Colleen’s 2019 #Book #Reviews – “Take Off Your Pants! Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing” by Author, Libbie Hawker, @LibHawker

Featuring your next weekend read!

About “Take Off Your Pants!”

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.

This Revised Edition includes answers to the most popular questions regarding Libbie Hawker’s outlining method.

Amazon.com

My Recommendation

I started out writing as pantser, believing that outlining my novels would stymie my creativity. Until the day I realized I didn’t know where my story was going. Sure, I had a great story idea, but I didn’t have enough of a framework from which to tell the story. I also recognized that I hadn’t thought out my characters in enough detail.

Now, my writing was at a complete stop. My confidence dropped to an all-time low. I almost gave up!

I knew I needed to learn how to outline in a way that increased my speed and confidence in writing my books. After reading six or seven different books about outlining, I grew more discouraged.

One day, I stumbled upon a blog post that led me to a link for Libby Hawker’s book, “Take Off Your Pants!”

I read this book in one day, and suddenly the veil lifted. I guess I had one of those aha moments! The plot, the story, the outline – it all became crystal clear!

Hawker teaches that every story must contain five things:

“A character, the character wants something, but something prevents him from getting what he wants easily, so he struggles against that force, and either succeeds or fails.”

Hawker, Libbie. Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing: Revised Edition (pp. 24-25). Running Rabbit Press. Kindle Edition.

Step by step, Hawker instructs the writer on each stage of the character arc in clear, concise language. What I seemed to be missing was the anatomy of the story, how that flowed into the plot, and finally into the outline.

Hawker also shares accessible examples from books we all know and love; such as E. B. White’s “Charlotte’s Web,” L. Frank Baum’s “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird, Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita,” along with J. K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” These examples helped me understand the mechanics of good plotting.

“Take Off Your Pants!” changed my thinking process along with my understanding of the aspects of storytelling. The book is as good as taking a class in creative writing. Read the reviews. This book is ranked:

Libby Hawker wants writers to succeed. You know how I know this? “Take Off Your Pants!” is sold for $.99 U.S. Most authors charge much more than that. I know, because I’ve invested in plenty of books and in the end, I still didn’t have a clear path to outlining.

Are you struggling with your characters, your plot, or your character arcs? How about your outline? Fret no more! Get this book. You’ll be glad you did.

My Rating

*I follow the Amazon Rating System*

Colleen's Book ReviewsRating System

About the Author

Author, Libby Hawker

Libbie Hawker writes historical and literary fiction featuring complex characters and rich details of time and place. She lives in the San Juan Islands of Washington State, but has previously lived in Seattle; Bellingham, WA; Tacoma, WA; and Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Although the majority of her books are self-published, she also partners with Lake Union Publishing on select titles.

She has held a broad and bizarre range of “day jobs” while pursuing a career as a novelist. Included among these are zoo keeper, show dog handler, bookseller, and yarn dyer. 

Libbie’s writerly influences are varied, and include Hilary Mantel, Vladimir Nabokov, Annie Dillard, Michael Ondaatje, George R. R. Martin, songwriter Neko Case, and mixed-media storyteller Chris Onstad, among others.

Amazon Author Page: Libbie Hawker

How to Connect with the Author

Blog: Olivia Hawker/Libby Hawker: Hawkerbooks.com

Facebook Page: Libbie Hawker & L. M. Ironside

Twitter: @LibHawker

Now I can start work on my newest creation!
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About Colleen M. Chesebro

Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist & Poet who loves writing paranormal fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, syllabic poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet. A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Faery Writer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams. Colleen won the “Little and Laugh” Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the Carrot Ranch Literary Community on November 2017, and in 2018, she won first place for the “Twisted Travel” category. Colleen lives in Arizona with her husband. When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art. Learn more about Colleen on colleenchesebro.com.
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23 Comments

  1. I keep my pants on while drafting, then take them off for revision. (I’m a reverse outliner.)

  2. Fantastic, Colleen. I used to just sit down and write until I got to the same position you were in. I need this book, thank you for sharing. xxx

  3. Thanks for sharing Colleen. I have plans to structure more in the third book in my Curse of Time series… whenever I have time to complete it!

  4. I read this book a few years ago and highly recommend. Love how it’s laid out in simple terms without lots of filler stuff. <3 xx

  5. Definitely sounds like an terrific reference book… thanks Collen.

  6. I think this book will help to resolve any questions you may have. I’m literally teaching myself how to plan, plot, etc. with this book. I read a few reviews from creative writing teachers who recommend this book to their students. It sure turned the light on for me. LOL! I can’t wait to hear what you think. <3

  7. Thanks for sharing, Colleen, I’m struggling with the structure of the last book in my Five Kingdoms series, and I could do with a little help, so I’ve bought it.
    Besides, with a title like that, who wouldn’t???
    Like you, I began as a pantser, but once I got past book #1, I realised I needed to do at least a little plotting. Now I’m starting to accept it is the way to faster writing, because once I know where I’m going, the words flow with no problem. I am a reluctant convert, but a convert, none-the-less.

  8. Great review. It sounds like a book we can all use at some point

  9. I have my own method, but usually have more success with tighter outlines. I’m kind of the odd man out, because I storyboard, but it works for me. I find writing tomes much like you do. Sometimes you just have to find the right person to explain it before it all makes sense.

  10. Sounds like an interesting book!

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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