Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing by Libbie Hawker
Genre; Non-Fiction (Writing)
When it comes to writing books, are you a “plotter” or a “pantser?” Is one method really better than the other?
In this instructional ebook, author Libbie Hawker explains the benefits and technique of planning a story before you begin to write. She’ll show you how to develop a foolproof character arc and plot, how to pace any book for a can’t-put-down reading experience, and how to ensure that your stories are complete and satisfying without wasting time or words.
Hawker’s outlining technique works no matter what genre you write, and no matter the age of your audience. If you want to improve your writing speed, increase your backlist, and ensure a quality book before you even write the first word, this is the how-to book for you.
Take off your pants! It’s time to start outlining.
I first heard of this book on one of the podcasts I listen to (I can’t for the life of me remember which one!). I then heard about it again from crime author SJI Holliday who read it and raved about it on Twitter. It was at that point I decided I needed to read it myself.
Shallow Waters was written as a ‘pants’ book. Hannah Robbins 2 is currently being written with a plot already in place as I thought I would try it the other way around this time and see which way I preferred working. I can tell you, I’m preferring being a plotter. It is much easier to know where you’re going and no, it isn’t stunting my ‘artistic flair’. That I can use in each and every chapter I write.
Anyway, back to the book we are talking about, or at least how it fits into writing Hannah 2 . I’m close to completing the novel and thought I’d read Take Off Your Pants to see if it could help tighten up my plan for the ending so I could write it faster. After a stressful year with my medical retirement from the police, I’m a little behind my own schedule so I’m feeling the pressure. Take Off Your Pants is a comprehensive book that not only shows you how to outline your novel but explains how to make it a deep, rich and cohesive experience for the reader.
Libbie Hawker uses simple language and explains what she is telling you by showing you how it has been done in previously published books like (two very different books) Charlotte’s Web and Lolita. She takes you through character arcs, theme, and story core as well as plot and at the end she shows you one of the plans for her own novels. It looks so simple. She makes it all sound like childs play!
When I finished reading the book I instantly started adding to the bare outline I had, fleshing out the part I had left to write in the way Hawker had explained and I’m now typing away finishing the novel.
If you’re interested in outlining, if you’ve never done it or you’d like to look at how someone else does it and compare it to how you work and see if you can combine the two, to enhance your working life, then I’d say this is a great book to try.
I’m always looking to learn, so I imagine there will be more writing books reviewed on here, and I’ll take what I need from each of them.
This looks great Rebecca! I’m really structures when it comes to writing by books and an outline with scene and character outlines within it is crucial for me. I’ll definitely be checking this one out and seeing if I can pick up some extra tips- thanks for sharing.
Alex J. Cavanaugh (@AlexJCavanaugh) says
I could not write without an outline. My stories would wander into the desert and never return. Sounds like the book would add depth to those outlines. I’ll download it sometime today.
Margot Kinberg says
This sounds really useful, Rebecca. I tend to be a planner, myself, and it’s always good to get some new ideas for doing it well. Thanks for sharing.
I’m somewhere between a plotter and a pantser – I have an overall story/ending in mind and I plan each section in detail, but I don’t do a detailed plan of the whole thing as I find it changes so much when I get into it. That said, I’m slightly losing my way on my current WIP, so maybe some plotting would do the trick – will give this book a go, thanks!
Reblogged this on Pam Plumb and commented:
This is a much better review of ‘Take Off Your Pants!’ than I could write about this fantastic resource, one method that I hope will help me with my writing and motivation- thanks Rebecca!
Sounds like a book which is worth more than a glance from anyone wanting to write a book. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.