The Plotting vs. Pantsing Dilemma by DeAnn Smallwood and a Giveaway!

Welcome DeAnn Smallwood with her take on plotting vs. pantsing.

Be sure to scroll down and read about her some of her many books, and enter our giveaway!


Pantser vs. Plotter

I’m a pantser even if I didn’t know that’s what I was until several months ago. I wish I could say it’s the best way to write, but I can’t. I have read numerous articles on outlining and plotting, however, I think if I were to do this, I’d freeze up and not be able to get anything on paper.

I love the way I write. I visualize the story and words flowing from my fingertips onto the paper or computer as the case may be. I have the outline of the story in my head but it is such a pleasure to have my characters take over-who knows where they’ll lead.

Sometimes I read the last few chapters I’ve written and say, “Wow, where did that come from?” Plotting might take that away from me and dim my pleasure in writing. As I get more sure of myself, I find I am jotting down more notes on where I want the story to lead so maybe I am plotting to a small degree. I certainly admire those that tackle their writing this way.

So Pantser or Plotter, who cares. All that matters is if you have a story in you then follow your heart and write the way most comfortable to you. As far as I’m concerned, there is no right or wrong way. The only wrong would be in not trying.  


DeAnn Smallwood is one of the many authors in my New Years Giveaway!

She's giving away a copy of Wyoming Heather.


Heather is a spirited, independent woman living alone on a ranch left to her by her parents. She is also a healer of animals, domestic and wild. A woman doing a man's work, running a ranch that everyone said couldn't be done, not in this untamed, vastly unsettled land, in the mid 1800's. The ranch had everything she needed except water. She stole that from a neighboring abandoned ranch watched over by a lonely cabin and a grave.

He rode alone, coming back after five years to an empty cabin, a run-down ranch, and a grave on a hill. A former Texas Ranger burnt out on life and afraid to love. Whip had spent five years hunting the man that took his wife's life and left him to die.

Whip and Heather meet in an explosive moment on the banks of the Powder River. Both lonely, both drawn to one another, and both stubbornly fighting the attraction.

Whip vowed he would take up his dream abandoned five years ago and make his beloved ranch profit and to put aside the sweet linger of all memories shared by him and his wife. The ranch would be a jealous mistress occupying his every thought and every minute. He had no time or desire for a woman much less a pair of runaways from The Orphan Train, stowaways in Whip’s wagon and onto the Powder River Ranch.

But fate heeds no one or no thing. The criminal from Whip’s past reemerges in the present. Now, Heather is in danger and Whip stand, once again on the cusp of loss. Fate shows a strong, willful woman, full of love and compassion, just what she’s been missing in her life. And it shows a calloused Texas Ranger that Heather and love does flourish on the Wyoming plains.



Callie Collins, a proud woman in the late 1800’s is a liar and a darned good one, a master of the dubious art. She is also a dreamer. Her greatest hope is to reach a new life in South Pass City Wyoming, where she can open a bakery and live an independent life. To be successful, she will need her greatest gifts of deception to date. As a woman alone, she has to prove to Seth McCalister, the wagon master, that she has the wherewithal (a wagon and a set of oxen), the stamina to survive months of drought, dust, hardships and even risk of death, and a mythical fiancé who waits at the end of the line. McCallister is uneasy, but also mystified by the audacity and determination of the young woman. He allows her to join the train west. What he doesn’t realize is there is no fiancé. To make matters worse, Callie is in love with Seth McCallister, too. For the first time, the lies that have brought her so far in life threaten to keep her from her one, true love. McCallister is a man of strong character and Callie feels certain that once he realizes her deception, he’ll turn away, ashamed of his love and trust in her.


Everyone knew Lil Wentfield would never marry. What man would want her? Granted she was a real beauty.

A woman with too much knowledge was at risk for insanity. Their fragile mind couldn’t handle it. That’s what Lil had been told when she went against convention and became an attorney. The 1800’s had fewer women lawyers than women doctors. Her pride knew no bounds when she hung her shingle—L.M. Wentfield, Attorney At Law.

Drew was a struggling cattle rancher, building a fledging Hereford empire. He was working toward that goal when he was accused of rustling and faced possible hanging. He needed a lawyer—a good one—a man. Chesterfield had one lawyer—a new one—L.M. Wentfield. He wasn’t prepared for a beautiful blonde with a sharp tongue and fiercely won independence.

Lil had no homemaking abilities. Her love was the law. And if the thoughts of the gray-eyed cowboy, who had the audacity to refuse her legal help stayed in her mind, she’d push them aside. She had nothing to offer a rancher . Even her wealth wouldn’t be considered an asset to a prideful man. And Drew Jackson was proud.  So proud, he knew he couldn’t ask a woman of Lil’s stature to share his life—but he wanted to—from the moment he’d stolen that first kiss.


I live in Colorado with my husband and my two Yorkie kid dogs: Stormy, four pounds, and Eli, six pounds. I’m a native of Colorado, but I’ve lived several years in Wyoming and Montana. 

I draw from these beautiful states for most of my books. My Western Historical Romances are: Montana Star, Sapphire Blue, Unconquerable Callie,  Wyoming Heather and One Shingle To Hang.  Tears In The Wind is a contemporary romance. Then I changed genres from my beloved romances and wrote, under the pen name of D. M. Woods, my first suspense/thriller: Death Crosses The Finish Line. The second book in this ‘death’ series, Death Is A Habit, came out January 8, 2014.

I am currently working on the third book in the ‘death’ series, Death Walks C Dock.  I am also working on another  Western Historical Romance, Montana Man. It features the characters readers came to know and love in Montana Star. Truly, I mean it when I say my greatest pleasure next to writing is having my books read and enjoyed. There are many more stories just waiting to be written.


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