In this episode of Plotting for Pantsers, Troy Lambert talks to self-published dark fantasy romance author Zoey Indiana about ‘discovery writing’ or ‘post plotting’, defined by Zoey as “letting my characters run around and drive me crazy for a couple of chapters and then mapping it and making sure they’re [the characters] are not going too crazy”.

Zoey advises writers who struggle to plot or who prefer to plot intuitively to spend some time studying story structure (Zoey spent a year doing this before trusting her characters to run around on their own). After that, she urges writers to “pants everything! Because there is nothing wrong with being a pantser!”.

As Troy and Zoey explore her Plottr account, she discusses how she uses the platform. Instead of using Plottr to plan her novels, she uses the scene cards to summarise the chapter she has written, adding information such as where she has included specific romance tropes and key moments of exposition or world-building throughout her narrative. Zoey fills in the scene cards as part of her editing process, ensuring that there are no plot holes in her story by using this technique and giving herself more freedom to manipulate the narrative without worrying she has to reach specific plot points if her characters are still ‘running around’.

This is an excellent video for anyone who prefers to ‘see where their characters want to go’ instead of sticking to a structured, pre-planned plot. Intuitive plotting, or ‘pantsing’ your plot, can allow more freedom; it takes away the pressure of feeling like you have to plan an entire novel in one go and can also feel less restrictive if you also like to allow your characters to roam a little (or a lot) within your plot and as Zoey demonstrates, Plottr can help you plug any plot holes once your characters have finished running around and driving you crazy!

Sign up for Plottr below!