[[quoteright:310:[[ComicBook/SergioAragonesDestroysDC http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/dibujo_7.JPG]]]]
[[caption-width-right:310:Writing a comic book CrisisCrossover is not a rocket science.]]
-->-- Motto of ''UsefulNotes/NaNoWriMo''

Some authors plan meticulously. Before they even start to write, they have a detailed plot synopsis, character biographies, pages on setting, and a detailed backstory to the main tale... at the least.

Others just sit down at their word processor and type whatever comes into their head. This trope is dedicated to them.

This is not necessarily a trope about authors who simply write without a speck of planning at all (although it can be), but rather those who, overall, are improvising as they write. They may already have invented their characters, perhaps they have a vague plot bubbling in their head, even a few notes on {{backstory}} or setting. What separates this kind of writing from planned writing is that these writers are prepared to throw those notes in the trash the moment they come up with an idea that they prefer. So you're writing a hardboiled crime fiction novel: Remember that takeaway place you thought up on the spot to give your sleuth somewhere to eat his lunch? That would be perfect as a front for the BigBad's drug-dealing business. Making a movie? That actor's take on that character is [[ThrowItIn way better than what you originally had in mind]]. Why not rewrite half his part to take advantage of that vision?

This is ''especially'' common for manga writers making comics for serial magazines, because of the nature of that business in Japan; they ''must'' get out at least one completed installment done for each magazine issue, or risk ending their source of income and livelihood. Because writing well is incredibly hard to do, and the schedule of a mangaka [[http://i.imgur.com/jFhnTgg.jpg is one of the most ridiculous in the publishing world]], writers frequently resort to this trope just to get an issue out there! Sometimes it even forces widely published and respected artists to put out chapters they clearly had not even finished ''drawing''.

The trope name comes from the phrase "flying by the seat of your pants," a colloquialism for "deciding a course of action as you go along."

[[TropesAreTools Like most things, this can be done well, or badly]]. AbortedArc, TheChrisCarterEffect and KudzuPlot is what happens when Writing by the Seat of Your Pants leaves too many loose plot threads.

This is the novelistic version of SchrodingersGun or the IndyPloy; when the author of a series canonizes ''fan suggestions'' as he goes along, see AscendedFanon. Can also be related to IJustWriteTheThing. Compare OffTheRails where a GM may be forced to improvise as players break away from the planned story. Contrast TheProducerThinksOfEverything and DevelopersForesight, where the creative team behind a project has meticulously planned every facet of their story or game.

Please only add examples where the author ''admitted'' to doing this. This is not a page for speculation.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'' author Kentaro Miura said he hadn't even formed the idea for the Band of the Hawk or Casca when he drew Guts' confrontation with the God Hand in volume 3, and there were a lot of details that he made up as he went along but which fell into place later. In fact, it fits together so well that it's surprising to learn he didn't plan everything ahead in great detail. A prime example is that the creepy fetus Guts sees in the first three volumes wasn't originally supposed to be [[spoiler:Guts and Casca's child]], but Miura later realized that this would work really well and made it into an important RecurringCharacter. Oddly enough, Miura has also claimed that he's [[FlipFlopOfGod had the entirety of the Berserk story planned out in his head since high school.]]
* Writer Tsugumi Ohba admitted that this was pretty much the way he wrote ''Manga/DeathNote'': he'd write Light into a massive jam at the end of one chapter, and would then try and figure out how to get him out of it only when time came to write the next one.
* The writers of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' admitted, regarding the [[GainaxEnding Gainax First Scene]] of the series, that they "lost that plot thread somewhere".
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Creator/TiteKubo has admitted to using a combination of this and arc planning. However, he is infamous for using this trope ''and'' for his special use of ChandlersLaw: "When suffering writer's block, introduce a new awesome character to overcome it". The trouble is, he doesn't actually introduce a new character, he introduces a new CastHerd instead. LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters ensue.
* Hidenori Kusaka does this in regards of ''Manga/PokemonAdventures'', as he has to write along side of whatever games just come out. What really makes him impressive, however, is that he doesn't work for Game Freak yet the series has a sheer amount of generation-spanning ArcWelding and [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Guns]]. Fans joke that he can see into the future.
* Osamu Tezuka wrote ''Ambassador Atom'' (the prototype for ''Manga/AstroBoy'') as he went along. Notably, he had no idea who "Atom" would be, until he later decided to write him as a robot built to replace Tenma's deceased son. He would later ReTool Atom into his current incarnation, and subsequently redid the story as an episode of ''Astro Boy''.
* Creator/RumikoTakahashi admitted not planning and not knowing where her manga was going during the supposedly final battle with Naraku in ''Manga/InuYasha'' or with ''Manga/{{Rinne}}'' in general.
* Creator/AkiraToriyama of Franchise/DragonBall fame has admitted that he made up the story as he went along. The fact that this worked is quite impressive, but led to numerous plot holes and inconsistencies.
** The TropeCodifier of the SuperMode, the Super Saiyan, actually didn't have much thought put into it at all. Toriyama's only real idea was that Goku would start using villainous expressions when he entered the state. The golden hair was a last second suggestion by a co-artist, to save time on having to continue filling in his black hair.
** The Cell Saga is [[http://www.kanzenshuu.com/intended-end/cell/ a particularly funny example]]: he originally intended Androids 19 and 20 to be the main villains, created Androids 17 and 18 after his former editor complained that they were lame, and created Cell after the same former editor said ''they'' weren't threatening enough. [[OverlyLongGag Then]] he introduced Cell's semi-perfect form when the editor hated Imperfect Cell's insectoid appearance. [[UpToEleven THEN]] he insisted they hurry up to Cell's perfect form when the editor thought his semi-perfect one looked [[{{Narm}} too goofy.]]
** Perhaps most legendary of all is the unexplained disappearance of the character Launch between the original series and Z. Toriyama eventually admitted that between all the stuff he had to keep track of while trying to make up the continuing story out of thin air, he just plain forgot she even existed.
* Much like its initial influence ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'', Hirohiko Araki has admitted that he's been essentially making up ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'' as he goes. While this is impressive in that the story likes to make a lot of call backs, it does explain the more "villain of the week" format that was in much of parts 3-5.
* While Creator/EiichiroOda of the ''Manga/OnePiece'' fame certainly doesn't improvise plot all the time, he may actually be doing it more often than his fans - who almost worship him for his use of ChekhovsArmory - realize. He has admitted that some things were made up more or less on the spot:
** Vivi wasn't supposed to be the series' best-known princess and honorary Straw Hat at first. She was just supposed to be a generic, short-lived ArcVillain even though TheReveal about her being a princess came a few chapters later, meaning that Oda made that up rather spontaneously. This is why her face completely changes design between two scenes, going from harsh and sharp-eyed to soft and [[GoodEyesEvilEyes wide-eyed]].
** Trafalgar Law was introduced extremely suddenly along with the other Supernovae because Oda's editor wanted him to make some interesting characters for the Sabaody arc. So even though he's a very significant character in Doflamingo's arc, his involvement wasn't planned during Doflamingo's first few appearances, neither was the fact that [[spoiler: he's a D]].
** Downplayed with the Going Merry: She was originally supposed to be the Straw Hats' ship for the whole series. Then Oda realized how underwhelming the little caravel looked compared to the ginormous enemy ships, and decided to "kill" her off and let the Straw Hats have a bigger ship. Still, her "death" was planned a couple of years before it actually happened, but it wasn't planned when she was introduced.
* ''Manga/{{Bakuman}}'' is a series [[SequentialArtist about fictional manga creators]] by the same authors as the aforementioned ''Death Note'', and it portrays WritingByTheSeatOfYourPants as omnipresent among [[Magazine/ShonenJump Weekly Shonen Jump]], mostly because they spend so long with their series on the verge of cancellation. Perhaps the best demonstration comes when the main two characters realize the best ending to a chapter was the revelation that its events were caused by an earlier chapter, [[ArcWelding even though they planned no such thing when the earlier chapter was written]].
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' creator Creator/MasashiKishimoto [[http://www.shonengamez.com/2013/12/22/kishimoto-naruto-will-end-2014/ stated]] that he'd made Madara Uchiha so powerful [[OnlyTheAuthorCanSaveThemNow that he had no clue how he could be defeated]]. Eventually he came to a solution: having him be [[spoiler:stabbed in the back by a GiantSpaceFleaFromNowhere]].
* Hiro Mashima of ''Manga/RaveMaster'' and ''Manga/FairyTail'' fame has admitted he doesn't always plan out of his arcs, sometime starting with the concept and going from there. This is the reason why some of his story elements can feel a bit disjointed in certain arcs.
* Miki Yoshikawa of ''Manga/FlunkPunkRumble'' and ''Manga/YamadaKunAndTheSevenWitches'' has stated that she and her editor usually only planned the story one chapter at a time and had little idea of what would happen in future chapters. In most cases, anyway; there are some [[TheReveal reveals]] - such as Miyamura's reason to transfer to Suzaku and Nancy's secret - that have so much {{foreshadowing}} that they were clearly planned several chapters in advance.
* A {{Downplayed| Trope}} example with ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion''. The show was put into product with plot that had more or less been outlined from start to finish, and the series did by and large follow this outline to begin with. However, much of the second half of said plot outline had to be scrapped and rewritten from scratch during production, following a case of RealLifeWritesThePlot as some crucial scenes had an unintentional similarity to [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokyo_subway_sarin_attack the Aum Shinrikyo cult's terrorist gas attack on the Tokyo subway in March 1995]]. The latter half of the production also happened in process to be at the same time the series creator Creator/HideakiAnno was undergoing heavy treatment for his clinical depression, the experience of which also started to creep into the scripts. As a result, the show started seriously deviating from its original plans around Episode 16, resulting in the MindScrew sequences the latter part of the show are (in)famous for.

