I heard a writer talking about pantsing a story. What does that mean?


1 Answer 1


"Pantsing" refers to simply writing a story without much, if any, preparation or pre-writing -- just writing down whatever comes to you, and letting the story go (and wander) wherever it feels like at the moment you're writing it down.

As for etymology, I'm not sure where it comes from. In general, "pantsing" refers to a prank in which you pull someone's pants down, but I'm not sure how that plays into the idea of writing (aside from the fact that both can be surprising).

  • 13
    It probably has something to do with riding "on the seat of your pants"
    – StrixVaria
    Commented Nov 18, 2010 at 20:58
  • 4
    Pantsing refers to seat of your pants writing, just as mipadi said. I asked the question to put it out there. ;-) Commented Nov 18, 2010 at 21:15
  • 3
    @StrixVaria - "flying by the seat of your pants" maybe? That's the way I've only ever heard it Commented Dec 6, 2011 at 10:35

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