Home > Holidays, Writing > On writing: I finally know what I am

On writing: I finally know what I am

December 31, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

So, that other day I was reading Lucinda Whitney’s blog post discussing my favorite writing software, Scrivener. It’s a great post, and you should go read it. But that’s not why I’m referring to it here.

There have been many discussions on writing styles and their relative merits. Those typically talked about are the “pantser” and the “plotter”, both fairly descriptive of the approach taken by an individual favoring one way or the other. As I was reading Lucinda’s post, though, I ran across a term she used to refer to her writing style, and I must admit that I like it. Check out the following excerpt:

But what I love the most about the binder is the ability to move around the chapters and scenes. As a discovery writer, I sometimes write scenes/chapters out of sequential order. If the inspiration strikes, I write it and I worry later where it goes in the story.

Did you see it? Discovery writer. What a wonderful term. To me, it seems so much more elegant than “pantser”, and seems to convey the real process of writing we non-plotters pursue.

It’s nice to finally know what I really am šŸ™‚

And since this is my last post of the year, I’d like to also wish all my blog friends a wonderful and happy new year. I’m looking forward to keeping up with everyone’s journeys over the following months. Be safe, and see you next year!


  1. December 31, 2013 at 2:18 pm


    Thank you for sharing this information. I’ve been looking for a new software to use while writing, and believe that Scrivener is the way to go. Also, you’ve introduced me to Lucinda Whitney’s blog, which is wonderful. The “Discovery Writer” is in all of us, and it’s nice to finally have a word for what I do. Keep up the fantastic work and I look forward to reading more from you in the new year!

    • January 1, 2014 at 6:49 pm

      Thanks for dropping by, Megan. Glad you’re choosing Scrivener … you’ll be happy you did. And I agree, Lucinda’s blog is great. I, too, really enjoy thinking about myself as a “discovery writer” šŸ™‚ Hope to hear from you more, and looking forward to your blog in 2014.

      • January 1, 2014 at 7:57 pm

        Thanks to this new little discovery, I’ve purchased and downloaded Scrivener and am loving it! I can’t thank you enough for the post šŸ™‚ Can’t wait to read more from you!

  2. December 31, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    Thanks so much for the nod, David! I never liked the term ‘pantser’ either. I’m pretty sure I didn’t come with ‘discovery writer’ but it made sense to me as I truly *discover* the story and the characters as I write. Happy New Year!

    • January 1, 2014 at 6:56 pm

      You’re very welcome, Lucinda. I loved your post on Scrivener *and* loved that wonderful new description of those writers like us who like to “discover” our stories. Thought it was worth passing along šŸ™‚

      Happy new year!

  3. December 31, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    I think I’m a hybrid writer. I know the plot before I start, so it’s not pure discovery, but I like to move things around and be able to add scenes– exactly why I love Scrivener.

    “Discovery writer” definitely sounds more appealing than “pantser.” That just sounds like someone who goes around pulling other people’s pants down and laughing at them.

    • January 1, 2014 at 7:04 pm

      Hi Kate – for me, I usually start with a beginning and an end in mind. From their, I being writing and “discover” where the story goes and how it finds its way to the end. Very fun … and I love doing it. And yes, Scrivener is a great tool that lets us work that way.

      From now on, I’m definitely a “discovery writer”. Your word picture on pantser made me LOL. What an image.

  4. December 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Happy New Year to you and your family, Dave! This “discovery writer” is pleased to know she’s no longer referred to as a pantser!

    • January 1, 2014 at 7:05 pm

      I know … right? No more pantser label for me, either šŸ™‚

      Happy New Year to you and your family as well, Jill.

  5. December 31, 2013 at 11:11 pm

    I’m a plodder who writes sans pants. i think that makes me a “horrible monster.”

    Happy New Year, Dave.

    • January 1, 2014 at 7:07 pm

      Ha ha ha … ok, a scary image there, Eric šŸ™‚ While I do wear pants when I write (usually), I guess I must confess that I plod as well. Trying to get better at that …

      Happy New Year, Eric!

  6. January 1, 2014 at 11:05 am

    What a perfect word for writers such as I! Seems as though I discover something every time I work on my writing projects. Happy New Year, Dave. Catch you after the holidays.

    • January 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      Yeah, it is. Right? Have a happy New Year and enjoy the holidays. See you in 2014!

  7. January 1, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    I hear so many people talking about Scrivener… when I finally get serious about my next project I’m going to need to take a look at this. I’m pretty methodical about trying to plot and plan everything as well as I can but things have a way of leaking out of my confines and doing whatever they please… which I don’t mind one bit.

    • January 1, 2014 at 10:13 pm

      You definitely should. Most people find it to really be the best writing software around, and you simply can’t beat the price.

      • January 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm

        I will wait and purchase this as a shiny new toy so that I can be uber productive whilst playing with it šŸ˜‰ In all seriousness though, I need to get this on my list and start something new. Blogging has been enough for the last few months! But I don’t want to get stuck and not move forward.

  8. January 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

    Because of you I got Scrivener, and now I’m obsessed. Thanks a lot for nothing šŸ˜‰

    • January 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      Ha ha … you crack me up. Well, you’re quite welcome for nothing. I hope you love Scrivener as much as I do. Actually, considering your recent obsessing, you probably know it better than I do now šŸ™‚

  9. January 3, 2014 at 5:33 pm

    Hey, Dave, a belated Happy New Year to you! I love “discovery writer”! That’s how I managed to survive my last two writing challenges: I wrote scenes out of sequence. It was like, if I had a scene in my head, I had to get that down even if it was likely to be in the middle of the novel. If I had forced myself to write sequentially, I never would have finished šŸ™‚

    • January 5, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Happy New Year, Marie! I hope you had a wonderful holiday. While mine was a little different this year, it was still lots of fun and we got to see all our kids except one (not bad considering we have six šŸ™‚

      I’m definitely not about writing sequentially, nor do I necessarily keep scenes in the order they were written. And I love, love, love having the ability to move scenes around whenever I want to wherever I want. I am truly a “discovery writer” … I know a beginning, and I almost always know an end, but I get to “discover” all that lies between. And that is where the fun is.

  10. January 5, 2014 at 12:28 pm

    After years as a screenwriter, I am thoroughly enjoying the freedom of being a discovery writer – while I’ll never give up planning entirely, I definitely believe that there are some developments you can only know once you get there. Happy new year!

    • January 5, 2014 at 8:47 pm

      Happy New Year, Claire! Always glad to know a fellow “discovery writer”. Like I mentioned in my reply to Marie, I have a beginning, then typically an ending, then I fire up Scrivener and discover all that my story is … and Scrivener makes that so very easy. It’s what makes writing so much fun for me.

  11. January 8, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Henceforth I too shall refer to myself as a Discovery Writer!

    • January 8, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Ha ha … cool. It’s always nice to find another who enjoys discovering as they go. Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  1. January 26, 2014 at 12:20 pm
  2. June 23, 2014 at 12:36 am

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