Question of the Day: Are you a Planner or a Pantser? How did you discover this? #writing

Simple enough:  Are you a planner or a pantser?  Or a little of both?  When or how? Tell us a little more about it.

The question comes up often enough that sometimes we can’t help but roll our eyes. But understanding your own process and what works for you and how it works is probably one of those key lessons that most writers end up learning the hard way.

So…which are you?  How did you come to the realization? How would you help someone else “figure it out?” Do you just “know?”  If it is a bit of both, how do you know which to use when?  Is it all just a matter of trial and error?

For inspiration/explanation, I’ve included the descriptions/info from’s Prep pages.



You believe in rigorous preparation.

You’ll spend the months before November carefully fleshing out characters, building worlds, and plotting your story.

On November 1, you’ll have an outline—or at least lots of helpful notes


You believe in hardcore spontaneity.

You’ll spend the months before November stocking up on inspiration and mayyybe a vague idea or two (if you’re ambitious).

On November 1, you’ll have a blank document and your imagination


So, tell us who you are. Are you a planner or a pantser?

National Novel Writing Month is Almost Upon Us (#NaNoWriMo)

Are you ready?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), either you love it or you hate it.  NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing challenge. It challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. So approximately 1,667 words per day. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.  It turns what is a lonely “some day” project to a social, fun, and interactive activity.  Several NaNo novels have been edited and published. Several NaNo novels are awful but the key concept of shared creative mutually-supportive fun is one that almost everyone who participates enjoys.

According to Wikipedia:

Since 2006, roughly 100 NaNoWriMo novels have been published via traditional publishing houses. Many more have been published by smaller presses or self-published. Some notable titles include:

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, published by Doubleday
  • Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, published by Delacorte Press
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, published by St. Martin’s Press
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, published by Dutton Juvenile
  • The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, published by Del Ray Books

A pretty impressive list.

So far, the vast majority of the Cat Vacuuming Society Writing Group of Northern Virginia (say that fast 3 times) will be participating in some way.  No, not all of us can or will complete a novel, but the idea of committing the month to rededicating ourselves to writing, and using the enthusiasm of NaNoWriMo as a boost is too tempting to ignore.

Rather than just troll the Internet, I decided to go straight to the source – the NaNoWriMo website.  Below is their collection of lovely short articles for Preparing for NaNo Success.  They’re a quick read and should get everyone off to a great start.

Preparing for NaNo Success


Characters and World-Building


Plot and Conflict


So…let’s do this!  Good luck, everyone.


Video Saturday – More Khaled Hosseini (On #character, female pov, and using real events)

After earlier this month, I promised a couple more videos from author Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner , A Thousand Splendid Suns and most recently And the Mountains Echoed.  This week’s videos are more specific to writing.











Video Saturday – Becoming a #Writer: The Story of Khaled Hosseini

KhaledHossein-Elena-Seibert-228x300The Story of Khaled Hosseini. Special thanks to HECTV-St. Louis for this video.

The Kite Runner made him famous and changed his life. A Thousand Splendid Suns and his most recent book And the Mountains Echoed solidified his place among some of the most well-respected authors.

In this one on one conversation, Hosseini tells us why he avoids Hollywood endings in his novels, how he often “takes things” from people for his writing and what advice he would offer aspiring novelists.

Plus, learn about his childhood and writing inspirations. This is an in-depth, captivating interview that will have you laughing at the author’s poignant stories. Plus, hear how he answers some of his biggest fans’ questions.”

My comments are that he really is a captivating and humble man and a great interview. Actually, it was awesome enough I think you’ll find a couple of other videos of him showing up next week! Stay tuned!

Video Saturday (not quite) – Writing Advice, or more truthfully #Writing Infographic

Now THIS is a Writer’s Retreat I’d love to explore!

Writers Restreat Graphic

And once again this amazing image is brought to you by Grant Snider. (Why is it I love his stuff so much? Oh yeah, he’s brilliantly talented!)


Video Saturday – Quentin Tarantino on #Writing Dialogue

I’m going to just leave this here. :)

So, after watching that, who are your dialogue influences?

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