* The original writers of ''[[ComicBook/TheFlash Impulse]]'' admitted they were writing by the seat of their pants in the first trade. Given the character, this is quite appropriate.
* Prolific comic book writer Creator/RobertKanigher did this all the time. The results run the full gamut from enduring classics to ludicrous dross (but it was ludicrous dross that was handed in on time, and that was the important thing). Among other things, he was prone to [[RecycledScript recycling plot details]], particularly [[FleetingDemographicRule from earlier issues of the same comic]]. To be fair to Kanigher, he had a very large monthly workload throughout his career, writing as many as ''seven'' comics each month and serving as editor for most of them.
* Creator/DCComics in general, during UsefulNotes/{{the Silver Age of comic|books}}s, was infamous for using the following writing system: an editor would design a cover with whatever elements he felt would be popular (gorillas, dinosaurs, aliens etc.) or shocking events ([[SuperDickery death scenes of major characters, betrayals, pranks]] etc.) then he would give the cover to a writer and tell him to ''just come up with a story that made sense out of it.'' The results were often not very logical, but still enjoyable in their own way.
* Compare [[Creator/MarvelComics "The Marvel Method"]] from the same era: One writer would plot a story, an artist would draw the comic, then another writer would do the dialogue, often having to explain things all by himself. This is why Marvel was able to put about half a dozen or so comics each month even though the stories were devised almost exclusively by Jack Kirby, Steve Ditko and (it is claimed) Stan Lee. Marvel used this system as late as the 80's.
* Chester Gould, the creator of ''ComicStrip/DickTracy,'' made up his stories as he went along. His maxim was that if even ''he'' didn't know where a story was going at the start, then his readers certainly wouldn't be able to guess. Once he forced himself into a corner that he, at first glance, could only solve by having the Dick [[FromBeyondTheFourthWall tell Chester Gould to get him out of this situation and a giant hand erased the death trap]]. His syndicate publisher, Joseph Patterson, found it stupid so he told Gould to find another solution.
* ''Comicbook/JudgeDredd'' creator John Wagner has said this is the way he prefers to write. Case in point: the reappearance of [[spoiler:the Dark Judges]] in "Day of Chaos" wasn't originally planned, but with all that was going on in Mega-City One at the time, bringing them back was the perfect way to make things even worse.
* The revelation in ''Comicbook/NewAvengers'' that the Ronin was [[spoiler: Maya Lopez]] in disguise was a last-minute change after the original plan (where Ronin would have been revealed revealed to be [[Comicbook/{{Daredevil}} Matt Murdock]]) [[AbortedArc fell through]].
** This is rather evident from the fact that there is nothing even slightly androgynous about Ronin's very buff, masculine build -- and then he takes off his mask and s/he's now a typically beautiful comic book woman.
* Herge said that this was how he worked on ''Franchise/{{Tintin}}'' at the beginning of its life. He needed a new installment each Thursday and said that he often found himself working on it on Wednesday, not knowing how he'd get Tintin out of the mess he left him in last Thursday. He stopped doing this with The Blue Lotus and started plotting things out more fully.
* Creator/ScottLobdell famously began hinting at Comicbook/{{Onslaught}} without any real idea who the character would turn out to be. He just thought [[TheWorfEffect it'd be cool to hint at new villain who was powerful enough to kick the shit out of the Juggernaut]]. [[spoiler: With TheReveal of it being Professor Xavier's dark side, it suddenly makes sense why Onslaught felt the need to beat the crap out of his abusive step-brother.]]
* The X-Traitor tape was a major part of [[Comicbook/{{Xmen}} Bishop's]] backstory, [[http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2010/12/31/comic-book-legends-revealed-293/2/ but Jim Lee and Whilce Portacio eventually confirmed]] they had no set suspect when they started. Fan speculation pointed to either Gambit, as an older man called "the Witness" who supposedly looked and talked like an older Gambit, or Bishop, as part of a StableTimeLoop. However, after a while, not much was done with it--until [[spoiler: it got {{Arc Weld|ing}}ed into the aforementioned ''Onslaught'' with the title villain (and hence, by extension, an unwitting Professor Xavier himself) being the traitor.]]
* It's clear from the [[http://lifeofreillyarchives.blogspot.com/2008/03/introduction-and-update.html Life of Reilly]] blog that ''no one'' involved in ''ComicBook/TheCloneSaga'' had clear ideas on what to do, and if they did, they didn't tell anyone else about them.

