A Better Storyteller: Reforming the Pantser

Story Genius by Lisa Cron

In 2020 I resolve to be a better storyteller. A lot of writers I admire say that there is nothing wrong with being a pantser – a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type of author. But it’s not working for me, my story is not as clear cut and I always have problems writing the ending. I tried outlining, but it limited me (cue that Wicked song). My story did not want to go in the direction the outline directed. So, I picked up Lisa Cron’s Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel – it sounds like one of my User Experience books. And it actually is.

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Series or Standalone Books

King of Scars

The trend toward series instead of standalone books make it harder for me to experience the works of as many authors as I can discover. Instead of reading a single novel, my imagination is caught up in two or three installments. The King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo seemed like the first book of a new series when I purchased it. But it had so many references to things that happened in the Shadow and Bone trilogy and the Six of Crows duology that I felt compelled to read the earlier books.

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Sonnets & Writing

I fell in love with sonnets back in high school. Inspired by the works of Shakespeare and Wordsworth, I wrote my diary in this format. Poetry has not been part of my reading list for a long time since I write prose exclusively now. A friend’s shelf guided me to Pablo Neruda’s Love Sonnets and the poet’s beautiful words made my heart sing. These sonnets will definitely improve my writing.

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Three Stories Plot Twist

In The Fifth Season, N.K. Jemisin engages her readers by conversing with them directly. Using the second person in the story several times. But it was her brilliant plot twist that wowed me the most. Throughout the book, I followed the stories of three strong women who were persecuted for being powerful. They were Orogenes, people who can control the ground directly and the temperature indirectly. Set in a world where the ground is always moving, at a time when the end is almost here.

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