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First Draft in 30 Days

4.3 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 003-5313109447
ISBN-10: 1582972966
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Karen Wiesner is a novelist and member of Romance Writers of America. She is a frequent guest at writers conferences and the author of Electronic Publishing.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 216 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books (March 5, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582972966
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582972961
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #96,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Creating realistic, unforgettable characters one story at a time...

Karen Wiesner is an accomplished author with 113 titles published in the past 18 years, which have been nominated/won 134 awards, and has 39 more releases contracted for spanning many genres and formats. For more information about Karen's fiction and series, consult her official companion guide, The World of Author Karen Wiesner: A Compendium of Fiction.

Karen's multi-award-winning and bestselling Incognito Series (romantic action/adventure/suspenses) has been revised and reissued. The upcoming spin-off series, Shadow Missions, will include four novellas to be released in 2018.

Karen's award-winning Denim Blues Mysteries (inspirational romantic mystery trilogy with a private investigator, police procedural and amateur sleuth installment) is available now. Look for the spin-off trilogy, Red Velvet Mysteries, to be released between 2019-2020.

Karen writes the multi-award-winning Falcon's Bend Series (police procedural mysteries) with author Chris Spindler of Auenwald, Germany. Books 1-5 and the first two novellas collections have been revised and reissued. Look for brand new series titles with FALCON'S BEND CASE FILES, Volume III (2017).

Karen's multi-award-winning Family Heirlooms Series (inspirational romances) is now available. Books 1-5 of the spin-off series, Friendship Heirlooms Series, are also available. Look for Books 6-8 to be released between 2015-2018. All titles are set in Karen's fiction town of Peaceful, Wisconsin. Her inspirational romantic fiction titles, HOME and DESTINY, are also set in her fictional town of Peaceful, Wisconsin are available now and are Peaceful Pilgrim novels. Peaceful Pilgrim is an unofficial series in no particular order set in Peaceful, a modern-day small community with old-fashioned values and friendly people you'll want to get to know and visit often. Look for the next Peaceful Pilgrim novel with ONCE UPON A CLICHÉ, a romantic comedy, coming January 2021.

Karen's newest series, Bloodmoon Cove Spirits, focuses on ghosts and is set in her fictional Erie County, Wisconsin. Books 1 and 2 are now available. Books 3-8 and the first novella collection will be published between 2016-2021.

Karen's Wounded Warriors Series (women's fiction) and Gypsy Road Series (contemporary romances) have been revised and reissued along with her Angelfire Trilogy (contemporary romances). Look for the spin-off series with Angelfire II Quartet. Books 1 and 2, ONLY THE LONELY and MIDNIGHT ANGEL, are now available with Books 3 and 4 coming out in 2016.

Karen's writing reference titles include the bestselling FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS and WRITING THE FICTION SERIES: The Guide for Novels and Novellas, both available now from Writer's Digest Books. FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL {A Writer's Guide to Cohesive Story Building} is out of print but has been revised and reissued with the title COHESIVE STORY BUILDING. THE POWER OF PROMOTIONAL GROUPS details how published authors can set up a promotional group (like Karen's own, the now defunct Jewels of the Quill). Karen is also the author of the multi-award-winning ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The Definitive Guide {The Most Complete Reference to Non-Subsidy E-Publishing} and WEAVE YOUR WEB, the promotional companion to ELECTRONIC PUBLISHING The Definitive Guide. Both are currently unavailable.

Karen's book of poetry, Soul Bleeds The Poetry, Melodies, and Other Wanderings of Karen Wiesner (previously released as Soul Bleeds The Dark Poetry and Other Wanderings of K.S. Wiesner), is available now, reissued and expanded. Karen also writes children's books including KERI IS CUTE CUTE CUTE; I CAN TOUCH THE SKY; and CODY KNOWS with Linda Derkez. TAKING RESPONSIBILITY BUILDS TRUST (Making Good Choices Series, Book 1) has been reissued. TAKING CARE OF YOUR THINGS (Making Good Choices Series, Book 2) will be reissued soon. Look for THE ELVES AREN'T COMING!, written with Linda Derkez, to be published soon.

