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

What We Bring to the Table

what-we-bring-to-the-tableRecently we had a couple of friends over for dinner. In the past, I might have made something special for their visit. Pecan Sandies or even homemade ice cream. But this time? I baked a pie fresh from the freezer.

The pie was good, if a little crumbly, but a part of me felt a bit bad about it. Sure, I’m going through cancer treatment, but still…

I suppose the question in the uppermost part of my life at the moment is what do I bring to the table?

Until recently, I could have answered that question easily. I worked and cleaned and blogged. I was a wife and mother of fur babies. I had a place and a purpose.

Now most of that part of my identity has fallen away. Cancer has taken my job and my sexuality. And even doing the most simple things, such as paying a bill or fixing dinner, can be quite an accomplishment. Blogging too has been more sporadic as the pain from the treatments has increased.

As the prognosis for my cancer has become worse and worse, I have struggled with my faith more and more. The comfort that is so often spoken about among Christians seemed far away. And with each loss, I wondered why all of this was happening.

Reading the upcoming book from Katie Ganshert, Life After, I could so relate to Autumn’s crisis of faith depicted in the book. Looking back on the traumatic event that had changed her life, she asked questions similar to mine. At one point, though, she thinks,

“Maybe comfort wasn’t to be found in the why.

Maybe comfort was to be found in the who.

A God who wept.”

I suppose I realized that night as we ate the crumbly pie that my life has changed dramatically and that I may never be able to do things I once accomplished with ease.

But perhaps I still have something to bring to the table, even if it’s a frozen pie. And blog posts that come less often but are maybe just a bit more meaningful. Days that aren’t centered around a work schedule, but about communicating with family.

In the novel, Autumn goes on to conclude,

“Maybe it was time to stop trying to make the puzzle pieces fit. Maybe it was time to let go of the why and remember the Who.”

I may never understand the why of all of this, but I’ve got to move on, keep trying to bring something to the table, even if it’s not what I would have wanted. Letting go of the why is what I need.

That and some time to remember the God who cares and comforts, the God who understands our struggles.