Thursday, September 2, 2010

If It Gets the Job Done...

As a new writer, you might have started out as a panster, but when you wrote your second and third book you decided plotting and outlining your stories worked better for you.

I’ve found I’m a little of both. When I wrote my historical time travels, I researched the time period. This also helped me decide some of the plot points I wanted to add to my story. Even with my paranormal romances, there’s a background story. You can’t have your characters popping into the world, make believe or not, without giving some insight to where they’ve been. Moon Shifter is about werewolves. I researched the legends and decided my werewolves would be more like the traditional Irish werewolves. In my Fallen Angels series, the Fallen are the Watchers mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls’, the Book of Enoch.

I also like to have the names of my hero and heroine before I write. I’ll jot down in a notebook what they look like and if they have any habits, etc. This goes for the secondary characters as well. So in this sense, I am a plotter.

I’m more a panster when it comes to writing the story. I do have an idea where I want to go with the story, but sometimes my characters have another idea and things begin to take another route. I just go with the flow. I may write the first few chapters of the book then have an idea for the middle of the story or have a great last scene in mind and have to let my fingers fly over the keyboard to type it out. Even characters have a habit of showing up and introducing themselves. I just add them to the notebook. I use “sticky note pads” to scribble down a few lines here and there as they come to me. These usually turn out to be full-fledged scenes. It’s rare for me to write from beginning to end.

There is nothing wrong with being a plotter, a panster or a little of both if it gets the job done. Just be true to yourself.

If you would like to know more about my paranormal tales, visit me at:

I'd love to hear from you.


  1. Hi Karen:
    Love your books so if being part panster, part plotter works for you, I'm willing to try it.

  2. Hi Karen,

    I really enjoyed this post.

    I think I work like this too. I have a rough plot to begin with then I let the characters take me in their own direction.

  3. Carol,

    You so sweet. Thanks for coming by. Love your books, too. :)

  4. Hi Dee,

    I believe you have to go with what works for you. The muse is very bossy that way. lol Thanks for stopping by.

  5. I'm like you described: pantser when I first started writing, and now trying to be more of a plotter. I'm hoping this will help me write faster.

    Thanks for a great post.

  6. Hi Rebecca,

    Write faster---wouldn't that be fantastic!Thanks for stopping by.

  7. I'm a little of both too, Karen. I also like traditional legends. Be it vampires like I write or your werewolves. I think if you stray too far from the legends people know and love, you run the risk of some readers not tagging along for the ride. But it's also fun to add a new detail or debunk an old legend for the sake of your story. Like you said, "Just be true to yourself."

    I couldn't agree more.

  8. I do hours of research, writing both contemporary police procedurals and historical novels, I'd say at least 50% of my writing time is spent on research. But once I begin writing I don't plot, nor do I do character bios. I use the knowledge I've dug up to build the story. At that point I let the characters tell the story.

  9. Lilly,

    So true about the legends, but it's always fun to put a new spin on them.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  10. P.A.

    Don't you just love that your characters aren't too shy to tell their story. :)

    Thanks for sharing.