non outliner seeking help and support

Forums Fiction Plotting non outliner seeking help and support

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    So I am a new writer, sort of. I know I don’t like outlining at all. For all of the plotters here, I don’t mean to offend but I seriously don’t. Also, no, I really would rather not try again I don’t think and don’t want to be converted.

    I guess I am looking for others like me and if they have any advice on finishing a draft. So far I am doing it by editing as I go, but I know a lot of writers say not to do that. I try writing a messy first draft but I don’t know why I can’t do it. So can anyone help me?

    Someone please reach out. I could use some more friends.

    Jodi Janz

    Hi Kayla,

    Writing a full length novel is a huge feat. I am a panster myself, but have studied plotting extensively to help me be more intuitive in my writing.  One of the main reasons people say not to edit as you go is because the editor part of your brain is different than the creative side. It becomes very disjointed to move between the two.

    One technique you could try is to write creatively until you are done for that day. Close the document -DO NOT edit it. Then the next time you sit down to write, read what you wrote last time,  make small edits and adjustments, then open a new page – (even a new document to help keep the two very separate in your brain) and write creatively until you are done for that day. Close the document.

    Then repeat the process. It may help you get further into the story without stopping to backtrack.

    I hope this helps inspire you a little. You will find your way (your own process) the more you write. So keep writing Kayla!

    Let me know if this helped or if you might need other ideas. 😉


    Thank you. Have you ever published novels as a pantser?

    Arindown (Gracie)


    Heeyyyloo! *waves!

    I know I’m a little late to the conversation, but I just wanted to say hi anyway and tell you that you are not alone. XD

    I am NOT an outliner at all. I prefer to just jump in and see where the story takes me. I have not officially finished a manuscript, but I have over 80k on one and I’m planning to finish it. I think the biggest thing for finishing a draft is grit. You have to make yourself do it. I hate hearing myself say that, because I wish there was an easier way, but I think the secret is plain hard work and a dash of stubbornness. XD

    I don’t edit as I go. First, because sometimes when you edit too soon you don’t see the full potential of what you wrote. Sometimes I will write and think it’s trash and want to delete it, but usually if I wait a few weeks I can come back and go “Ohh, that was a really good line,” or “I like that part, even if it needs a little polishing.” Especially as a panster, the writing is usually best “in the moment” even if I don’t see that until later.

    The second reason I don’t edit as I go is because it can become frustrating because I can’t finish anything. I’ll get stuck on a certain scene and not move forward because it’s “not right yet.” I find that if I force myself to overlook the mistakes and keep going I can come back later and make the adjustments I need to. Even better, sometimes something comes up later in the story that fixes the “hole” I couldn’t figure out.

    My advice is to keep doing what you do. Enjoy the process.

    "If I'm gonna break, I'll break like the dawn." -Nightbirde

    Kite Ayoul


    I’m brand new here, and since Gracie jumped in to revive this conversation, I thought I’d do so as well.

    I’m a pantser who corrects and marks-up as I write. (I have just started recently trying some outline-first fiction writing, but so far I don’t have any completed fiction manuscripts with that approach. For non-fic I write a chapter-level book outline but pants it within the chapters.)  As others have said, the reason people discourage editing as you go is to prevent yourself from bogging down. Therefore, if you’re doing fine rolling along, don’t let that “rule” bog *you* down. :-).

    I have a rule that I never, ever, leave a caught *error* uncorrected (spelling, punctuation, clarity, etc.), because I never want to risk that same error slipping through proofreading down the road.  So whenever I reread, I always fix any typos, factual errors (such as – the character’s eyes were green earlier but suddenly they are brown??), or phrasing problems.  That doesn’t slow me down at all.

    I also mark up notes to myself on developmental edits.  So I might insert a comment like ADD SENSORY DETAILS (I do this a lot – my first drafts tend to be *very* spare) or MOVE THIS TO EARLIER but without necessarily making the change then and there, since editing takes a different kind of concentration.  I’ll do editing stuff when I’m in that mental mode.

    I would not worry too much about different “rules” about writing processes. If you are humming along with your writing and making good progress, then keep doing what you are doing.  If you start to bog down, then revisit your methods and see if there is something you can change to help yourself get moving again.


    {FWIW (since you asked someone else above) my regular day job involves non-fiction writing and editing within my profession; I’ve done a little bit of fiction editing for private clients here and there over the years as a side thing.  In my personal life I have completed many, many still-unpublished fiction manuscript drafts (I am not especially productive, just old, ha) purely as a hobby for my own entertainment, and am currently working, in my slow and chaotic fashion, on getting the most-ready ones self-published.  The reason for self-pub, and for pushing off publishing the fiction at all for this long, is because I do too much writing as *work* in my daily life and made the decision many years ago that I would keep my fiction as my happy place that was purely fun and catharsis and not a job.}

    Upper Crust of the People of Walmart
    Life Verse: Proverbs 27:14
    (Seriously. Try it sometime. Please.)

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