* The author of Fanfic/GarfieldInAlongCameASplut apparently said that while the general idea of the story sat in his head for a while, the actual story was written in ''half an hour''--[[MindScrew and it shows.]]
* Creator/NimbusLlewelyn, author of ''Fanfic/TheWizardInTheShadows'' (a ''Literature/LordOfTheRings''[=/=]''Literature/HarryPotter'' crossover) and ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' (a ''Literature/HarryPotter''[=/=]''Film/TheAvengers2012'' crossover) [[note]] Well, it started that way. It has since evolved into a MegaCrossover incorporating ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', ''ComicBook/TheSandman'', lots of Creator/MarvelComics and elements of Creator/DCComics) [[/note]], has cheerfully noted a proclivity for doing this, particularly in ''Child of the Storm''. This is despite numerous mentions in the A/N's of ''Child of the Storm'' of a grand plan and a well-earned reputation for both grand scale WorldBuilding which invariably involves putting his own unique spin on various characters ranging from the familiar to the deeply obscure, a JigsawPuzzlePlot and a ChekhovsArmoury fit to challenge Creator/JKRowling herself. The general gist is that the grand plan, the framework, is intact, while the the details are subject to change. These 'details' have included several major characters, with fan favourite [[spoiler: Diana]] being thrown in on a whim at quite literally the last minute and other popular characters, such as [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] and [[ComicBook/MsMarvel Carol Danvers]] being added at similarly short notice.
** And even the grand plan is admitted to be subject to change: the original intention was for a much more Hogwarts focused tale and it to ship Harry/Ginny, then the author noted that he didn't like this idea and was having difficulty writing his way out of it, before having a eureka moment and succeeding, maintaining Harry/Ginny as a first relationship, before finally discarding it entirely. So far, he's managed to avoid overt plot holes, mostly thanks to ExactWords, a talent for repurposing previous plot points and a habit of writing a very long way ahead in the series, meaning that any scene that's posted has a reasonable chance of having been written and rewritten a dozen times until it is considered satisfactory. On the other hand, it can just as easily be a more literal reading of this trope and written at the last minute, just before the fic goes up.
*** The ''original'' plan was for a much more conventional crossover fic covering up to the 7th HP book, approximately 100-150,000 words long, shipping [[CrackPairing Harry/Sif]] of all things. When this was revealed, the first book, covering 3rd Year, was approximately 600,000 words long. This was, needless to say, considered HilariousInHindsight.
* The writer of ''FanFic/StrikeWitchesQuest'', Planefag, has admitted a few times to doing this quite a bit and that it has gotten him into trouble of the plot hole sort.
* This backfired on the writer of the ''Franchise/KingdomHearts''[=/=]''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' crossover ''Heart of Equestria'', who was promptly overwhelmed by the various plots they introduced and ultimately cancelled the fic.
* ''FanFic/RainbowFactory'' as it went on. The author even stated that he was inspired by [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YRx_iXgLAyw a song with the same name]] and thought to himself it would make a good DarkFic.
* How the first [[http://kleinerkiller.deviantart.com/gallery/41037509 Yognapped]] was written. It was first set as though LetsPlay/SimonLane and LetsPlay/LewisBrindley of the LetsPlay/{{Yogscast}}'s real-life counterparts were playing ''VideoGame/{{Minecraft}}'' and commentating, but moved on to an actual post-''Machinima/ShadowOfIsraphel'' universe with the characters of Simon and Lewis' ''Minecraft'' avatars, alternating in-between for several chapters before settling on the latter. This led to some plot holes that the writer has attempted to {{Retcon}}, with varying degrees of success.
** To a lesser extent, the primary arc revolving around Notch and Herobrine came about entirely by accident. Herobrine's utterance of "[[spoiler: [[WhamLine I care as much about your citizens as our late sister cared about your temper]]]]" was changed at the last minute from a lame YourMom joke.
* The creator of ''FanFic/OriginStory'' admits that, while he began with a carefully plotted outline, the story left the outline in the dust in the middle of Chapter Four and that these days, he's writing whatever comes to him to write, as it occurs to him to write it. That said, he's still managed to put together an intricately constructed and emotionally engaging story, and it absolutely '''''does not''''' look like he's been improvising for the majority of the story.
* The writer of ''Fanfic/GimmeShelter'' admitted he came up with the idea for story after seeing a picture of the protagonist, Fleur de Lis, standing in the rain with no raincoat or umbrella then wrote the story in full within a few hours of having the idea.
* According to Amoridere for ''Webcomic/KillLaKillAU'', some of the stories are typically thought out, at least to some degree, whereas others are ideas that "just show up" and she runs with them, which is to say, partially improvised, especially with the dialogue. Likewise, she does the same for the ''Fanfic/Gensokyo20XX'' series.
* This has become more or less par for the course for @/LadyNorbert's stories, [[Fanfic/ThePrivateDiaryOfElizabethQuatermain particularly]] [[Fanfic/ElementalChessTrilogy the ones]] [[Fanfic/{{Cinderjuice}} in series form]]. She never intentionally writes a series; she writes what is supposed to be a stand-alone story, and then the sequels announce themselves within days of its completion - often connecting back to details in the earlier story/stories which were not intended to have later repercussions. In her own words, "My stories tend to be smarter than I am. I'm honestly not this clever."
* ''Fanfic/TheLegendOfTotalDramaIsland'':
** Although this story generally has a good deal of planning by fanfic standards, the author will sometimes run with spur of the moment ideas, especially in ancillary scenes. Bridgette’s dream sequence [[note]][[AscendedFanon based on a reviewer’s comment]][[/note]], the makeover scene before the camping challenge and the dancing at the boot camp party are acknowledged examples of elaborate scenes with little or no planning.
** Scenes added for the purpose of error correction have little planning, due to the time constraints which necessitate such scenes in the first place. The author has acknowledged two notable examples:
*** In the first Boney Island challenge, [[TheHost Chris]] was meant to warn the contestants during the challenge briefing (as per canon) that a {{curse}} would befall anyone who took anything from the IndianBurialGround located there. For whatever reason, the author forgot to include that bit, and didn't discover the oversight until well after posting the chapter. Rather than go back and [[OrwellianRetcon quietly revise the scene]], the author wrote a scene for the following chapter wherein one contestant who happens to know the legend warns another who has innocently picked up an artifact from the area. This approach gave the reader the same information as the intended scene, and had the benefit of giving the resident MotorMouth another “mind dump” monologue.
*** The dancing at the boot camp party was an elaborate scene added at the 11th hour, so naturally at the 59th minute the author discovered a serious problem with it, namely what the scene [[KissingUnderTheInfluence made Tyler do behind his new girlfriend's back]]. A hasty repair job ensued, resulting in the "damage control" discussion the next day and the scene on the Boat of Losers with [[VotedOffTheIsland the eliminated player]] and the interns engaged to implement the damage control plan.
* There was a fanfic called [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11849009/1 Ghost of a Chance]], a WesternAnimation/TeenTitans & WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom AU fic. Written by the writers of the Assassin's Creed Novelizations, the fic was originally started with an intent to practice being creative after all the restrictions they placed on themselves in writing "truly historically accurate" adaptations of the first five Assassin's Creed games. In fact, part of the reason they stopped novelizing was because they felt their extensive research into society, events and character development outside the gameplay was sapping their writer's energy. So, they started this crossover with an idea for a scene: Jazz is telling Robin to, "Tell Danny I'm alive" and they planned to just run with what happens from there. However, when they reached chapter 10, they came to a horrible realization. When they brought in the Justice League into their story, they realized they were going to have to start referencing the wider DC universe much more heavily instead of just the Titans universe. This proved problematic as they were casual fans of both shows, but were [[CripplingOverspecialization utterly under-practiced when it came to all the intricacies of the wider DC universe]]. And after coming down from the Assassin's Creed stories, they chickened out, and instead began trying to wrap the fic up as fast as they could. Thus several potential plot threads were rushed through or expositioned to death in order to reach an ending where they could take a deep breath and relax again.
* The writer of Fanfic/{{Intercom}} has stated that when they first started the fic, she was just interested in getting down on paper a fic where Riley could hear her emotions before anyone else so she wouldn't feel overshadowed in the process. ''WesternAnimation/InsideOut'' hadn't even been released when she started it! Thankfully, by the time chapter 3 was released, the author had seen ''Inside Out'', and thus began "fine tuning" her universe so as to better match up with the movie, and to eventually have a planned ending in mind (or so she claims). Funny enough, one WMG on her tvtropes page accuses her of not actually being in control of the story, but instead relying on fans to do the work for her, which is what this trope is almost about. Then again, since every 3rd WMG, reviewer comment and headscratcher ends up used or addressed in story, it's quite possible that this trope is still in effect, and we just have a case of a LyingCreator.
** On another note, the author admitted that some of the experiences in Imagination Land were taken from fan suggestions, and that the term for Riley's [[spoiler: Unique white tinged memories that she creates]] were taken from a fan's musings on their meaning.

