Planner or Pantser? – Defining the Difference for a New Writer

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

I can honestly say as a new writer, I had no idea what a ‘pantser’ was until a few weeks ago when I joined various writing groups on Facebook. Below I have outlined the difference between planner and pantser.


You would be considered a ‘planner’ in the writing world if you take time to outline/plan your writing. This involves everything from the plot development, timeline and character development. Having a solid idea of what your writing is about, how you want to start it off, how it develops in the middle and knowing how it is going to end. Likewise, planning out your characters, what they are like in terms of appearance, their personality and any hidden mysteries within their life.


As I started to write this blog, I didn’t know the official definition of ‘pantser’ until I searched online. The results gave a definition of “someone who flies by the seat of their pants”, which I think makes the term all the more humorous. Pantsers generally do very little in the way of planning their writing, and sometimes do no planning at all. They simply write and see where their writing takes them.

What am I?

As a new writer, I didn’t know much about how to plan a novel. I didn’t how to go about character development or plot development; I had a general idea in my head that I wanted to write a romance novel, with a vague idea of what the characters would be like and what sort of setting I would base it in. I guess that makes me a pantser.  

When you are a new writer, you tend to search online for a lot of information, and like me, maybe join a few support groups on social media. One thing that comes across a lot, is to write about what you know. For me, that means basing the settings on places I have been, same with characters and somewhat basing them on people I have met; but in order for it to be fiction, I mash aspects of settings together, and character traits together to create a fictional world. Sometimes this influence comes from characters I have watched on TV series and films, influence surrounds us.

Planner or Pantser? Why not leave a comment on social media pages, letting us know which you are.