Haha–I really just wanted to shout that into the interwebs. Honestly: keep your pants on.
So I’ve been reading voraciously (and not just fiction–I’m branching out!) on the topics of writing and self-publishing, and I’ve come across a real gem. It’s called “Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Better, Faster Writing”. If you aren’t a writer, you’re probably thinking, “Duh, of course an outline comes before you write anything.” If you are a writer, then you’re probably already sitting on one side of the fence or the other: plotters (people who outline first) versus pantsers (those who fly by the seat of their pants while they’re writing).
No matter how much I’ve dreamed about being a meticulous, organized plotter, I’ve always been a full-blown pantser. (For some reason this term makes me think of someone who’s always late wherever she goes. You know, someone who drives around putting her mascara on at stoplights with a clutch of dried-up car fresheners swinging from the rearview mirror as the cars behind her honk at her for holding up a green light. This girl might even have a few empty, sticky Slurpee cups rolling around under her seats, and she never bothered to take the carseat out of the back even though her youngest kid is nine years old. Not that there’s anything wrong with that girl, but absolutely NONE of those things apply to me, so I kind of feel like, “How in the heck am I a pantser? By nature I should be a plotter!” And I probably should be.)
In my quest to get better at every aspect of writing and the biz, I’ve got several books/samples of books going on my iPad right now, and I’m bookmarking blogs and websites as references like a crazy woman. But I really wanted to share this book as a solid foundation for writing for those who might be drifting out there in Pantser-land like I’ve been. I think I write pretty decent, character-driven stories, but I definitely fall down on the job a little bit when it comes to ramping up the protagonist/antagonist drama, making my character arc really clear (and interesting) and picking a flaw for my main character that is more than just a superficial stumbling block. (Er, that little declaration there just made me sound like a terrible writer. I don’t think I am, but I know I have a lot to learn; I think most of us do!)
So I’m spending this gorgeous, summer-like spring Saturday thinking and re-thinking the foundations behind my two works-in-progress, and finishing up “Take Off Your Pants!” I just wanted to throw that book out there for anyone who might be struggling with creating a solid writing skeleton to hang the meat on. Check it out: Libbie Hawker. Great book. Now go put your pants back on!