* Creator/CharlieChaplin never used scripts when making his movies--his films would always be made by constant trial and error at his own expense, focusing on the personality of the characters rather than the story. Even his features only used a little pre-planning for the story, but no fully written scripts. The one exception was ''Film/MonsieurVerdoux'' which had a script by Creator/OrsonWelles, Chaplin rewrote it to fit his interests, but otherwise retained Welles' structure.
* According to the book ''Literature/TheDisasterArtist'', everything that fans love about ''Film/TheRoom'' was [[ThrowItIn ad libbed]]. Tommy Wiseau was writing, directing, casting, rewriting, and acting by the seat of his pants, practically making up the film as he went.
* ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' was being written as it was filmed. Some things had to be changed to comply with The Hays Code, and it took a while to come up with a satisfying ending.
* In ''Film/IronMan1'', the actors came up with so many good things on-set that halfway through they just threw away the script (having previously rewritten it every night) and instead wrote outlines of each scene instead. Creator/JeffBridges said that it felt weird doing it this way, then realized that he had to treat it "like a 200 million dollar student film".
* The [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest second]] and [[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd third]] ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean'' movies were both being written as they were filmed.
* Creator/TimBurton's ''Film/{{Batman}}'' was constantly being expanded, edited and rewritten. Burton himself once recounted a situation wherein he had SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker take Vicki Vale hostage and move into the Church, with no idea what to do storywise after that point.
* Creator/DavidLynch infamously wrote ''Film/InlandEmpire'' scene by scene during filming. What effect this had on the film's [[MindScrew (lack of) coherence]] is up to debate. Seeing as it's ''David Lynch,'' however, [[CrazyAwesome it really doesn't matter too much.]]
* The 90's movie of ''Film/TheFugitive'' was largely made this way, on the fly--although one would never suspect by watching it, as it ''looks'' very carefully planned.
* ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'' movie trilogy was shot like that. Even as the cameras kept rolling, scenes and plots were being rewritten again and again - some versions of the script reached not just the double digits, but went up to 40 and above. Actors frequently got their lines only at the night before the shooting and major revisions resulted in whole scenes being re-shot. Ironically, the writers insist that each iteration was ultimately closer to Tolkien's work and even stated that some of the remaining controversial changes might have been gone too, had they not reached a deadline by then.
* Befitting its [[TroubledProduction chaotic production schedule]], ''Film/ApocalypseNow'' was made largely with this and ThrowItIn. Francis Ford Coppola didn't even have an ending, as he'd considered Creator/JohnMilius' ending (Willard joins Kurtz, and the film ends with Kurtz shooting at American war planes bombing his temple while screaming about his erection) ridiculous.
* ''Film/{{Scanners}}'' was written like this, which was forced upon Creator/DavidCronenberg because of the way the production had to be structured due to financing reasons. There was virtually no pre-production, so he had to start shooting with an unfinished script. He would write in the morning, and film the rest of the day, mostly out of order. On top of ''that'', they often had to drive around at random, looking for places to shoot scenes. So literally ''everything'' about Scanners was done by the seat of their pants. He talks about it at some length in ''Cronenberg on Cronenberg''.
* ''Film/StrangerThanFiction'' has an in-universe example. We see Karen Eiffel writing ''Death and Taxes'' while she's still trying to figure out the ending.
* ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia''. Shooting was just about to start when Creator/DavidLean threw out Michael Wilson's original script completely. Creator/RobertBolt was brought on to rewrite the script as filming began. As a result, the movie was filmed almost chronologically - a rarity then or indeed now, especially on such a large-scale film.
* Creator/StanleyKubrick seemed to be this for many of the cast members during production of ''Film/TheShining''. He would often spend the morning before shooting on completely re-writing the scenes that were to be shot that day, causing more than one of the [[Creators/ShelleyDuvall actors]] to almost have a nervous breakdown, although that was a combination of this and Kubrick's perfectionism on takes. It has been argued, given his chess background, that this and other psychological tactics on the shoot were him being a MagnificentBastard to get the performances he wanted.
* During one of his Q&As, Creator/KevinSmith admitted to have written ''Film/RedState'' without a clear plan in mind. He only had two thoughts in his head: the overall topic (a horror movie inspired by a Fred Phelps interview), and the idea that the audience nowadays has already seen every story and knows every formula and cliché. The challenge he gave himself was to jump to a different scene with a different set of characters the moment he knew where the scene he was currently writing could be heading.
* Creator/AaronSorkin wrote ''Film/TheSocialNetwork'' as BenMezrich was writing the book it was based upon ''Literature/TheAccidentalBillionaires'' because DavidFincher optioned the project based simply on a book proposal. Mezrich would write a chapter and hand it off to Sorkin, who would then write the screenplay based on it.
* ''Film/BasicInstinct'' went from initial story idea to final draft ''in ten days without the use of a computer.''
* Parts of the overarching Infinity Stone subplot in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse were only thought up after the fact. For one, it's pretty clear that the Tesseract from ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'' and ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'' was not originally going to be one of the Stones.
* Clifford Odets was hired on short notice to rewrite the script to ''Film/SweetSmellOfSuccess''. As soon as he had finished writing a scene in his hotel room, it was rushed to the location for director Alexander Mackendrick to shoot. According to Creator/BurtLancaster biographer Gary Fishgall, pages were distributed to the crew after they had been shot.
* The ending to ''Film/BeingThere'' came about because of a comment that Creator/HalAshby made to a friend about how impressive Creator/PeterSellers was in his performance and his willingness to try new things: [[spoiler:"I could have this guy walking on water at the end of the film!"]]
* Creator/RichardLinklater noted that the script for some scenes in ''Film/{{Boyhood}}'' was finished the night before they were to be filmed.
* Production on ''Film/DaysOfThunder'' began without a finished script; scenes were often written the day of filming. During one driving sequence, Creator/TomCruise actually had to read his lines off cue cards attached to his windshield, which resulted in a minor car accident. For subsequent driving sequences, Cruise was fitted with a special earpiece to have lines fed to him.
* The script for ''Film/DeathWish4TheCrackdown'' was rewritten during filming. Creator/CharlesBronson constantly had problems with the dialog and he requested further rewrites of certain items of dialogue and action scenes. Writer Gail Morgan Hickman recalled going through several rewrites on a daily basis.
* Creator/DennisHopper and Peter Fonda did not write a full script for ''Film/EasyRider'' and made most of it up as they went along. They didn't hire a crew but instead picked up hippies at communes across the country, and used friends and passersby to hold the cameras and were drunk and stoned most of the time.
* While making ''Film/EightMile'', Music/{{Eminem}} had very little time to work on "Lose Yourself" while shooting the film and used any given opportunity to have a pen and paper in front of him to scribble down lyrics. In some cases, he was writing ''as he was being filmed'', such as Jimmy's ride home on the city bus after his first rap battle.
* The script for ''Film/{{Gilda}}'' wasn't finished when filming began. According to the film's choreographer, the pages would arrive on the day they were to be filmed and it was mostly made up on the spot.
* ''Film/HalloweenTheCurseOfMichaelMyers'' - the man in black's identity was constantly changing due to producers not knowing whether or not he would be a blood relative of Michael Myers.
* ''Film/MissionImpossible'' went into pre-production without a script that the filmmakers wanted to use. Creator/BrianDePalma designed the action sequences but neither Creator/DavidKoepp nor Creator/RobertTowne were satisfied with the story that would make these sequences take place. Towne ended up helping organize a beginning, middle and end to hang story details on while De Palma and Koepp worked on the plot. Towne rewrote scenes literally between takes during filming.
* ''Film/StreetsOfFire'' originally ended with Creator/DianeLane singing Music/BruceSpringsteen's [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IuSrPrJyz1k "Streets of Fire"]] - this was actually filmed. However, just before production finished, Universal admitted they wouldn't get the rights to the song by the release date. Hill then asked Steinman to write a replacement; he wrote [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCIrPJ6SBl4 "Tonight Is What It Means to be Young"]] in ''two days.'' Hill wrote and shot the new ending in the few days remaining.
* Much of the Dwarves vs. Smaug scene at the end of ''Film/TheHobbitTheDesolationOfSmaug'' was filmed without any real idea of what they were trying to represent, because the decision had been made to make three films instead of two and they suddenly needed a cliffhanger. Only after shooting a lot of reaction shots and running around did Creator/PeterJackson have the idea of them using the foundries to try to smother Smaug in gold.
* Creator/JohnWoo went into filming ''Film/TheKiller'' with only a short treatment for the film and wrote the details of the script while filming.
* ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'': The original plan was to reveal that the virus had spread worldwide. Midway through shooting, they opted to change things to keep the virus more ambiguous. Since the film was shot almost entirely in-sequence, this is the reason for Sgt Farrell's dialogue theorizing the quarantine. The sequel confirms his theory.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Zigzagged with the Original Trilogy. After the success of ''Film/ANewHope'', an outline was created for Episodes V through IX. However, CreatorBreakdown resulted in certain elements of the later films (namely the revelation of Luke's sister and the appearance of [[BigBad the Emperor]]) being incorporated into ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', turning it into the GrandFinale.
** After the release of ''Film/TheLastJedi'', Creator/RianJohnson revealed that there was little forward planning being done with the ''Star Wars'' sequel trilogy, and he'd had to come up with several payoffs to things from ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' on his own. Most notably, he says that [[spoiler:the next film could very well retcon his own idea of Rey's parents not being anyone special, although Daisy Ridley also says that the ''one'' answer Creator/JJAbrams had in mind [[http://collider.com/star-wars-reys-parents-answer/ was about Rey's parents, and it was the same as Johnson's.]]]]