From 2003 to 2014, Karen was the founding member of Jewels of the Quill, a popular promotional group of women authors that was featured in the September 2003 issue of RT Book Reviews. Jewels of the Quill produced two award-winning group anthologies per year from 2005-2011 (all currently out of print). Karen edited all 14 anthologies and designed the covers as well as contributing a novella to each. With the group anthologies, Karen started many new series', which have been revised and reissued along with the single title novellas:

Books 1-8 and The Final Chapter of the Woodcutter's Grim Series (Classic Tales of Horror Retold) are romantic fantasy and horror novellas and novels set in Karen's fictional town of Woodcutter's Grim, Wisconsin. Coming up in the series: HUNTER'S BLUES (romantic futuristic horror fantasy) in 2019 and BRIDGE OF FIRE, Book 9 in 2020.

All seven novellas in the Kaleidoscope Series (contemporary romances) are now available.

The first four novellas in Karen's Adventures in Amethyst Series, contemporary romances set in the fictional Amethyst, Wisconsin are available now along with the first novel in the series, TIL SUMMER COMES AROUND, Book 5. Look for four more novels in the series to be released 2016-2019.

The Cowboy Fever Series, contemporary romances set in the fictional town Fever, Texas, includes five novellas and a novel, available now. Look for two more novels, including A WING AND A PRAYER (Book 7) and LEGENDARY LOVERS (Book 8) to be released 2020 and 2021.

The novellas The Amethyst Angel, A Home for Christmas, The Amethyst Star, and Creatures of the Night have been revised and reissued as 2-in-1 volumes.

Karen won the Inscriptions Engraver Award for best on-line columnist two years in a row, the Year 2000 for eXcellence in E-publishing Award: E-author from ebookadvisor, was a two time recipient of the E-Pub Ambassador Award, and was a two time recipient of The Simply Charming Award for outstanding promotion of e-books. She was also nominated for the 2000 EPIC Florence Moyer Service Award.

In addition to writing, Karen enjoys designing websites and graphics for her pages. Currently, she designs and maintains her own site along with the webpage of author Linda Derkez. Karen also designs cover art and logos for books.

Visit Karen's websites at http://www.karenwiesner.com and http://www.firstdraftin30days.com.

Check out Karen's author page at Facebook, where you can like, friend and follow her: http://www.facebook.com/KarenWiesnerAuthor.

Karen welcomes letters from her fans. Write to her at KarensQuill-owner@yahoogroups.com. If you would like to receive her free e-mail newsletter, Karen's Quill, and be eligible for her monthly book giveaways, send a blank message to KarensQuill-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
"First Draft In 30 Days: A Novel Writer's System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript" is what it's called but this is not the result the book actually provides. If you follow this method, after 30 consecutive days of work, you will NOT have a first draft or a manuscript at all. What you'll have is a complete OUTLINE of - to quote the book - 60 to 100 pages!

Days 1-6: Preliminary outlines and sketches

Days 7-13: Research

Days 14-15: Story evolution (ideas for beginning, middle, end)

Days 16-24: Formatted outline

Days 25-28: Evaluating the strength of theoutline

Days 29-30: Revising outline - and on Day 30, you're to put this outline "on a shelf for at least two weeks to several months."

The worksheets in the appendix are similar to those in "The Marshall Plan" (an author also of the crime/suspense/thriller genres) and, although this author says you can apply it to any genre, the book leans heavily towards suspense fiction. (Romance is an "optional" plot thread, for example, and her worksheets have headings like "character/suspect".)

For mystery, suspense, and thriller fiction where plots are intricate and have tons of crucial details, this method may be a useful way to track all that. For writers who use outlines as a guideline only and/or who stray from it if the work evolves in a new direction, this is a lot of "writing before the writing" that may not prove to be all that productive in the long run.
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Format: Paperback
Don't let Karen Wiesner's romance background scare you away. This woman is a professional, and she's got some sensible suggestions.

