Monday, August 29, 2016

Take Off Your Pants!

As many of you know, I do NOT have the brain of a plotter! I've never started writing a story with more than a few scenes in mind. I generally know the ending, the beginning, the backstories of the 2 MCs and maybe another scene. Because I know I'm working toward a happy ending, I have the end goal in sight and off I go.

There are several BIG problems with working this way, but the biggest is that editing takes forever and I never have much an overall game plan to guide me. I need more.

Recently, someone pointed me to Take Off Your Pants: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker.

As the title implies, it's a plotting books for people who don't plot. It's making sense (mostly) to my brain! YAY!

Some of it is a little too visual for a kinaesthetic learner like me (inverted triangles, I'm looking at you!), but I'm starting to get the hang of it.

I've followed the book through for an older story I knew wasn't working It didn't take long for me to realize the big issue in the story and it's helping me work out a way to solve it while keeping true to the story itself (which I love).

For the first time, I have some hope that I may be able to tighten up the pacing in my stories without driving myself completely crazy.

How about you? What resources do you use for plotting & outlining? Or, do you?

37 comments:

  1. I have that book although I haven't read it. (I'm a dedicated outliner. Couldn't write without one.) Glad it's helping you.

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    1. It's feeling good right now! We'll see :)

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  2. Sounds like a good book to have. Glad that's it has pointed you in the right direction.

    Thoughts in Progress
    and MC Book Tours

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  3. Wow, I just saw a post today that was meant for pantsters! http://writersinthestormblog.com/2016/08/craft-books-for-pantsers/ This sounds like one that should be on the list!

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  4. I struggle with plotting and pacing in my longer works. I'm working on it, though, and hopefully will have a better handle on it come NaNo time. :)

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    1. I love NaNo!!! Don't know where I'll be in November, but I love joining in the fun!

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  5. Oh, how exciting for you!
    I'd put myself about halfway between plotter and pantser. I found John Truby's Anatomy of Story very helpful.

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    1. That's the book that Libbie Hawker recommends in this book!! I'll have to check it out. Thanks :)

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  6. I get that you're supposed to plot big time. I've read some awesome writers might spend 2 years outlining. It just doesn't work for me. My stories come alive as I write, truly. I pause occasionally and work on that very rough outline I started cuz I was supposed to, but really, it's a time waster for me. :-)

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    1. Denise - I'm similar, but I can NEVER get the pacing right. I've always got lags and gaps and I'm hoping this will help me tighten it all up! :)

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  7. some of the popular YA writers, if not all, should, methinks, read it too, I swear some of them have the writing level of a 10 year old bad pupil

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    1. We're definitely reading different YA books! I've been super impressed by almost of the writing I've encountered!

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    2. I did Aveyard, Marie Lu, Tahereh Mafi, Casandra Claire for my publishers... they're all extremely flawed writers, some of them to the point of being ridiculous :( Mafi, for example, would fail miserably at my classes, if she was my student.

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  8. I remember Libbie from back when we both used to be on Absolute Write all the time! I believe she's also proving to be a success story as a self-published author who is able to make a living from her writing. Keep us posted on how this works for you!

    I can't say I really have a resource anymore, or that I ever did. I read a fair number of writing books, but I can't say I have any that I go back to--I just write.

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    1. That's awesome!
      I do as well, but my nature is to fix things, not make things worse, and that doesn't help the book get better!! :)

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  9. I am certainly an outliner. I will check this out. I was drawn in by your title--hee hee.

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    1. LOL - yay!!! I wonder how many people have been a bit surprised by the content!! :)

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  10. Gotta giggle at the title! My current "go to" for story structure is a fab book called INTO THE WOODS A FIVE-ACT JOURNEY INTO STRUCTURE by John Yorke. It's amaze!

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    1. I know - I love the title! :)
      Sounds great - thanks!!

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  11. This looks like a helpful read. I use a chapter outline that I found online. I've used it for all my books except my first.

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    1. I've just never found anything that is compatible with my brain - hoping this one works! :)

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  12. Hey Jemi,

    That book seems like a plot in itself. Whatever that means.

    Never plot or outline writing. I leave that up to a certain celebrity dog.

    Do I drop my pants here...here for dry cleaning?

    Have a good Labour Day weekend, Jemi.

    Gary :)

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    1. Penny does such a good job on the writing, I don't think you'll ever have need of such book!!
      And... you might be better off at the actual dry cleaners!!! :)

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  13. Whatever it takes to make a good story, I'm for that. Glad you're finding a way to re-work that story so you're happy with it.

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    1. Thanks Lee. I know the problems, but I'm hopeful this is helping me solve them!!!

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  14. Jemi, what works for you in the best thing for you to do :)

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  15. Hi Jemi! I clicked through and read about that book and then bought it. Thanks for sharing about it.

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    1. Yay! I'm really finding it helpful! Hope it works for you as well!!! :)

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  16. This sounds like a great resource and I am glad it is helping you with your technique. :) I can see how editing would be tough!
    ~Jess

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