* An excellent summation of this trope from E L Doctorow: "It's like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole journey that way." (Also quoted by Anne Lamott.)
* Creator/RayBradbury fleshed out his short story ''The Fireman'' into the novel ''Literature/{{Fahrenheit 451}}'' at a pay typewriter in 9 days.
** There's a famous Bradbury quote on his method of writing that pretty eloquently sums up this trope: "You've got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down."
* Creator/IsaacAsimov was on record as stating that, while he usually had an end in mind, he almost never had any idea how he'd get there.
* Creator/GarthNix says this is how he writes - most of his world building is made up on the spot.
* Creator/StephenKing falls into this category -- he never plans ahead, he just writes until he has a good idea and runs with it.
** ''Literature/TheGreenMile'' may be his best example of this. It was originally released in installments. At the time the first installment was released to the public, he hadn't even figured out the ending yet... but still scheduled a set release date for it.
** King said in ''On Writing'' that he does ''occasionally'' plot his stories, he just does it rarely because he usually isn't proud of the results (like ''Rose Madder'' and ''Literature/{{Insomnia}}'') when he does--with one exception: ''The Dead Zone''.
* Creator/CoryDoctorow wrote ''Literature/LittleBrother'' in eight days.
* The UsefulNotes/NaNoWriMo project lends itself to this approach. Participants are given 30 days to see if they can write at least 50,000 words. [[note]]Not all [=NaNoWriMo=] writers write by the seat of their pants. The rules allow writers to have character sketches, plot summaries, and even extensive, detailed outlines -- as long as none of the actual prose is written before 12:00 AM on November 1.[[/note]]
* The Reverend Lionel Fanthorpe [[ExtrudedBookProduct churned out novels for Badger Books]] on the basis of a book cover, a title and a very short deadline. Badger's policies mean it's impossible to tell exactly how many he wrote, but the estimate works out at one 158 page book every twelve days. To manage this, he dictated into a reel to reel tape recorder, then shipped the tapes off to a pool of typists for transcription. To hit the word target, he would [[{{Padding}} pad out]] the books with philosophical discussions, mundane detail and [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment redundant descriptions]] (robots: "Metal things. Metal things that could think. Thinking metal things"), but then could be told that he had only three pages left to wrap up the story, so he had to [[AssPull pull out]] a DeusExMachina. Despite, or perhaps because of all this, Fanthorpe's work has picked up a SoBadItsGood following.
* Creator/LRonHubbard claims he wrote by meditating into a trance-like state and typing constantly for hours at a time. According to Creator/HarlanEllison, Hubbard used the Jack Kerouac method -- he rigged a roll of butcher paper of the appropriate width to feed into his typewriter, wrote for several hours, and at the end cut the long sheet down into even pages.
* Creator/JRRTolkien wrote ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' this way as revealed in ''[[Literature/TheHistoryOfMiddleEarth The History of Middle-earth]]''.
* Creator/DouglasAdams wrote ''Literature/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' this way largely - throw out tons of ideas, then return later when it seems like one of them is funny or could be made relevant (like the potted plant saying "Oh no, not again"). As you can imagine, Adams was terrible at deadlines and finished the first book at that page because his publisher was furious. He once remarked, "Writing is easy. You just stare at a blank page until your forehead starts to bleed."
* Robert B. Parker of the ''Literature/{{Spenser}}'', ''Literature/SunnyRandall'' and Jesse Stone series wrote like this, and compared it to being like the detectives of his novels never knowing what was coming next.
* Horace Kelton once replied to a friend that he didn't know "what [his] next book would be about. [[IJustWriteTheThing The characters [hadn't] told [him]]]." But he still planned some once he got the basic idea.
* Creator/CharlesDeLint writes that way and refers to it as an "organic" style of writing.
* Creator/TerryPratchett usually wrote with a plan, but in an interview said that while writing the assassin's "driving test" in ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}'', he had absolutely no idea how it would unfold, and consequently it was one of his favorite moments in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series.
** When he sat down to write ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' he intended for [[TheCape Carrot Ironfounderson]] to be the main character, with [[KnightInSourArmor Samuel Vimes]] being a minor character who was there to provide a viewpoint character in the city before Carrot arrived. As he wrote the novel Vimes took over as the main character.
** When writing ''Disceworld/ThiefOfTime'', he knew that Ronnie Soak was [[spoiler: the Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse]], but he only worked out what his actual ''name'' in that role was at about the same time as Lu-Tze. Specifically, he [[spoiler: [[SdrawkcabName ran to the mirror with a bit of paper with SOAK written on it]] to make sure he wasn't imagining it. He figured his subconscious had been working ahead of him.]]
* Creator/HarukiMurakami swears to this type of writing, never knowing the ending when he begins a story. [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs It shows]].
* Creator/StanislawLem wrote ''Literature/{{Solaris}}'' that way. It is considered to be his best book which is saying something, because his other works are nothing short of brilliance.
* The cast of ''Podcast/WritingExcuses'' have often talked about the difference between being a outliner vs. a discovery writer. Creator/DanWells, author of the ''[[Literature/IAmNotASerialKiller John Cleaver Trilogy]]'' is a self-confessed discovery writer, but Creator/BrandonSanderson is very much an outliner.
* Creator/HunterSThompson not only did this, he made it the essence of Gonzo journalism: Your notes, more or less unedited, ''are'' the finished product. He would frequently spend hours or days locked up in his room with a typewriter, a whole bunch of paper, and half a ton of drugs and booze, hammering away furiously to send a long, rambling, yet somehow incredibly cogent piece off to ''Rolling Stone'' or whatever other publication he was writing for at the time. He famously declared his most famous work, ''Literature/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'' to be a ''failed'' experiment in Gonzo journalism, as he had edited it too much.
* Ellen Potter, author of ''The Kneebone Boy'', had no idea how it would end when she wrote it and was, at her own admission, stuck on the ending for months until writing something that came to her at the gym. Unfortunately, a lot of plot threads are left dangling as a result.
* The 20th Anniversary Edition of Creator/TimothyZahn's ''[[Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy Heir to the Empire]]'' has a lot of notes in the margins, which reveal that the book changed a ''lot'' during the process from first draft/outline to completed manuscript. Most big ideas were set early on, but small details seem to have come spontaneously, like Luke drinking hot chocolate. He also threw in a consistently varied selection of cryptic side references, mostly used to make the galaxy feel bigger, like the films did. Later many of these were picked up in order to perform some remarkable feats of ArcWelding - but as he notes while explaining,
--> Still, don't let all these clever explanations give you the impression that I had this whole immense thing mapped out in advance. Right now, I'm using [[IndyPloy the Indiana Jones approach]], and making it up as I go.
* Creator/GeorgeRRMartin describes the technique like taking a road trip. You know the broad strokes of the trip--where you start and where you end, and maybe some of the major roads you'll be driving along the way. But you don't know what diner you'll be eating at on day three; you don't know about the construction on the I-95; you don't know that you'll stop at a tourist trap you didn't even know existed during the detour...
* Calum P Cameron apparently writes the ''Literature/MediochreQSethSeries'' by formulating a basic plan, typing until he gets stuck, then walking his pet dog until he spontaneously comes up with enough new scenes to start typing again. Or he did, until [[https://www.facebook.com/MediochreQSethSeries/posts/590362237660422?comment_id=6649001&offset=0&total_comments=5¬if_t=feed_comment the dog died.]] Presumably he still adheres to the trope, though, just without the dog-walking bit.
* The authors of ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' had no plans at all for the overarching plot going in - they came up with a plot synopsis before each book, but beyond that, they didn't have a clue. (The one exception seems to be their knowing ahead of time that [[spoiler: Rachel would die]] at the end.)
* Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold, author of the ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga'', has stated that she writes like this, comparing her style to the meticulous and structured method of her friend and fellow author Creator/PatriciaCWrede.
* An variant of this trope is when the author lets dice (or any random generator) decide over the plot. ''Paradise of Swords'' by Tobias Meißner is a good example - almost an RPG-as-book. Probably better known is ''Il castello dei destini incrociati'' by Italo Calvino. And Philip K Dick famously wrote ''The man in the high castle'' by rolling coins and reading the resulting I-Ching passages.
* The author of ''Literature/DestinedToLead'' claims this as her main writing style. Not surprising as the books were written during UsefulNotes/NaNoWriMo.
* BenMezrich had to do this for ''Literature/TheAccidentalBillionaires'' because it was optioned and adapted into ''Film/TheSocialNetwork'' right off of its book proposal without a completed manuscript.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The late 1940's TV show ''Kukla, Fran and Ollie'' thrived on this. The show was completely unscripted and the actors ad-libbed everything on set.
* In the original KTMA season of ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000,'' the riffs were improvised rather than written. The films being mocked hadn't even been seen in their entirety in advance. In the Creator/ComedyCentral era, however, each film was carefully screened and written for before its respective episode was recorded. The show became [[GrowingTheBeard better for it]].
** During the first season, movies weren't watched in their entirety until the actual writing process took place. They changed to pre-screening the whole film after viewing the violent rape scene in ''The Sidehackers''.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003''. The writers' commentary on the DVD makes it clear that ''a lot'' of stuff was made up episode-by-episode. Especially irritating when every episode began with the statement "... and they have a plan" (until it was quietly dropped from the titles during the last season). Many viewers found this especially apparent in the plot points involving the identity of the Final Five cylons, leading to images like [[http://i.crackedcdn.com/phpimages/photoshop/9/2/6/125926_v1.jpg this one.]] It really came back to bite them when they decided that the "Final Five" Cylons should be different than the others, and have the last five model numbers. Trouble was, it had been built in the show from the start that there were twelve models, and they'd already given one of them the number Eight. So the writers had to quickly insert a piece of backstory that another model had been judged so corrupted (read: wanting to be human) that all copies were destroyed permanently.
** Another issue this caused was that [[spoiler:Tyrol was made one of the Final Five despite having a son, due to the writers forgetting that Cylons couldn't have children. When they realized this halfway through the final season, it was quickly retconned that his son with Cally was actually the result of Cally having a one night stand with Hot Dog the night before they began dating. And then the episode wasn't quite as clear as it could have been that this was what happened, leaving many fans with the impression that Cally (now long dead and unable to defend herself) had cheated on Tyrol. Also keep in mind that Cally had ''never'' shared a scene with or even spoken to Hot Dog before. Ever. In the DVD commentary, Ron Moore admits that he came up with this retcon simply because they'd built up Hera as the special Hybrid child so much that it wouldn't make sense to have two Hybrids - which was the ''entire criticism'' about making Tyrol a Cylon in the first place.]]
** As for the identities of the Final Five Cylons, [[spoiler: Ron Moore's explanations in the DVD commentary make it clear that he picked them all based on ''shock value'', rather than in-universe story logic. That is, rather than describing "that suspicious thing Tyrol did in episode 3.01 was supposed to be a hint that he's a Cylon", Moore spent the DVD commentary (i.e. of the Season 3 finale) discussing that he picked these characters based on the shock it would cause - even though there was no setup, with candidates ranging from the coincidental (Anders), the implausible (Tigh), to the impossible-without-contradicting-ourselves (Tyrol).]]
* ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' seems to have been an example of this. The most {{egregious}} example was probably the who arc with Chris, a character who came from the future to SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong, but was constantly changing his story on ''what'' went wrong and doing all sorts of morally questionable actions behind the Charmed Ones' backs. Eventually the writers decided that he was Piper and Leo's KidFromTheFuture, here to stop his older brother Wyatt from turning evil. Approximately ''none'' of his actions before TheReveal[[note]]trapping Leo in Valhalla, killing several Valkyries, making deals with demons to trap the girls in an alternate reality, breaking up his own parents before he's conceived...[[/note]] make sense with that story, nor can he explain why he didn't just tell them the truth from the beginning. WordOfGod seems to admit that they didn't know what his story was, having only decided on this course of action [[RealLifeWritesThePlot because Piper's actress, Holly Marie Combs, got pregnant]].
* Creator/DavidLynch and Mark Frost [[WordOfGod has admitted]] that they started writing ''Series/TwinPeaks'' not knowing who had killed Laura Palmer.
** The series has many examples of ThrowItIn and such but the identity of the killer wasn't meant to be revealed in the first place and happened only because of [[ExecutiveMeddling the network forcing Lynch and Frost's hands]]. This, of course, doesn't make it any less this trope, or rather it could be considered even better example.
** After revealing who killed Laura Palmer they didn't have a clear idea how to keep Agent Cooper in the series, and with Lynch busy on over projects, the writers struggled throughout much of series two for the show to have a focus.
* The vast majority of [[SoapOpera soaps]] work on this principle. It's essentially the nature of doing a work "live." RealLifeWritesThePlot sometimes contributes to this trope, especially for things like pregnancies.
%%Do not re-add ''Series/{{Lost}}''. Word of God has disproved this. Even if the exact details weren't planned out, the team worked out an end date of a sixth season during production of season 3.
* ''Series/BreakingBad''. While the writing wasn't exactly freestyled episode-by-episode (barring Season 3), there were some notable instances:
** Jesse Pinkman was supposed to die somehow in Season 1, until Aaron Paul's acting chops convinced everyone to keep him on.
** Gus Fring was only supposed to be on for a few episodes in Season 3, but his actor (Giancarlo Esposito) demanded more.
** On that note, Gus Fring was created because Raymond Cruz (who plays Tuco) had to leave for his role on The Closer. Tuco was supposed to be the villain all of Season 2.
** When the M60 was introduced in Season 5, ''the writers had no idea how it would be used.''
*** A more minor bit in the same development: Walt takes off the watch Jesse gave him and leaves it on top of a pay phone, for literally no reason except that he hadn't been wearing it in the flashforward scene.
* Parodied in a ''Series/TheKidsInTheHall'' sketch, which warns the viewer that it was "written in haste," showing the writer frantically mashing a keyboard trying to finish it within the deadline. The scene is filled with nonsensical actions and garbled dialogue caused by the typos, such as a man taking off his "rubber boobs" and sitting down on a "chain."
* Aaron Sorkin does this. There's a story that when he was writing ''Series/TheWestWing'', he needed President Bartlet to be lying in bed for a scene -- and so gave the character ''multiple sclerosis.''
** Matt, his partial AuthorAvatar, does this in-universe in ''Series/Studio60OnTheSunsetStrip''.
* Many committee-led series will change plot and emphasise characters depending on audience responses to broadcast episodes. Sylar and Hiro in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' received such a favourable response they were given much larger roles in the long run [[spoiler:including Sylar being allowed to live beyond the Season 1 finale.]]
* A relatively small point: [[SuddenlyEthnicity declaring Elaine not to be Jewish]] in ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' was something Creator/LarryDavid or Creator/JerrySeinfeld or ''someone'' had literally just thought of when the opportunity came to write about "[[ShiksaGoddess Shiksappeal]]." She had previously been considered by the writers and inferred by the audience to be Jewish (after all, Creator/JuliaLouisDreyfus is Jewish).
* The series finale of ''Series/ThePrisoner'' was written in a trailer over a weekend. Not surprising that it's one of the most infamous {{Mind Screw}}s in television history.
* ''Series/TwentyFour'' was notoriously written on the fly, with the writers starting each season with practically no concrete idea where the thing was going to end up. Notably averted by Season 7, due to the 2007 Writers Strike and a year-long delay, resulting in a much more cohesive, planned-out storyline for that season.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'', partly by necessity. While an individual head-writer/producer might have individual plans, the show's LongRunner status means that this is a little bit necessary. For example, a lot of the things that have made the show so iconic, such as TheNthDoctor trope or the Daleks, weren't planned, but added as they went along.
* The creators of ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'' have commented that every season they start with simply the next page. Creator/ChuckLorre apparently has a motto that "This isn't ''Series/{{LOST}}''" and thus they keep everything in the moment and not holding out based on what they have planned. Although looking back it would be easy to believe they did plan out at least a season in advance, given the progression of Leonard and Penny's relationship in the first two seasons and how Howard started to mature in the second season which allows him to start a relationship with Bernadette in the third.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': The famous cliffhanger at the end of "[[Recap/StarTrekTheNextGenerationS3E26S4E1TheBestOfBothWorlds The Best of Both Worlds]] Part I" was due to the writers not knowing if Creator/PatrickStewart would return as Picard or not, forcing them to pause there and wait to write Part II by the seat of the pants once they found out about Stewart. Amusingly, Michael Piller, who wrote the finished script, had also decided to leave the show, and thought it was quite funny that he would be leaving the resolution to somebody else... and then he decided to stay on too, and suddenly had to come up with a resolution himself! Luckily, this turned out extremely well and the two-parter is still considered one of the entire ''Trek'' franchise's all-time greatest moments. [[FranchiseOriginalSin Not so luckily]], this encouraged the writers to ''keep on doing it'' at the end of each season on every ''Trek'' show from then on, which naturally had increasingly diminishing returns.
* ''Series/NYPDBlue'' was often written on set during filming due to head writer David Milch's drug use. "OK, you [Sipowitz] say this, and then you [Simone] say this in response." Actors wrote down their lines on scraps of paper in the squad room. Jimmy Smits and other actors quit over the hectic scheduling.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' starts with a DrivingQuestion of "How does Ted meet the future mother of his children?" and the creators were adamant that it would happen in the GrandFinale. The thing is they weren't sure how long they would get to tell this story and there were several admitted plans in place in case they were or were not renewed. Victoria of season one was outright confirmed to be the Mother in case the initial 13-episode order was all they had. Stella is theorized to also be a back-up Mother (given how they meet ties directly into the implied "MythArc") if season three was the end. Once ratings stabilized it seemed that the writers had a clear idea of how the show would end by introducing some more solid clues (the [[MilestoneCelebration 100th episode]] has Ted meeting the Mother's roommate and getting a lot of, still vague, information on her) but still had to keep things flexible because now they weren't sure ''when they were ending.''
* ''{{Series/LOST}}'''s pilot and first six episodes were written with only the vaguest of long-term planning (i.e. "Locke will find a hatch sometime, and there's a science compound, and maybe we'll reveal [[spoiler:two gods were playing a game the whole time]].") because Damon Lindelof admitted he didn't think [[{{Cancellation}} the show would last]]. He just cribbed the flashback structure from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' and wrote whatever interested him while waiting for the cancellation notice. However, when the ratings came in, he teared up in exasperation and asked, "You mean we have to keep doing this every week?!" He put in a call to his old boss, Carlton Cuse, who came onboard after "Confidence Man" and helped him sketch out a very rough outline, but they soldiered through the rest of the first season by ad-libbing it, including the infamous "numbers". It wasn't until the summer break that they spent a month planning out the rest of the MythArc.
** Lampshaded in a "Weekend Update" skit from ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'', where Amy Poehler reported that ''Lost'' had been renewed for another two seasons.
--> '''Poehler''': When reached for comment, the writers of ''Lost'' said: "[[OhCrap Crap]]."
* Speaking of which: ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'' is well-known for this as well, particularly in regards to its earlier years, being broadcast live and all. Most famously, sometimes writers would hide under the "Weekend Update" desk and hand new jokes to Creator/ChevyChase on the air.
* Julian Fellowes only writes the first half of each series of ''Series/DowntonAbbey'' ahead of time, then waits to see how the actors play off each other before writing the second half. Occasionally this has bitten him in the ass when he decides to expand a character's role only to discover the actor isn't available, most notably with Edith's paramour Gregson.
* Comes up InUniverse in the ''Series/StarTrekVoyager'' episode "[[{{Recap/StarTrekVoyagerS3E24WorstCaseScenario}} Worst Case Scenario]]" when Tom and Tuvok argue over whether it's better to thoroughly plan out a story or make it up on the fly.
* ''Series/{{The 100}}'' has ''twice'' filmed scenes (not merely planned, not merely written, actually ''filmed'') where Jasper dies, and both times the writers decided against it at the last minute, either cutting his death scene before the episode went to air or using the next episode to explain how he actually survived.
* The Season 4 premier of ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' ended with a flash-forward of Oliver standing over someone's grave, openly [[ManlyTears weeping]]. The writers/creators admitted they had no idea which member of Team Arrow was in the grave when they started, and only finally settled on it being [[spoiler:Laurel]] when they ran out of time and had to pick ''someone''. This was yet another thing about the death that angered the fandom.
* ''Series/RedDwarf'':
** The Season VI finale "[[Recap/RedDwarfSeasonVIOutOfTime Out of Time]]" was extremely rushed, and in fact on the night it was filmed before the live audience it still wasn't entirely complete, meaning the writers had to type the script directly onto autocues for the cast.
** Writer Doug Naylor repeatedly dithered over what the ending to Series VIII should be, having had to scrap his originally planned finale as the budget had run out. The ending they went with was so rushed the director had to step in to play a part using a costume nicked from another series; this replaced another ending which the cast were purportedly in costume, ready to film, when it was scrapped.
** Series X had all six scripts written and ready to go... but then the production found out they wouldn't be able to do any location filming (it being a choice between that and having a live audience for the studio records). Episodes 5 & 6 couldn't go ahead without the location filming, and they were both scrapped and had to be replaced with new episodes, written ''whilst the other four were being filmed''. Only half of the new episode 5, "Dear Dave", was able to be filmed in front of an audience ''because that was all that had been written'', and they had to go back later, shoot new scenes with greenscreen and splice it altogether. At the time the cast were being ''interviewed for the making-of documentary for the DVD'', they ''still'' weren't sure if they were going to be able to film everything.
*** To compound this, the ending of episode 4 required a chimp, who would be played by [[PantomimeAnimal an actor in a costume]]. Nobody realised that there were limits on how many hours he could work inside the chimp suit until the day of filming, meaning the original ending had to be thrown out and a new one written more or less on the spot.
* According to ''Creator/JJAbrams'', this was the case with Star Wars's sequel trilogy, as rather than plan the entire trilogy, the directors, writers and Katleen Kennedy ([=LucasArts=]' CEO) would finish filming one movie and then brainstorm ideas for the next one, leading to changes in tone, characterizations and writing style between ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' and ''Film/TheLastJedi''.