According to her bio, she's written over twenty books, including such diverse genres as romance, mystery/police procedural, suspense, thriller, paranormal, and action/ adventure. Perhaps even more impressive is her planning acumen. Wiesner is always two, three novels ahead of the game, thanks to her formatted outline.

Many writers either can't or don't want to outline their novels in advance (See Tony Hillerman, for instance). Wiesner couldn't either at first until she developed the formatted outline. Wiesner refers to the formatted outline as the first draft of the book. When she revises, she revises the outline rather than suffer through countless drafts of the manuscript.

This woman is a real left-brainer. She plans virtually everything, including time to let the manuscript marinate. The appendices include character, setting, plot, and research outlines as well as a place to write potential interview questions for possible experts and your characters. Her story evolution worksheet is almost as helpful as the formatted outline.

And-oh,yes-I almost forgot Chapter eight. It's for us poor shleps who already have a completed manuscript with all kinds of holes. She shows us how to use her system to salvage the mess.

As one who has endured twenty-three drafts on his first effort, Wiesner's FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS is a godsend.
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Format: Paperback
Whoever the book titlers are at Writer's Digest, they should be ashamed of themselves. A 30-day outline is a far cry from a 30-day draft. The first draft--the "rough" draft of your book--must be the most painstakingly thought out and executed of all the drafts, be there two, three, five, or six more to follow. It's here, right in the beginning, that you develop your story flow, your pulse, your synthesis of surroundings with characthers and their actions / reactions within the disciplined framework of your plot. I'm sure most successful novelists would tell you that. In no way can a 30-day outline be labeled a 30-day draft. These are two separately, pronouncedly different and distinct writing phases. ##### I have always been a firm believer in outlines, and have always developed one for every one of my books (including my novel, Six Hours Past Thursday). In no way can you, as a writer, feel that you are somehow going to be led by some spontaneous, invisible hand through the jungle of story creation, be it fiction or non-ficion. To me, outlines form the basics of essentialism for a writer. ##### To flip the coin to the other side--objective analysis of Karen Wiesner's First Draft In 30 Days from the standpoint of content--it is first rate. There is nothing arbitrary or random about her call for a tightly-disciplined approach to book creation. Dispersing learned counsel in rapid-fire bursts, she lays out a good sequence for outlining your book. Preliminary thoughts, research, story evolution, formatted outline, evaluate strength, a revistation, and, importantly, putting it on a shelf for a quiet period of rest and final reflection before proceeding into the first draft. A good pecking order. ##### My lone objection is to the misleading title. Hence, the 3-star rating.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You need to decide whether you write from the seat-of-your-pants or whether you are a planner. This book is for planners. Buy No Plot, No Problem if you are the other sort.

Okay, you're a planner. Should you buy this book. Well, it doesn't cost much and it has a decent system. Other systems to look at would be the Marshall Plan, the Weekend Novelist or The Novelist's Bootcamp.

I would recommend How to Write a Damn Good Mystery to either sort.

What's wrong this book? The most important parts of this book are the worksheets. They are printed in the book. You must copy them and write on the copies in long hand or take the time to reproduce them all using your word processor.

I myself would rather spend my time writing. In this day in age there is not reason why I should not be able to download the worksheets in electronic format. I would even settle for paying more for them; however, the publisher gives a lame excuse that doesn't cut it--basically, they just don't want to do it.

Here's the excuse from the author's web site:

Q. I just got my hands on the book a couple of days ago, Karen, and I'm in love. What I do wish...that I could order a CD with all the forms instead of having to copy or remake them. I know they all existed as forms on your computer...and I know Writer's Digest does CDs with its Writer's Market. Any possibilities there? Also, it occurred to me that you might want to do online workshops...and you could include the forms in the workshop if you don't have copyright or permission conflicts.

A.
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