by thefourpartland

This is the second post in a series about the process of writing. Each week, I will discuss one aspect with a Pantser, while I’ll provide my (a Plotter’s) point of view. For those who don’t know the terms, a Pantser is an author who writes more or less without a plan, while a Plotter is someone who lays everything out before starting work. As with most things in life, there’s a spectrum between the two. Personally, I plot everything over about 10k words in length. Under that, I freewrite. Mandy Ward, my guest author this week, is mostly a Pantser, as she’ll explain shortly.

This week’s topic is Distraction, or just how much those new ideas can drag us off course in a story. Read on to see how one of those crazy Pantser people does it, and then follow the link at the bottom to see my response.

I have been both a Plotter and a Pantser. When I started out on the steep climb of the Writing Path, I read every single creative writing book I could get my hands on… and as the accepted way to build stories in the Fantasy Genre (my favourite one) is to build a whole world before you even touch the first chapter / prologue, I did just that.

For two whole years, I built my world and plotted my story out, each chapter receiving a short paragraph of what was going to happen in it.


What no one mentioned in those writing books is that all that plotting and building is useless when you start actually writing the story!


What does this have to do with distraction?

I’m glad you asked. You see I just demonstrated the answer to the question I was asked, when I was asked to write this blog post. It’s an interesting question to be asked actually…


Quit rambling. Get to the point!


What point do you want me to get to? I could continue with the story about me writing my first (ill-fated) novel, I could continue my line of thought about why the question is interesting, or I could go off on a completely different tangent!


You’re doing it deliberately now. Go back to the beginning. What was the question that you were asked to answer for this post?

Hmm? What? Oh, sorry, yes… that’s what I was doing… I got slightly distracted for a moment or two there. Y’see. I’m currently multitasking and I was taken away from the computer to start dinner, do a load of washing and finish the row I was on. I’m currently typing one handed… excuse me a second…

Okay then. Where was I?

The question I’d been asked to answer was “How easy are you to distract to another project?” from the Pantser point of view.

*looks back at the previous 300 odd words and grins*

The answer is: I’m an easily distracted person anyway.

All sorts of things distract me and having more than one muse doesn’t help. When I’m supposed to be writing, my crafting muse will kick in and suggest a project for knitting or making jewellery. When I’m trying to finish a knitting project, I’ll get a story idea screamed at me by my writing muse.

I’m a little like a pinball in that respect. I hurtle from project to project without much in the way of a plan.

And that’s where my initial start point came from… I started out in writing being a Plotter and that helped a lot with my focus in the beginning phases of building a world and a story, but as soon as I started writing, the story caught me up and I became a Pantser.

Therefore, that’s where I stayed. Happily in fact.

Oh, I’ll write with an idea of where I’m going in my head and for a while the story will flow along well, but then an idea for something completely different will poke its nose in and I absolutely have to get the idea down in a rough format.

I have eleven WIP now, and I’m not even counting the number of short stories I’ve started and not finished…


One of these is a five book series, which a publisher has contracted me for. Wisely, my Editor has reassured me that I don’t have a specific deadline to finish the series in (See how well she knows me!)

I am collaborating on a children’s book series that is being self-published. The illustrator (who also knows how I work) prods me to do stuff every so often, in an effort to get things moving.

I have another YA Series which is far from being in a publishable state and a SF/Fantasy novel which has ground to a halt, a paranormal series that isn’t close to being ready (but has interest from a publisher) yet I can’t work on Paranormal while I’m writing Sword & Sorcery…


So in answer to the question – “How easy are you to distract to another project?”

I would say that I’m very easy to distract, it’s getting me to focus that is the hard part!

 Click here to see my response


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