Planning versus Pantsing

sage wolfsong planning versus pantsing title

I'm a planner in just about every area of my life, except where writing a novel is concerned. However, as I make writing more and more the center of my professional life, I definitely need a plan. My writing buddy, Allie McCormack, does a weekly Plan on her blog (click here to check it out!). I, on the other hand, plan things to death (literally sometimes), and with 12 novels in various stages of completion, I figured it was time to step up my game, and come up with a Plan of my own.

I've been struggling with Finding Home for months. I sent it off in one form to the Golden Heart competition, sponsored by the Romance Writers of America organization, and it is, more or less, somewhere close to completion. It's a source of frustration for me, though, because it's the first work that's made it far enough in the process to go out for feedback, and I can't seem to get out of the revision stage. Book two in that series has me stuck, as well, so... 

I'm giving the whole project a pause.

I'm calling back my beta readers and having them put reading on hold, indefinitely.

NaNoWriMo is coming up, and I have a standalone novel in mind, that's coming together nicely (as nicely as things do for a pantser style writer). Finding Home, Nothing Ventured and Runaway are on pause. Every manuscript teaches me something new about myself and writing, so, I'm going to use this as another learning opportunity.

In December, I'll pick Finding Home up again, revise the hell out of it based on early feedback from the betas who've responded, then let it sit while I draft Nothing Ventured (Jared's story) and Runaway (Darrin's story), in the new year. Teaser: Somewhere along the line, Jay is also going to get a short novella of his own, that I am planning as a bonus somewhere in the release stage.

I've built myself a temporary status board, so I can see what WIPs need which steps. It's color coded and in a smaller format, until we can get moved and I have a bigger office space.(more on that in another blog post!) 

sage wolfsong my wip planning board

So, here's the plan for the next few months:


  • Get all background work for Abby's Grace done 
    • Hero Interview
    • Heroine profile and interview
    • Secondary character profiles
    • Setting profiles
    • any scene notes I can come up with


  • NaNoWriMo! 
    • Draft Abby's Grace to roughly 100,000 words.
    • Review story arc and fill in any spaces that need filling


  • Re-read Finding Home (FH), annotate, start revisions
  • Review background work for Nothing Ventured (NV)
    • character interviews, profiles (both Hero and Heroine, and secondary)
    • setting profiles and world building
    • story arc and plot planning (what I originally planned just isn't panning out)
  • Review background work for Runaway (RA)
    • Story arc and plot planning
    • Character interviews and profiles (H&H and secondaries)
    • Setting profiles and world building
      • (are you breathless yet? Because I am!)


  • Draft Nothing Ventured
  • Work on FH revisions when I am not drafting NV


  • Draft RA
  • Continue FH revisions when not drafting RA


  • Finish revisions on FH
  • Reread NV, annotate
  • Reread RA, annotate

That's about as far out as I dare to plan at this point. I do have a plan written up for the next 14 months or so, and it doesn't look exactly like this, as I had planned to pick up and work on a different series. But looking at this in a more realistic light, and looking at it from the vantage point that I'd like to sell this as a series, this is a better strategy. 

Wish me luck!

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