However. Pantsing has its perils. Namely, not knowing what's going to happen next.
I'm working on two novels right now. (Another trick: I can change projects when I get stuck.) In Project 1, I wrote half of it and got bogged down in the sagging middle. My critique group suggested I needed an antagonist. (Critique groups rock.) My brain always goes to a black-caped villain (cue evil laugh) with the word 'antagonist' and let's face it, most people don't deal with villains. But, a person whose interests are in opposition to the protagonist's interests... That could work. I introduced a new pov character and wrote about 10 chapters for him. Introducing a new pov character seems very effective--I'll keep it in my bag of tricks. Everything was going great until I got stuck again. Ugh. I couldn't figure out what would happen next because I hadn't plotted it. But, finally, after I quit procrastinating, I figured out what the worst possible thing that could happen to that character and I made it happen. Viola. Now the chapters are flowing again. (Poor guy!)
I started Project 2 several years ago and got bogged down in legal jargon and rules (there's a murder in chapter 1). A few months ago I picked it back up and dusted it off with a total rewrite. (Thank you critique group!) But the pantser method is really biting me in the ass this time. I don't know what should happen next. I don't recall who the murderer is. I planted a bunch of clues and I don't recall where they lead and so on. It's pretty much a disaster. Don't do this! Apparently, even pantsers need to take notes. The next few days I will be brainstorming what happens next. Wish me luck.
How about you? Are you a panster or a plotter? Do you have any advice for avoiding pantser or plotter pitfalls?