Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Plotter or Pantser? by Jenna Brandt

My first three books I was a pantser. I wrote whatever came to mind with no real plot planned out.

As I progressed in my writing and started a second series, I realized I needed to create a loose plot to save time when I was working on multiple projects. I often found myself spending too much time looking for where I was in each story and re-reading sections to remember.

My last book and two novellas were plotted. Through the process, I have found I like planning out my books before I begin. I have a decided place where I will start, what I want to happen and a rough idea of how to get there. Occasionally, I add scenes, remove scenes or move scenes around to enhance the flow and theme of the book.

Which brings me to the other point. I decided early on wanted to have an established theme for all my series.

In my historical romance series, Window to the Heart Saga, the overarching theme is about redemption, most prominently in books 1-3. In book 4, the original theme is still present in undertones but there is a new one introduced—independence. The new theme also carries into book 6 which is my current work in progress. Books 5 and 5.5 are my short story and novella and they are both themed around Christmas weddings and acceptance.Themes give a depth to my books while helping me to pick and choose the situations that will grow the characters, making them more complex. 

Not every reader will pick up on the themes in my books and that is alright. I think of it like an Easter egg in games, if you do, you feel pleased you found the hidden surprise, but if you don’t find it, you never knew you missed it.

Have you gone from being a pantser to a plotter? What advantages/disadvantages have you noticed?


Jenna Brandt is a Christian historical fiction author and her books span from the Victorian to Western eras with elements of romance, suspense and faith. Her debut book, The English Proposal, released in May 2017 and it is the first book in her series, The Window to the Heart Saga. Book 2, The French Encounter released in June 2017 and the third in the series, The American Conquest, released in July 2017.

She has been an avid reader since she could hold a book and started writing stories almost as early. She has been published in several newspapers as well as edited for multiple papers. She graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in English from Bethany College and was the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper while there. She’s an on-going contributor for The Mighty Website and her first blog was published on Yahoo Parenting and The Grief Toolbox as well as featured on the ABC News and Good Morning America websites.

Writing is her passion, but she also enjoys cooking, watching movies, reading, engaging in social media and spending time with her three young daughters and husband where they live in the Central Valley of California. She is also active in her local church where she volunteers on their first impressions team as well as writes for the church’s creative team.

She is offering the first two chapters of each of her books along with the short story, The White Wedding, for free on Wattpad.

To find out more about Jenna, to sign-up for her newsletter, or to purchase her books, visit her website at

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