

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