Home » Writing » Pantser on Fire

Pantser on Fire

Am I busy today, or what?  I have another guest on my blog today:  Ellie Mack, out of the Show-me State, who’s going to show a little bit about how she goes about her writing process.  Take it away, Ellie:



Some Kind of Voodoo

By Ellie Mack


How do you do that magic you do?  For the linear thinker, it seems impossible to create tales of the fantastic.  Do I really want to let them see inside my methodology?

Beware for here lies dragons, leviathans, lycanthropes, and other mythical beasties. Inside the realms of my imagination, entire worlds are created.  Species, subspecies, and entire races thrive and coexist, usually not in peaceful harmony.

Years of creation fostered by an early love of reading have breathed life into the dark caverns, inside the magical caves, into the crevices where no light has ever shone to reach the minuscule monsters and gigantic gorgons. Bits and pieces from good books I’ve read were filed away to later be reanimated into a transmutated form from their original creation.

The material gleaned from fiction as well as information filed from life experience combine somehow in a huge swirling cauldron. It simmers it boils, it creates troubles and toils.  Oh wait, how did Shakespeare get in here?

Translate each of the little bits into, let’s say car parts. There’s a huge junk yard of  wrecked cars, worn out cars, piles of parts, a few rats and of course a couple dogs guarding the place.  Then let’s say you set off a bomb in the middle.  Ideally, when the dust settles the parts and pieces have combined to create a sleek cherry red Ferrari, completely assembled in the middle of  the blow back area.  Set off ten more bombs, and you just get shredded parts.

To get the Ferrari, the parts all have to come together just exactly right, birthed by the creation of chaos.  OK, look;  I’m making this all up.  How do I come up with ideas?  I don’t know.  They just pop in there.

How do I tackle the ideas?  By nature I’m a pantser.  I start off on a sprint, that often turns into a marathon.  If left to my natural tendencies my project will either be abandoned when the next brilliant flash happens, or the tale will be some 250,000 words plus.  I have taken my pantsing to the next level, by applying a plotters principles.

The ideas come, a burst happens, then I evaluate.  I begin asking what ifs and working out the story.  When I come to reasonable, not always rational plot points I outline my stories.  I break them down into scenes.  I usually write complete scenes, as natural breaks are between scenes.

Back to the original question: How do you do that magic you do?   By principled pantsing, and spark juice administered in daily doses over a long time.

I know, you’re scratching your head and wondering what sort of juice I’m really on.  I’ll never tell, it’s my personal label!

How do you work your magic?  Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Write on my friends, write on!


Ellie Mack lives in a small town near St. Louis, Missouri. She graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a BS in geography/cartography. She has worked for Department of Defense, county government, as a substitute teacher, and various other jobs.  Her hobbies include reading, bicycling, playing Tombraider, and Dance games such as Dance Dance Revolution, and Zumba. Between being a mother to two teenage girls, a wife, homemaker, and a mortgage loan officer, Ellie writes paranormal romances.
Ellie’s first erotica piece is appearing on The Storytime Trysts Blog.

Ellie’s blog is found here!



2 thoughts on “Pantser on Fire

  1. Ellie Mack – you always rock my socks.

    My post this week will be on Tara Chevresett’s blog Tuesday and I came to a similar conclusion in the past year or so. A mixture of both seems to work best for me. 🙂

    Oops – that’s a spoiler. 😉

I Want to be Part of the Craziness! Let Me Say This:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s