Take Off Your Pants by Libbie Hawker

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing - Libbie Hawker

I’ve always been a pantser  i.e writing my fiction by the seat of my pants and refusing to plan. I felt planning would disrupt the flow of creativity, but increasingly I’ve been becoming frustrated by my lack of progress and felt planning may be the key to changing this. Time will tell if it’ll work, but I have already begun to implement the advice here and will let you know in a future post if it’s been successful.


I first became interested in Libbie Hawker when she was featured on a YouTube channel I watch, being interviewed by Joanne Penn. She described a method of planning which doesn’t curb your creativity and means you can write at a much quicker speed. She said that she wrote a 100,000 word manuscript in three weeks using this method!


The book is quite short at just 108 pages, but this is all that was really needed to convey the point.


She outlines a method that has the protagonist’s flaw at the core. After deciding on the flaw, the writer then considers the protagonists external goal, antagonist and ally. Every chapter is geared around this internal flaw and follows an inverted triangle formula with each of these characters driving the narrative


She then went on to list what scenes should appear in the novel, such as the opening scene, inciting event, display of flaw etc. The idea is that if the novel includes these it will follow a pattern that is the mainstay of good fiction and because the writer just has a general idea of what happens in these scenes, creativity still has plenty of room to play out.


As I said, I’ve begun implementing this in my current novel. Time will tell if it speeds up my writing.