There are writers who outline and stick closely to that outline throughout the writing process. And, then, there are writers who follow a different, and equally valid, creative process. Writers in the second category feel stifled by outlines, preferring their stories to develop with greater spontaneity.
Thanks to Annalisa Parent, now there is a name for writers in that second category. They are pantsers, people who write and develop “by the seat of the pants”. Ms. Parent has written Storytelling For Pantsers to encourage productivity and combat the issues that can occur for these writers. She balances writerly wisdom with humor and positive reinforcement to create a highly readable book about craft.
Early on, Ms. Parent makes an analogy about writing using her mother’s spaghetti sauce. Although the recipe is not written down, her mother knows instinctively which ingredients to add and in what amounts. This is similar to the way pantsers approach writing. Appropriately, key points in the text are repeated under the heading of Secret Sauce.
There are also a number of free worksheets and handouts with such titles as Finding The Confidence To Write and How To Publish.
Ms. Parent makes it clear that writing without an outline does not mean less work. The sections on craft are quite detailed about the need for revision, and what should take place during revision as opposed to first draft. There is a recommendation in the text to read through the book a couple of times before applying its methods to a work in progress. I second that.
Although there were many sections in the book that I thought insightful, I found the comments about description to be the most useful. In particular, I thought Ms. Parent’s ideas about handling setting to be something that would benefit my own writing.
I would have no problem recommending this book to a non-pantser. The insights given under the section on craft could be read and appreciated by any serious writer. I think the concepts might be challenging for first-time writers, but I tend to be an outliner. No doubt, some pantsers out there will prove me wrong.
Storytelling For Pantsers ( ISBN # 1947482017) by Annalisa Parent is published by Laurel Elite Books. You can order it at this link https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074JHNCXQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B074JHNCXQ&linkCode=as2&tag=themasterdesign&linkId=ba57ec06d6f2e246754eac2275ca5541