And can I just say I hate the term "pantser?" My Mac hates it, too. It keeps trying to change it into panther. That's a much cooler thing to be. So instead of plotters and pantsers, let's call them plodders and panthers and move on from there. :P
Plodders are the people who write detailed outlines of how an entire novel should take shape before they actually start writing it. Panthers are those who simply sit down and write with no idea where they're going, "by the seat of their panths" as it were.
Anyway, I do try to outline a book before I start writing it. The first novel I wrote had no outline and it turned into a train wreck. No, it was too far from any tracks to be a train wreck. It was like if you took a train and dropped it in the middle of a lake.
The second book, well, I tried to write an outline but I got it all completely wrong and doomed the book from the very start.
The third one I thought and thought about for a long time, wrote an outline, and then did what I'm doing on my current project, which is this:
I write a chapter. If it's good, and my wife also thinks it's good, I figure out what I want to have happen next. Then I think about the next scene or chapter for at least twenty-four hours and sometimes several days. I don't usually write anything down, I just figure out where I want to start, what drives the chapter forward, and exactly what I want to have happen.
Then I sit down and write that chapter based on thoughts that are fresh in my mind. Sometimes, like happened yesterday, a character will say or do something that's not quite what I intended but seems better anyway. Yesterday, this ended the chapter earlier than I thought, but it was good. And Ammii agreed. So I'm on to the next chapter.
I still have my very bare outline, but it's really more of a road sign than a map. I know where I'm going, but how I'll get there is still very much up in the air. I take it one scene at a time.
And isn't that what it means to be a panther?
(This post could show up in some completely inapplicable Google searches.)