Thursday, 2 August 2012

To plot or panster? Whether it is nobler in the mind to self-edit or not? -Allison Bruning

All writers have their own writing process; whether we make big charts and long sheets before we start write, or whether upon the birth of an idea we just sit and tap away at the keys letting the story carry us wherever it wants; we all write in our own way with our own process. Some of us call ourselves plotters; some of us, the ones who write by the seat of their pants, call ourselves pansters, and some of are a hybrid of the two types.
Today our guest Allison Bruning tells us which one she is and gives us a peek into her writing process.

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To plot or panster? Whether it is nobler in the mind to self-edit or not? Those are the questions running in my mind?

               Alright so I took some liberties with William Shakespeare. This week on the Tasha Turner Virtual Blog Tour we were asked to write about our writing process. With so many characters in my head fighting for my attention it can be hard at times to organize my own writing process. I have to admit. I am a pantser. If there were a group called Panster Anonymous I would be their leader. Can you see it now, “Hello, my name is Allison Bruning. I drive writing professors nuts. I am a writer who flies by the seat of her pants then sits down to organize her characters, plots and what ever else needs structure. I am a pantser.” Yeah that’s me. I’m well known to write three copies of the same novel then merge them together into one storyline. I’m also known to start a story, research while writing it then incorporate the research into the storyline. I’ll edit chapter by chapter as I go, inserting information here and there. With Calico, I really didn’t have the interesting details about Hunting Bear until around my third draft. He just wasn’t speaking to me about his motivations until the story was almost completed. I knew he wanted to hurt Calico and I knew it was somehow connected to Alexander but that didn’t come to my story until much later. I had to discover the character of the Demon Bride before Hunting Bear told me why he wanted to hurt Calico. Once the Demon Bride storyline was open up to me, I went back into my story and added the missing chapters and details that were not only vital but missing from my storyline.
After I have finished writing my first draft it’s time for me to edit. I will be the first to tell you I suck at editing my own work. Actually, I’m not the only author that can say this too. You will find most authors have a hard time doing this. We are just too close to our work. So what is the answer to this dilemma? I used to use my husband. I would write the storyline then read it out to him. But now that he is going school for two BA’s that is hard for him to do. He works fulltime and goes to school fulltime.
              Enter the beta readers! What is a beta reader? I was asking that question a few months ago when my publisher introduced me to the concept. A beta reader is someone who reads the first draft of an author’s work looking to see if the story flows and if there are mistakes with characterization, grammar, etc. These people are a godsend, let me tell you! They can find the mistakes and offer suggestions that I would have never been able to see for myself. After I receive the suggestions back from the beta reader, I incorporate them into my story. I go chapter by chapter afterwards making certain everything runs smoothly, listening to my characters to tell if the story is complete or not. I can’t explain it but you will just know when it is ready to be submitted. Then I send my masterpiece to my social media coach, another godsend for any author to have in her backpocket, and together we tighten everything up for submission to a publishing house.
Most people think writers just sit and write all day. As you can see, writing is work. As I say over and over again, it takes a team of creative and dedicated people to publish a book. Thank heavens there are beta readers and social media coaches out there to help the ever wandering voices in my head. 


  • About the Author

  • The Executive Director of the Kentucky Young Writers Connection, a non-profit agency of writers who promote young authors throughout the state of Kentucky. Allison originally hails from Marion, Ohio. Her father, Roland Irving Bruning, was the son of German immigrants who came to the United States at the turn of the 20th century. Her mother's family had been in the United States since the 17th century. Allison is a member of the Peter Foree Chapter of the  Daughters of American Revolution. Her linage traces to Private Reuben Messenger of Connecticut. Her educational background includes a BA in Theater Arts with a minor in Anthropology and a Texas Elementary Teaching certificate. Both acquired at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas. Allison received National Honor Society memberships in both Theater Arts and Communication. Allison was also honored her sophomore year with admission into the All American Scholars register. She holds graduate hours in Cultural Anthropology and Education. In 2007 she was named Who's Who Among America's Educators. She is also the recipient of the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards.


  • Allison lives with her husband in Kentucky.  Calico is book one from the series, Children of the Shawnee. It is available at She is currently working on the sequel, Rose.  She is also working on another series, The Secret Heritage, which traces the life of her great great grandmother at the turn of the 20th century in Ohio. Allison's interest includes Ohio Valley history, anthropology, travel, culture, history, camping, hiking, backpacking, spending time with her family and genealogy. Her genres include historical fiction, paranormal, romance, and suspense.

    You can reach her at:
    Facebook Fan Page
    Twitter: @emeraldkell

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