* The entire concept of "jamming": musicians will spontaneously come up with music to match an overarching, usually repetitive, tune going off of nothing more than their instinctive abilities.
* Music/ElvisCostello recorded the album ''Momofuku'' in six days. He joked that "the record was made so quickly that I didn't even tell myself about it for a couple weeks."
* Music/DavidBowie's preferred method of song writing. Tony Visconti, his long-time producer, confirmed that Bowie would often come to the studio with just a few chord changes and write the lyrics and vocal melodies on the hoof.
** Notably, his #1 hit collaboration with Music/{{Queen}}, "''Under Pressure''" was the result of a single night spent jamming with them - which was very different to the usual manner in which Queen made music.
* PostRock band Mogwai's first full-length album, ''Mogwai Young Team'', contains 10 songs, only 3 of which had been written before the album's recording sessions began.
* Songwriter Rod Temperton, who composed Music/MichaelJackson's hit "Thriller", wrote Creator/VincentPrice's spoken-word portion of the song mere ''hours'' before the recording session began! (The original idea had been for Price to essentially ad-lib "spooky" narration before producer Quincy Jones decided it would be better if he were to work from a script - a decision he made ''the day of''.)
* Martin O'Donnell, best known as the composer for the Creator/{{Bungie}}-era ''{{Franchise/Halo}}'' games, tends to not write or compose music for projects until late in development, once the story, cutscenes, and level design have been finalized. The reason for this is because he doesn't like to waste work; writing music for levels or cutscenes that will get cut out or rearranged will either mess with the flow of a piece or become pointless effort. Fast writing has worked for him in the past; the iconic ''Halo'' theme was written and recorded the same day it was sent to Bungie for E3 2000, and much of the acclaimed music for ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'' was described by him as "starting last minute".
* Music/KurtCobain felt lyrics were less important and would often write or change the lyrics for {{Music/Nirvana}} songs at the last minute. On the other hand, he spent a long time on the music itself, especially the melodies.
* One of the more well known stage-antics of Music/DieArzte is to play around with their lyrics and sometimes even melodies in ways that may or may not be planned in advance. Given the amount of {{corpsing}} it usually involves, most is probably spontaneous.
* Music/BenFolds is prone to improvising an entire song in concert whenever a fan tells him to ''[[CreatorInJoke ROCK THIS BITCH!]]'' Awesome enough, but then the new tour has Y Music, a classical group, accompanying him, taking it to [[UpToEleven a whole 'nother level of awesomeness.]]
* Early Music/{{U2}} songs were often improvised by Bono on the spot (a famous example: "New Year's Day.")
* The majority of Music/IronMaiden's album ''The Book of Souls'' was written, rehearsed once or twice and then recorded right on the spot- mostly so the band could keep a feeling of freshness and spontaniety in the music. Only two songs were pre-planned- the two Dickinson compostions, "If Eternity Should Fail" (which was originally meant to be a solo album track) and the closing [[EpicRocking 18-minute]] "Empire of the Clouds" (which took at least a month or two to write and was composed on a piano).

