Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Shadow Path P.L Blair - Blog Tour

Please welcome P.L Blair to the blog :

Writing By the Seat of Your Pants
By P.L. Blair

Fiction writers seem to fall into two camps – plotters and pantsers.
Plotters are the ones who make meticulous outlines, planning their books from start to finish before they ever type “Chapter 1” on a page. Some even keep statistics for their characters on those 3-by-5 notecards – information on things like the character's name … where he/she fits into the story … hero or villain ...
Pantsers are the ones who just sit down and start writing.
I fit into that second category. At heart, I think, all writers are storytellers, and each of us gravitates to the process that helps us tell our stories most easily.
I've occasionally wished I was more of a plotter. In some ways, it seems the easier path … everything laid out all nice and neat, a little map that would show me exactly where I'm going, so I could get from Point A to Point B by a direct route instead of wandering all over the landscape …
But plotting doesn't work for me. I've tried it, and I either get bogged down in the middle, without a clue as to what will happen next, or I get bored and abandon the WIP before it even becomes a WIP.
What works best for me is simply sitting down and growing the plot – organically, the way you grow a garden. Drop the seeds in the ground, and see what comes up. I like to watch the plot evolve from my characters' actions.
“Pantsing” does hold hazards. Without an outline as guide, it's easier to lose track of where the plot is going … to forget about characters you've introduced – or introduce them again … easier to either forget key elements or repeat them unnecessarily …
I keep what I call my “running outline,” a log/list of plot elements I've introduced, twists that I either have or plan to introduce, characters that can become significant later on – basically anything that I don't want to lose track of.
The payoff, for me, is that … I'm the first person that I tell my story to, and it feels fresh and spontaneous. In some ways, it feels very much like watching a movie play out in my head.
I do admire those who plan out their books in advance. I'm just not one of them.
And that's okay, too. We all have our styles, as individual as we ourselves are. That's the beauty of writing: There really is no “right” way or “wrong” way, there's just the way that works best for each of us.

About the Author
A native of Tyler, Texas, P.L. Blair spent nearly 30 years as a full-time newspaper reporter before writing Shadow Path, book 1 in her Portals fantasy/detective series. Now semi-retired – and still writing (part-time) for a newspaper in South Texas – Blair divides her year between Sheridan and Rockport, Texas, where she has family. She is companion to two basset hounds, a long-haired dachshund and a cat – all rescues. She writes a regular column and is a book reviewer for, and writes occasional articles for the Wyoming Business Journal.

P.L. Blair can also be found at the following places on the web:

The Shadow Path book trailer is also available on YouTube:


  1. Hi P.L. I'm a pantser too.

    Arthur Levine

  2. Hi P.L.

    I love your analysis. I read an article in Vanity Fair about Joseph Heller and the way he wrote Catch 22. He used outlines and more outlines.

    My writing style is similar to yours. I know where I want to go, however, how I get there is where I find my story. Along the way I'll often stop to look at something interesting (usually the result of a question I ask myself) and I discover more of the path.

    I imagine there are more outliners than not. I'm not one and it's good to know there are others like me. Thanks for sharing this.


  3. Marjorie and Arthur ... Thanks for stopping by. And sharing your own thoughts. I do love the spontaneity of "pantsing," and I like your analogy, Marjorie, of "the path" ...
    I've occasionally wondered whether a poll of writers would reveal more pantsers than plotters - or the other way around.

  4. Good luck to you P.L. Enjoy the ride!

  5. Hi, R.C.! Thanks for stopping by!

  6. I like an in-between method myself--I have an idea of the beginning, middle, end, and two plot turning points. But the surprises still come fast and furious. Thanks for sharing your process, PL!