Outline or Pantsing?

I have spoken in previous posts about the benefits of outlining over pantsing. However, I am currently on Day 63 of 100 towards my first draft of my first ever novel.

I started off, a week before the start of the 100 days by finishing my outline of the whole novel and submitting it to the group on the WritePractice. On day 1 I started off with the confidence an outline supplies. Day after day passed and the few thousand words per weeks I was knocking out were getting critiqued.

100 days equates to 14 and a half weeks, with a Friday deadline each week for the 4500 words.

By the 6th week, I was already towards getting to the end of Act 2 and becoming ready for the shorter Act 3 finally. However, I still had 8 and a half weeks more time and words to produce. What was I going to do?

At week 6 of 14 and a half weeks, I sat back and realised I am an underwriter and not the prefered overwriter. I have been whipping through the story at a rapid pace just writing what the scene was and the dialogue that was needed. I knew where I was in the story and also knew where I wanted to be for the final scene.

So week 7 started my pantsing. I slowed everything down and went into detail about body movements and facial expressions, showing and being specific about things that were only needed for the story plot to proceed; everything else was up to the reader’s imagination to produce. From this pantsing, I have developed the story into what appears to me to be a much better style and complex narrative.

I would now say regarding outlining, it is much better for me to do a broad minimal outline with the start, middle and end. However, then leave space for my imagination to take hold of the narrative at the time I am writing it.

This is however, after all, just my own opinion.

Outline with a Pantsing Attitude

Don’t let an outline prescribe your novel’s plot rigidly – use it compliantly.
Novel plot outlines are extremely useful for giving your story a clear sense of direction and purpose. Writing a book is like heading out to an ocean in a small boat. The outline helps if you have a method and a course laid out. The same time, you need to be equipped for sea changes.
Sticking to your outline, you might ignore places where variation would make sense. Where your outline might say, your tale should go in one course while the characters (your creative intuition or Pantsing attitude) are telling you to go in another. It’s essential to treat your outline as a guide – this way you can chart the entire course of your novel while still allowing for sensible detours. Use the brainstorming and three-act structure to create a blueprint for your book.