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* In pro wrestling jargon this trope is referred to as "hotshot booking" or "hotshotting." While there are many examples of hotshotting in the industry, one of the more famous occasions was during the WCW vs. WWF rivalry in the late 90's, when shows were often changed on the fly in response to something the competing federation was up to.
* The position late 2013/early 2014 [[Wrestling/BryanDanielson Daniel Bryan]] has been in smacks of this. After setting up a seemingly interesting storyline between a now-{{heel}} Wrestling/TripleH (playing the CorruptCorporateExecutive) and a [[TheChosenOne chosen champion]] Wrestling/RandyOrton, Bryan got shoved into the background of his own feud after the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view and basically sat on the sidelines (feuding with Wrestling/TheWyattFamily) during the run-up to the TLC event (where Orton and Wrestling/JohnCena were scheduled to unify the WWE and World Heavyweight championships). Fan reaction towards this was overwhelmingly negative and only got louder when Wrestling/{{Batista}} returned and won the Royal Rumble (at a time when everyone expected Bryan to pull it off). Eventually this fan reaction hit home in the creative department and Bryan's very short [[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor two week face-heel-face turn]] in January[[note]]Apparently caused by sports fans using the "YES!" chants at games[[/note]] and the leadup to [=WrestleMania=] XXX is showing a drastic change in plans from the original blueprints. It's likely had things gone as were planned, the main event of Batista vs. Orton at [=WrestleMania=] would have been the end result.

* This is how Creator/DouglasAdams wrote the original radio scripts for ''Radio/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy''. Apparently, he'd often still be rewriting the ends of episodes as the cast were recording the beginning. According to a making-of feature, the actor who was supposed to play the Ruler of the Universe (who appears in the final minutes of the last episode of season two) actually ''went home'' because it took Adams so long to finish the script. The role was cast by handing the pages to the one actor still in the studio who didn't have another part in that scene. In fact, the second series' deadlines for the scripts were so tight that his producers essentially locked him in a hotel room to force him to hit them.
** Adams would often lock himself in a small office next to the toilets to finish scripts. This, combined with the fact that the scripts were handed to the actors on little pieces of crinkly paper, [[UnfortunateImplications led to the not unreasonable supposition among the cast that the scripts were written on toilet paper]].
** Extremely major characters were accidentally created this way - Zaphod Beeblebrox first appears in Fit The First as the person to whom a quote about Pan-Galactic {{Gargle Blaster}}s is attributed in one of the story's many {{Cutaway Gag}}s, with the hint 'we will learn more of his wisdom later'. After having both Ford and Arthur chucked out of an airlock into space with no spacesuits as a cliffhanger just because he thought it would be funny, and being unable to come up with a solution for saving them that wasn't a total DeusExMachina, he decided to exploit the improbability of their being saved by coming up with a spaceship powered entirely by improbability, creating the Infinite Improbability Drive. In order to find a pilot for the ship, he quickly grabbed the name Zaphod Beeblebrox to make it look like {{Foreshadowing}}, fleshed out his position in an interesting way, and added in the character of Trillian to act as a ''Doctor Who''-like companion figure for him.

