Thursday, July 12, 2012

A pansters guide to writing ... by Tonya Kappes

Hi, my name is Tonya Kappes. I'm a panster.

If there was a twelve step program for the pansters of the writing community, I would be the leader.
I've heard it all:
*post its? Those would be everywhere. No way.
*Note cards? No way.
*I let my MUSE do the walking and talking.
*Plotting stifles me.
*My characters carry me through.
*My characters drive my story.
. . .sound familiar?

Well. . .these are examples from my own procrastination station.

And here are a few things that have helped propel that manuscript forward. It's not really plotting, but it gives you bare bones to where you will end up.

Start with your idea! Your story. You know the beginning and end. Write down the idea like you would see on a blurb or preview of a movie. As you write these down, you will get a few visuals in your head. Do they give you inspiration?
Don't lose that feeling. I grab a new notebook or journal and cut out pictures of the images in my head. The story is starting to mold, take shape, and I don't want to forget those images.
If you aren't into cutting, pasting, taping, etc... Pinterest is a GREAT new website to use when starting your idea/story. It's easy to use and takes minutes to help get your ideas in one place.

Now that you have some ideas of your setting/story/idea, are your characters beginning to talk to you? Is their story starting to take shape? Are they giving you ideas on where they want to in the plot?


I use a character worksheet to keep all my characters straight. There is nothing more aggravating than having to go back try to remember what color your protag's eyes are. If you would like a character worksheet emailed to you, email me at tonyak11(at)yahoo(dot)com and put character worksheet in the subject line. I will zip you one!

Recently, one of my critique partners came up with a fabulous idea that she has began to use in her worshops. Heather Webber is teaching character development by using an address book to keep track of your characters. HOW genius is she? VERY! Don't steal the idea unless you give her credit!
You can list your characters by name and use the page to add any plot ideas about that character, personality traits, description, anything!

With these two simple ideas, you're well on your way to getting that great story written and ready for the world to see. It's not taking away your pansting ways, or stifling your creativity, it's giving you the boost to help our ideas come to life and flourish into that great story you have within you.

What do you do to help get your pansting into a finished novel?

Check out these great websites on how to help the panster:

Remember: if you want a character development worksheet or an invite to Pinterest, email me at

AP says: Thanks for stopping by, Tonya! 

These are some great tips to help get an idea from your head to paper (or the computer ... whatever). If you have another "panster" plotting or writing tip, leave it below. The giveaway this week is an e-book by Tonya called A Charming Crime. Its a cozy mystery and we know you'll love it! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


JT Lewis said...

Great ideas Tonya! I too use a journal for each book, but I really like the Pinterest idea!

Tonya Kappes said...

Thanks, JT!

essay said...

Hey Congrats from my side Tery L....
I like your idea to write a story really..the characters, the imaginations are really the most important part of your storyline..!!

article writing said...

Wow the ides was really good and characters are very well crafted....the storyline was really an amusing one indeed :)

sales tax consulting said...

The tips are really handy ones...I love to write but there were some issues that I was struggling on before reading your ideas...I hope they will be beneficial to me in many concerns.