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THE PANTSTER'S UNDERPANTS:| How To Write Like A Pantster | How Pantsters Do It | Why You Should

The age-old debate…to wear pants, or not to wear pants? Oh, that’s not the debate…? Maybe it’s…to outline or not to outline (but that just sounds SO much less curious.)

What is a pantster? A writer who scripts stories by the seat of their pants without any clear thought as to what’s going to happen from scene to scene. They don’t outline. Like, at ALL.

HOW in the WORLD do they do that? I couldn’t write a WORD if I didn’t have a clear, chapter by chapter outline mapped out in advance!

Just kidding. I’m a pantster.

Come over and take a peek at the pantster's underpants…


You take a scene. Any scene. The scene I chose is my characters reacting to the technology of a toilet for the first time (in a fantasy setting.) I knew I wanted to have this scene, and have it be funny, but other than those 2 desires I had no other direction of which to make this a complete scene.

Meta-physically stand in your story. This scene I chose is set in a fantasy setting inn. I’m meta-physically standing in this inn. I look around this inn, trying to decide how my characters discover there’s a toilet in the inn, a technology of which is new and that which they will find strange. How to do that? This part is easy. My character asks the inn host where the outhouse is.


Rubbing both eyes and smacking his lips still greasy from the hot meal, he stood. “Gotta empty the bowels,” he said, patting his stomach, and weaved among the patrons in the room who filled up every chair and table, several of them hooded, keeping their heads down.

Sciath scrapped a fingernail into the wood. Clothes finally dried, his eyes drooped in half-sleep. They’d spent the rest of their money on dinner. There was no telling where they would sleep tonight.

Radak was currently in the company of Andrast’s Lord. According to the inn host, Radak had rented a room in this very inn for tonight and would be returning to it before the gas lamps dimmed.

Talon would follow Radak invisible to his room, sneak inside with him, discover what he’d done to their friends somehow, and leave without anyone ever knowing the how, why, or who.

That was the easy part. The hard part would be then getting to Malandore to rescue–

Talon ran back to their table, breathless. “Alamarr, you have to come see this!”

“See what?”

“This inn has a toilet.”

“A what?”

“A porcelain seat you sit on to empty your bowels. It flushes. Inn host called it a toilet.”

“Flushes? What does that even mean?”

“Come look.” Talon tugged on Alamarr’s sleeve until Alamarr relented and followed him.


Alright, so my characters have discovered this toilet. I STILL want this scene to be funny, and I still have no idea how to go about doing it. It’s exactly like this: you won’t know what the inside of Starbucks looks like until you GO there and LOOK around. So I meta-physically follow my characters to the toilet so I can see what they see.


Right, so I’m looking over Alamarr’s shoulder as the three men stare at the toilet. This is what they – and I – see:


Sciath followed Alamarr to a tiny closet, almost not wide enough to fit Sciath’s broad shoulders. He looked down at a white porcelain seat with a massive bowel filled with water in the center, the bowel narrowing at the bottom into a narrow funnel which disappeared.