* ''UsefulNotes/NaNoWriMo'', the National Novel Writing Month challenge, actually advises this as a way to complete it. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days during the month of November; as such, some writing by the seat of your pants is not only expected, but encouraged. "NoPlotNoProblem" is their ''official motto''.
* The [[BigBulkyBomb Tsar Bomba]] was designed while it was being built, due to having mere ''weeks'' to build the biggest nuke ever detonated.
* Various artistic-based organizations have festivals designed to test the flexibility, speed and improvisational skills of those who enter, giving them a limited amount of time to complete a project that normally takes weeks or months. Theater groups have 12-24 hour festivals to write and develop a scene for the stage. Film societies have 48 Hour festivals where groups have two days to write, shoot and edit a short film. Game jams are 24 hour festivals where game devs have to ''yadda yadda'' a finished game.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* An interview with Creator/InsomniacGames said that the original [[VideoGame/RatchetAndClank2002 Ratchet and Clank game]] had no real writer on board for it. The dev team just made up the story and characters as they went and carefully streamlined the story to make it ''seem'' like they were planned out from the start, even if they really weren't. For example, the opening cutscene was one of the ''last'' made for the game, and it was put in so late in development that they didn't even have time to record new dialogue for it.
** The rest of the games prior to ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankFutureToolsOfDestruction Tools of Destruction]]'' (where they finally hired a professional writer to pen their scripts) had their stories made in a similar fashion. For example, one of the biggest plot points of ''[[VideoGame/RatchetAndClankGoingCommando Going Commando]]'' (that being [[spoiler:Captain Qwark was the real villain along]]) wasn't added until midway through the games development.
* This was the case with much of the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' series. Different interviews with writers across the series reveals that many things about the series' overall plot and some bits of lore was more or less constantly in flux and changed around quite a bit as members of the writing team were added or left (most notably the lead writer for the first ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', Drew Karpyshyn, left around half-way through the production of [[VideoGame/MassEffect2 the second game]] and was replaced by Mac Walters). According to interviews in the interactive documentary about [[VideoGame/MassEffect the third game]], ''Final Hours'', the ([[BrokenBase quite controversial]]) ending was not decided upon up until a few months before the game's release.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'', especially at the beginning, when it was just filler.
* ''Webcomic/CheckPlease'''s creator has stated that she has planned the most important plot point very thoroughly, but everything in between is pretty much this.
* ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' is written without a StripBuffer, so the creators can stay up-to-date on gaming news. Different reason for the trope, same idea. It helps that it's a gag-a-day strip, rather than needing any sort of continuity.
* {{Interactive Comic}}s:
** ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'', especially in the earlier adventures. The latest adventure, ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', is the only one to have any sort of planning before being written, having started with the four central characters, their [[WeaponOfChoice weapons of choice]], some [[InventoryManagementPuzzle general]] [[ItemCrafting game]] [[RealityWarper mechanics]], and a handful of plot points, including an ending, worked out beforehand. The rest of the universe-spanning, time-traveling, chronology-fucking, nearly 9000 pages of extremely convoluted plot has been made along the way.
** ''Webcomic/SilentHillPromise'' is written similarly to ''Webcomic/MSPaintAdventures'', updating daily using commands from readers.
* ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' gets points for being a Monday through Friday comic that is not only drawn without a StripBuffer, but is written and drawn by Jeph Jacques literally the night before. Sometimes if he's struck by a burst of inspiration, he'll do two comics in a day, waiting to post the second one, and sometimes if he's stuck for an idea he won't start drawing until 3 AM...
* This is [[Webcomic/{{Walkyverse}} David]] [[Webcomic/DumbingOfAge Willis']] method of writing, as he goes into detail about [[http://itswalky.tumblr.com/post/21196582462/whats-your-general-routine-for-writing-drawing-a here]]
* Webcomic ''Webcomic/TheTruthAboutBleach'' mocks Bleach's tendency to do this:
-->'''Karin''': (Trying to pick up on a dropped plot point) Can I get in there and continue the plot.
-->'''Kubo''': Screw the plot! The rankings dropped! Now I'm drawing this!"
-->'''Karin''': See, this is the kind of plot hole inducing mind set we were talking about before.
-->'''Kubo''': Worry not!! [[ComicallyMissingThePoint I will fix it with an awesome plot twist later!!]]
* Creator/UrsulaVernon has gone on record as saying she expected ''Webcomic/{{Digger}}'' to be over in the first twelve pages or so. Needless to say, it wasn't-- it took four years and almost eight hundred pages for Digger's story to be fully told, and that's not counting the side stories that went in the printed editions.
-->'''TheRant:''' ''On the off chance that anybody thinks that this is the end of a dreadfully cunning six-year plan, conceived when first I wrote the lines about [[ChekhovsGun the lefthand names of God and purple ink]] - let me just say "BWHAAHAHAHAHA...no."''
* Repeatedly on the forum for ''Webcomic/TheWhiteboard'', Doc Nickel has admitted that he makes up the strips as they go, without any previous planning. This has occasionally resulted in an AbortedArc like one year's Thanksgiving storyline.
* ''WebComic/TheAdventuresOfDrMcNinja'' [[ZigzaggedTrope may or may not be this]]. [[http://drmcninja.com/archives/comic/31p05/ Observe...]]
-->'''Dr. McNinja''': I should leave. How...do I leave?\\
''(EstablishingShot of McNinja imprisoned in a small circular cell chained to the ocean floor)''\\
'''AltText''': [[AC:Ha ha, honestly I haven't figured that out yet. Good luck.]]
* ''Webcomic/ZombieRoomie'': The author makes it clear he never really plans out any of his stories and just writes from life experiences more or less. This is the reason why some story arcs pause mid-way through for some irrelevant one shots.
* ''Webcomic/ForestHill'': The author originally planned for the comic to mostly be a lighthearted slice of life comic, until the author realized that the violent and possibly sexual behavior of TheBully Benni, could be a sign that he was being abused. This ends up turning into a PlotTumor, as Benni become a main character and the comic begins a story arc dealing with the topic of child abuse. The author eventually added a content warning to website due to the comic no longer being appropriate for children to read without permission from a parent.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Many online roleplays.
** The trip to the past in [[http://www.greylabyrinth.com/discussion/viewtopic.php?t=14310 What Time Remembered]] was entirely made up on the spot.
* The ''{{Toys/BIONICLE}}'' serials are apparently written like this, although the main plot is carefully planned out years in advance. The serials tend to cover the lesser-known characters and don't affect the main story much, so they are able to have this sort of freedom.
** Now, as there is no main plot to be told, the serials took over. This means the entire story has become an example.
* ''Roleplay/DarwinsSoldiers'': [[WordOfGod Serris]] states that ''nearly everything'' he write was improvised on the fly, ''including the two sequels''.
* [[Website/TheAgonyBooth Mr. Mendo's Hack Attack]], nowadays, is completely improvised and more or less created entirely through the editing process. Ironically, this has led to new episodes coming out more frequently.
* Creator/{{Wildbow}}, author of ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', makes a point of this as one way of making the writing process more interesting for himself. Virtually every chapter of Worm is written just the day before publishing, often finishing shortly before the midnight deadline, and he has set himself a minimum-length of 6000 words. He has missed an update only twice-both by mere minutes, and both times due to technical issues.
** Despite this, much of the plot itself was planned out prior to writing; [[WhamEpisode Interlude 26]] had been planned for since the very beginning, according to WordOfGod.
* The storyline [[GratuitousJapanese "manga"]] on ''Website/GaiaOnline'' tells an unbelievably convoluted story. It's so twisty and [[ShockingSwerve swerve-y]], in fact, that the writers and artists responsible for pushing out storyline updates have joked that even they stopped paying attention to what happens at some point or other.
* ''{{Literature/Moonflowers}}'' was essentially written from the summary, with a loose plot outline that runs on {{Rules Lawyer}}ing, LoopholeAbuse, and RuleOfScary. This is largely due to the antagonists being TheFairFolk, who [[BlueAndOrangeMorality aren't known for conforming to human logic]].
* The ''WebVideo/VinesauceTomodachiLife'' series is a rare case where this is enforced. ''VideoGame/TomodachiLife'' leaves many events and outcomes to the RandomNumberGod, so any number of plot twists and character traits are established with no real foreshadowing (for the most part). Since Vinny is livestreaming the game and can't [[SaveScumming save scum]] his way out of certain events, he ends up being just as surprised as the viewers are by them. Essentially, the series writes itself on the fly. Around Episode 47, [[spoiler:near the start of the Jahn invasion]], Vinny starts playing the game offscreen to manipulate things to demonstrate [[spoiler:the Jahn's takeover]]. Even then, he still relies on coincidental random events to strengthen the plot.
* In the ''LetsPlay/HoboBros''' "Hobo Theatre" videos, this is the whole point. Luke has to tell a story using ''VideoGame/GarrysMod'' props and characters while Kevin reads a list of words or phrases that Luke has to work into the story.
* This is how ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' tends to do some of its plot. While some things were set from day one, such as [[spoiler:Pyrrha's death]], others, like the Maidens, were thought up at different points of production.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/FelineFollies, the debut film of WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat, was improvised by Creator/OttoMessmer in a very short period of time, so that producer Pat Sullivan could give Paramount Screen Magazine a new cartoon to fill in for another series that was running late. Everything in the cartoon, except for the inking, was done by Otto Messmer himself on weekends.
** According to Don Oriolo, the son of the TV WesternAnimation/FelixTheCat showrunner Joe Oriolo, the Trans-Lux cartoons had absolutely grueling production schedules to go hand in hand with the [[NoBudget low budgets of 6,700$ per episode]]--they had to churn out a few episodes of the show every ''week'' (one animator was reported to have been doing around 150 feet--or around 2 minutes of animation--per week). The scripts for each episode were written in ''hours'', hence why there was so much inconsistency between the Professor being Felix's sworn enemy, and then hiring him as a helper now and then.
-->"It's sort of the same concept as Bluto being friendly to Popeye in a couple of episodes. It just happened by way of scripts that were churned out in hours. Don't forget they were doing a few episodes a week. They didn't overthink anything or analyze anything because there was nothing ''to'' analyze. They were creating what is our history now—-and didn't think of the ramifications!"
** The Felix the Cat comic books Creator/OttoMessmer and Joe Oriolo worked on likewise had grueling work schedules that forced them to make up stories as they went--they were expected to turn out one completed script per ''day''.
* Animator Kurt Wiley said that the Australian animated series ''Crocadoo'' had an insanely tight production schedule, almost as bad as the aforementioned Joe Oriolo Felix cartoons--they had one week to complete each episode. And unlike the six-minute Felix cartoons, these were entire half-hour episodes!
** He also added that some of the Creator/AdultSwim shows have some of the tightest deadlines in the industry, with entire half-hour episodes having to be completed in a ''single day''.
* According to one of the head writers of ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'', Charles M. Howell, each of the 52 half-hour episodes only had one week to prepare a script for them. Despite this, they ended up going four months over schedule.
* According to the DVDBonusContent, ''WesternAnimation/{{Freakazoid}}'' was written with very little planning because of time constraints.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'' creator Creator/JohnKricfalusi had a story titled "Wilderness Adventure" rejected three times by Creator/{{Nickelodeon}}, and, because of it, he improvised the outline for "Fire Dogs" in an afternoon.
* ''WesternAnimation/YellowSubmarine'' began production without an ending.
* Most episodes of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' are pitched, storyboarded, written, animated, voice-recorded, and put on the air in the stretch of about one single week, one episode at a time. In contrast, most animated series take nine months per episode, with several episodes being in various stages of production at any given moment. This is why ''South Park'''s topical humor is more current than, say, what ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' does. The only time this trope backfired on them was when "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers" from season 17 had to be postponed due to a power outage.
* The writers of ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' admitted in DVDBonusContent that they were winging it as they were going along. They also said that things went UpToEleven around the time of the season finales as they weren't always sure they would get renewed for another season so they just adopted a "kill them all, let Hasbro sort it out" view when writing these episodes. This led to one particularly infamous moment where Inferno is '''utterly vaporized''' in a scene ''clearly'' intended to be a death scene. In the next season he turns up burnt but otherwise unharmed.
* If WordOfGod is anything to go by, ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' is half carefully plotted out and half completely made up on the fly. This leads to such things as Princess Bubblegum turning 13 then being turned back to normal in the next episode because the writers weren't sure what to do with a plot point like that or Lemongrab becoming a full-blown cast member despite being intended to never appear again after his introductory episode.
* Creator/GenndyTartakovsky claims that he was so stressed out trying to manage his own television series for the first time with ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'', that he was constantly beating out stories that he never got to see the completed forms of until they aired on TV.