By Natalie Bright

#1 A kind-hearted girl is tricked by an evil, hungry wolf

#2 A lovable beagle who doesn’t talk, but conveys philosophy on life with flamboyant imagination through thought bubbles in a comic strip.

What’s your story in one sentence?

The idea is that your story is so compelling and your characters so unique, that you can convey your brilliant plot in one sentence.

The situation becomes your one sentence story description. The problem becomes the questions that arise from your characters motivation and difficulties.

Situation: A kind-hearted girl is tricked by an evil, hungry wolf.

Problem: Should she trust her instincts?

Solution: Little Red Riding Hood outsmarts the wolf.

Natalie Bright

Pantsin’ It


Pantsin’ It

By Nandy Ekle

I have a cast of characters. I have a situation. I have a setting. I drop my characters with their situations into their setting and say, “Okay, go.” They begin to act and speak to each other and to me and the story appears.

I am a pantser, one who writes “by the seat of my pants.” Some of my best tales are those where I put my hands on the keyboard, or pick up a pen and paper, and just start to write. I usually have an opening sentence in mind, or at least an opening situation, and a vague idea of an ending. I try not to be too attached to an ending because I know that anything can happen.

And what usually does happen is magic. The zone comes down and blots out the rest of the world and I focus one hundred percent on the character. I see her face, her home, her clothes. I hear her voice and the way she speaks her words. I see through her eyes and feel everything she feels and hears. A lot of times I am as thrilled and surprised by the story as I hope my readers are.

The advantages to this are limitless. This brings an intimacy between me and my characters and I trust them when they want to go in a different direction from my plans. Also the story is more genuine than if I planned every single detail (intricate planning feels very clinical to me). My favorite aspect of “pantsing it” is the spontaneous fun and adventure I have when I write.

I had the story planned just the way it should have gone. I knew the theme of my story and I had the events in place to bring the characters to the ending I had planned. Everything was going like clockwork. As I type I watch the characters act and speak as I knew they would. Then, suddenly, one of them—the one I thought was neutral—turns to look at me with a glint in his eye. That’s when the true ending springs to life in my head. My skin prickles with goosebumps and my eyes tear up. I cry and giggle at the same time all day long.

That is why I write as a pantser.

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