How to Map Your Plot as a Pantser

Outlines Aren’t For Everyone

There are probably a million blog posts about how to map out your plot in lists and outlines as ways to finish your manuscript. These are all great tips for plotters. However, what about for a pantser? What’s a great way to map out your plot without being hindered by an outline? Let’s talk about it.


Step 1: Write like a pantser

Do what a pantser does best and just write. Write and write until you can’t write anymore. Once you’ve written a chapter or two, move on to the next step:

Step 2: Write a synopsis of each chapter on a note card

If you don’t have concrete chapters yet, just write a synopsis of every major event. Write them on note cards, post-it notes, anything that you can easily write on, keep together, then later add tape to. We’ll discuss why here in a moment. Next:

Step 3: Add tape to the note cards and find a clear wall

Find a wall that you wouldn’t mind hanging things on. Once you’ve put tape on the back of your note cards, put them up on the wall. Pro-tip: if you have access to a craft store or hardware store, you can also get velcro strips. Easier to maintain and holds things a bit better, but tape will do.


Step 4: Keep writing and keep adding to the wall

Yes, then all you have to do is keep writing and keep putting things up on the wall. As you add things to the wall, you can move things around, reorder things, see if you need to add any information to make the timeline make sense, etc.

Why is this helpful for a pantser (and really anyone)?

There are plenty of articles and posts out their for plotters, such as myself. There is also plenty of information out there for how to be more of plotter for pantsers. I wanted to share this because it’s not telling you it should be a plotter, and it’s a way to plot that won’t keep you from following your panster heart. Furthermore, it’s nice to see a physical representation of all your hard work. You can write as long as you want, you’re not beholden to an outline, but you have a way to map out what you already have written so you can better see where you can go.


Are you a pantser? Was this helpful? Please let me know, and comment below!

Thanks for reading.




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