The Creativity Project: From Pantser to Plotter

Dawn Dalton
2 min readMay 21, 2024

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My journey to organizing myself

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

If you had asked me a couple of years ago, I would have proudly proclaimed that I was a pantser. I didn’t outline my books. I enjoyed the exploration of the story.

I also only finished one book. In high school. And haven’t finished anything for years after.

Until I found the book, Romancing the Beat. This is the first writing book that I felt helped explain the way to write a romance novel.

Now don’t get me wrong. I love the whole theory of the hero’s journey, and I can see where parts of it intersect with the beat sheet for romance novels now, but it never really resonated with the stories I was telling.

Once I read the book, something just clicked in my head. I managed to finish my first book in years and I learned so much from the process. Now, I plot my novels as part of my process.

That doesn’t mean that I start with plotting. I still have a period of discovery before I settle into plotting and drafting my novels. While not everything I write during the discovery phase will make it to my final novel, I feel like it helps me get to know my characters a little bit better.

What long held belief do you have that you’ve challenged to find out the opposite is true? Let me know!

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Dawn Dalton

Dawn is a freelance writer, gamer girl, aspiring author, and former manager of a game/ comic store. She can be found lurking on Twitter @theDawnDalton.