Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker undoubtedly follows some rule for a title that grabs reader interest, but in fact, it refers to the terminology “pantsy” which means flying by the seat of your pants when writing a novel rather than making an outline first. Also known as winging it. Creative geniuses would say making outlines stifles creativity but we are not all creative geniuses. If I were to venture into the world of writing, I prefer the more systematic approach offered by Hawker. Besides, I learned a lot of writer terminology from this book. For example, there is a detailed explanation of character arc.
The writing style in this advice book is quite down-to-earth, in-your-face, and entertaining. In response to a flurry of reader questions, Hawker offers a generic reply and expands with (paraphrase) “You only paid 2.99 for the book (maybe read it “for free” on KU) so don’t expect me to do the work for you.”
There is solid practical advice supported by an interesting range of examples as Hawker demonstrates how her advice can be applied. Examples from J.K. Rowlings, Dr. Seuss, Vladimir Nabokov, E. B. White, and her own published work are used to show a universal usefulness for suggested methodology.
I read this book after reading Gotta Read It also by Libbie Hawker. I like the straight to the point nature of her advice and her interesting caveat. (Again paraphrased) she writes “This works for me. This has worked for me. If you think you have a better system, go for it. But you might want to look at this one.”
I love being given permission. And I have started making an outline which looks remarkably like the template offered by Ms. Hawker.