Review of Storytelling for Pantsters

I don’t know about you, but I’ve always dreamed of writing the next Great American Novel. Certainly cliche for a blogger, I know.

We all have dreams, right?

But the thought of actually writing a long work of fiction that is coherent and meaningful hits me between the eyes with fear and leaves me with writer’s block. It’s almost easier to keep it as a dream rather than begin the actual work of crafting my first novel. Blogging is much easier, simpler in so many ways.

Having read all of the “greats” in college–Hemingway, Steinbeck, Woolf, etc–I am intimidated by even attempting to take on a novel as my next project. How do I top that?

If you feel similarly, then definitely check out Annalisa Parent’s new book, Storytelling for Pantsters. In Parent’s book, she not only addresses these common fears of first time authors but also lays out tips to master the craft of writing in a simple and engaging manner. Whether you have an MFA or are new to the field of writing, you will find something of interest in Parent’s book.

For writers like me who tend to “fly by the seat of their pants” when it comes to writing, Storytelling for Pantsters is valuable in that Parent not only accepts that some of us might not outline all of our writing, but she also teaches us how to use this as part of the whole writing process. In the book, she illustrates how writing doesn’t have to be a linear process, but can instead be circular in fashion, beginning with a free write and later drafts further refining the work.

Even with a degree in English, I have often been unclear on the elements of a work of fiction, such as plot pacing and the balance of action vs. character development. Parent provides aspiring authors with clear direction on these points as well as other tips on making a manuscript worthy of publishing. Her long-time experience with both teaching and publishing lends itself to a focus on the information that new authors need, along with the ability to clearly explain these elements of the craft.

Too, she also gives the reader encouragement to get past their fears. This is such a big part of being unable to write, and yet it is often ignored by those who teach writing.

Easy to read and yet full of important information, Annalisa Parent’s new book, Storytelling for Pantsters, is highly recommended for any author who would like to improve and work on their writing process.

 

Purchase Storytelling for Pantsters

Storytelling for Pantsers

Annalisa Parent

Laurel Elite Books

ISBN Number: 1947482017

The Obsolete Woman

obsoleteAs I’ve grown older and reached middle age, some days I creep about, fully expecting someone to leap out of a dark corner, pointing their finger at me and yelling, “Obsolete!”

My particular skill set and education really are from a previous age, that time when our culture lay its emphasis on the power of the written word and the influence of authors. With the rise of Twitter, memes, and pithy quotes, I’ve watched as the necessity of masterful storytelling has faded even as the ability to manipulate and create multimedia–whether images, videos, gifs, or whatever–has taken precedence.

Also, much of my work history has been in libraries. Go figure.

I’ve attempted to roll with the course of culture and have learned how to create websites and fashion my own images. And, for awhile, I even gained income by working online. Lacking in education as far as these new skills were concerned, I pursued my own knowledge through research and trial–with lots and lots of error thrown in for good measure.

There is still that feeling of being obsolete, of having only “spindly limbs and a dream.” Such an apt description of me, even now.

When I found myself in the Cancer Center of Kansas yet again in July of last year, I was confused and upset. I was supposed to be done with all of this, wasn’t I? I had been a survivor for twelve years, and here I was again with a brand new breast cancer and a diagnosis of Cowden Syndrome. Spindly limbs indeed.

Looking in the mirror, I see a thinner, weakened woman who looks a bit like an old man. Sparse hair, large glasses, and no breasts just complete the image. All I need now are plaid shorts, black crew socks, and sandals.

Definitely obsolete as far as being “sexy” is concerned. I can’t remember now where I heard this, but in one movie–most likely a Lifetime movie–the middle-aged woman talks about being “invisible” to men. That certainly seems to be true in my own experience. No longer feminine…no longer working…and not yet at the “crone” stage of womanhood, although I seem to be reaching that at a far younger age than I ever expected due to the effects of cancer treatment.

“Past my prime” and unemployed, I seem to fit the description of “obsolete” more and more these days.

Our culture would echo that of The Chancellor, declaring, “You’re a bug…an ugly misformed little creature who has no purpose here, no meaning.” In the episode, refusing to be defined by the State and its culture, Romney Wordsworth responds, “I am a human being!”

And that, ultimately, is where his strength lies. The character of Wordsworth, filled with faith, refuses to be humiliated and denigrated. His trust remains with God and the power of the written word, even until the last.

In his upcoming book, Divine Direction: 7 Decisions That Will Change Your Life, Craig Groeschel says that God made us to “trust him to redeem your pain with his power.” No matter what has happened–or is happening–in my life, God can bring something good out of all of it.

My future is honestly up in the air right now. But there’s still hope. Groeschel goes on to say,

“Your story is not over….You have more chapters to write, more victories to win, more friends to meet, more of a difference to make, more of God’s goodness to experience. Even though you may not like the plot so far, with God’s help, you can transform your story into one you’re not ashamed to share. You can start something new.”

I’m trying to hang my hat on that hope for the moment.

As with the character of Wordsworth, I can declare that I won’t be defined by the “State” or our culture. Responding to a seemingly impossible situation with knowledge and faith, I can perhaps live to tell my own tale. And oddly, just like Wordsworth, I’ll bring my seemingly useless skills to our current technology and media to do so.

And I won’t forget that it was Wordsworth’s reaction to his impending death that makes the most impact in the end. His faith helps him to respond with strength and peace, as opposed to The Chancellor’s desperate appeal for escape from his untimely demise.

Hopes and Dreams

hopes-and-dreamsJanuary 1st is a day for all of us to dream big.

Although many have no doubt listed their resolutions formally, I only have one resolution, that of surviving the year. Not your typical resolution, mind you, but one that is pretty common among those living with cancer.

But does that leave any room for hopes and dreams? You betcha.

You want to know what my greatest dream might be? I’ve always dreamt of being a writer. Actually getting paid to write! Yes indeed, that would be my dream job.

Well, other than getting paid to play with puppies and kittens all day…

Anyway, I love writing and reaching out to others through my articles and posts. My dream for the new year is that writing opportunities come my way. My path will just be strewn with possibility! Yes, I’m dreaming big now.

As a part of this dream and the realization that this latest cancer diagnosis is much more than a simple detour in my life, I created a new blog today that will focus on my two diagnoses of PTEN and cancer, PTEN, Cancer, and a Thing Called Hope. Hopefully this will help me reach out to others with Cowden Syndrome as well as raise awareness that genetic mutations other than BRCA can raise the risk of breast cancer.

Here’s to a 2017 that will be much better than 2016!

The Crunchy Sunflower

aboutthecrunchysunflower¬†Well, I decided to take the plunge and create yet another blog. Why? Possibly I’m simply obsessed with self-expression, or perhaps I’m beginning to wonder if I will actually get a job. That being said, it seemed like the thing to do at the moment, especially when there seem to be few job prospects on the horizon.

The Crunchy Sunflower will be a blog that explores my attempts to create a happy and healthy life on a small budget. Thus it will include a wide range of posts, such as recipes, tips, and crafts. I’ll go ahead and show you my failures as well as my successes, providing you with some benefit from my experience. Too maybe it will inspire you to live a full and frugal life!

My husband, of course, is more than happy to sample foods other than frozen pizzas. Perhaps we will all benefit from the new addition.