Plotters & ‘Pantsers’

Discovering the writing style that works for YOU!

Series 2 | Lesson 1

Creators | Andrew McDonald & Ailsa Wild

Some writers work best when they carefully plan out all the details of their story before they begin.

Others don’t plan much at all, but prefer to just … write and see what happens!

In this lesson, we’ll hear from Ailsa and Andrew about different ways to write a story - from plotting and planning, to flying by the seat of your pants! 

Key Concepts:

  • Plotters vs Pantsers: working out all the details before starting to write (and what that might look like) or flying by the seat of your pants (experimenting as you go)
  • How an approach can influence how a writer crafts a story


  • The benefits and pitfalls of different approaches
  • Tips for students to figure out their own writing style, and what works best for them

Resources for Plotters And ‘Pantsers’

Resources include lesson plans for middle and upper primary students, each with their own activities and supporting resources.

ST Series 2 Lesson 1 Education Resources
  • An entertaining quiz to help discover your own writing style.
  • A worksheet to explore both planning and spontaneous writing.
  • Examples of the benefits and challenges of different writing approaches.
Next Lesson >

About Plotters And ‘Pantsers’ Creators

Andrew McDonald

Andrew McDonald is a reader and writer of books for young readers, most notably the best-selling Real Pigeons series with illustrations by Ben Wood.

He is a regular presenter on the schools circuit in Australia, conducting writing workshops; talking about his writing life and sharing the stories and experiences behind his books.

Learn more

Ailsa Wild

Ailsa Wild is an author, performer and community artist.

Her writing includes junior fiction and YA, and she also works with scientists to translate complex science into compelling illustrated narrative picture books.

Ailsa lives in Melbourne with her partner, her son and two little fish.

Learn more