Welcome to Pantser & Plotter

A Coupled Approach

We are both children's authors and college writing teachers who love to coach writers through their stories. Here, in our little corner of the internet, we'll post about our lives as a creative couple, how that helps our careers, tips of the trade and craft of children's literature and more. Occasionally we are available to coach new clients, and will be posting those times here--so stay tuned!

~Jess and Joe

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A New Year of Creative emPowerment

Jess and I just returned from gorgeous Lake Tahoe, where we teach at Sierra Nevada University’s (SNU) low-residency MFA program. The...

A Year in Review

Joe wrote this lovely end-of-year wrap-up for our family and friends but we decided to share it here too. When I read it, I wondered who...

How to Write the Right Story

*adapted from an interview with Daria Peoples-Riley If you’re anything like me, you have a dozen ideas in your head at any given moment,...

At The Heart of Things

Creativity is an expression of some deeper part of our hearts, our brains, our life experiences and understanding of the world; it’s an...

Pixar's Storytelling Tips

Written and originally posted by Emma Coats, former Pixar writer photo: Jason Pratt 1. You admire a character for trying more than for...

How These Coupled Creatives Live

People ask us all the time what it’s like to be married to and living with another creative soul. To be clear, I believe creativity is...

Who We Are

Greetings! Thanks for visiting our site. We are married children's authors Joe McGee and Jess Rinker and we will be posting here...



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