Lost at Sea


I’ve always been jealous of writers who could think about a story then sit down and write it. You know, no plotting out red herrings and unrelated secrets, no writing up long and complicated character statements, just thinking about a story then sitting down and writing it.

Some time last year I read a fabulous profile of Lee Child. If you haven’t seen it, I recommend it. You can access it here. Child is very much a “pantser” — he doesn’t plot out his books in advance. He says in the article that when he ends one chapter, he doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.


Our very own Janis Patterson, fellow Lady of Mystery, wrote something similar on her blog last week. How exciting! To play out a story in your head as you write it. I can see why these writers’ books are exciting, thrilling, fun to read.

Me? I’ve got note cards, Word docs, downloaded files. I use Scrivener and all the complex tools it offers to organize and reorganize your plot. (As an aside, I recommend Scrivener for all writers who, like me, benefit from the help of plotting tools).

As many of you know, I’m working on book 5 in the Adam Kaminski mystery series. This time, after doing some preliminary plotting, I thought, why not? Let’s give it a try. What’s the worst that could happen?


Yeah. That.

Needless to say, I had to go back. Re-plot. Re-organize. Redevelop and rename characters.


The sitting down and writing experience, as glorious as it sounds, is just not for me. At least now I know. When you’re a plotter, embrace it!

Jane Gorman’s books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other retailers.

Learn more at her website, JaneGorman.com.

7 thoughts on “Lost at Sea

  1. I’m a plotter too. I started “pantsing” my fourth book but at page 50 I had to throw out much of what I had and start over. My new WIP is at a point where I need to stop and work out the rest of the plot before I go forward. Outlines also help me write when I’m tired–I don’t have to think about what to write because I already know where I’m going. Thanks for the post! Plotters unite!


  2. Jane, I do a little of both. I know my main characters for a story, where it will start, where it will end, and a couple of turning points, but the rest comes to me as I write, including making of the small bit characters and the even some of the red herrings that I hadn’t thought of before hand. It is amazing how each writer executes the way in which they write a story. Good post!

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  3. Great illustrations. I’m revising a book I totally “pantsed” and I’m stunned that it has a pretty tight plot. In fact, that’s the problem. Everything is woven into everything else. And yet it’s too long, even for me. Maybe I should plot and see if my ship sinks or floats. That can be my adventure for the next book.


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