There are two trains of thought when it comes to writing – Planning and Pantsing. The former involves writing outlines and breaking down all the elements of a story before putting pen to paper to begin the first draft. The latter involves flying by the seat of your pants and making things up as you go along.
Stephen King is a big proponent of the pantsing method. He likes to discover his stories like they were artifacts.
In his book On Writing, he states, “…knowing the story wasn’t necessary for me to begin work. I had located the fossil. The rest, I knew, would consist of careful excavation.”
I love to write this way too. I have an idea of where I want to go but I never have the ending written in stone. I discover it along the way.
The best advertisement for pantsing that I can think of is Breaking Bad.
Breaking Bad is quite simply brilliant television. I just finished watching the final episode and the bonus content from the DVD.
Creator, writer, director, and show runner, Vince Gilligan explains how he is a big proponent for pantsing and how it paid off in the final scene of his epic series.
Warning: Spoiler Alert – If you haven’t seen this series, do yourself a favour and buy the DVDs, rent or borrow them from your local library. You’ll be glad you did. This is compelling television that is so well-written, performed, and produced that you will be glued to your television.
I cut up this “Making Of” featurette from the DVD just to show you how the creator of Breaking Bad is a pantser and how this method of writing is just as, if not more, effective as planning and outlining.
Enjoy and happy writing!