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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: PenForASword (July 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978924622
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978924621
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (338 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,169 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

K.M. Weiland lives in make-believe worlds, talks to imaginary friends, and survives primarily on chocolate truffles and espresso. She is the internationally published author of the Amazon bestsellers Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel, as well as the western A Man Called Outlaw, the medieval epic Behold the Dawn, and the epic fantasy Dreamlander. When she’s not making things up, she’s busy mentoring other authors on her site helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com. She makes her home in western Nebraska. Find out more about her fiction at kmweiland.com.

More About the Author

K.M. Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction and mentors other writers through her website, editing services, workshops, books, CDs, and blogs.

Why I write:
Stories are like breathing. Life without a story in my head is one-dimensional, stagnant, vapid. I love the life God has given me, but I think I love it better because I'm able to live out so many other lives on the page. I'm more content to be who I am because I'm not trapped in that identity. When I sit down at my computer and put my fingers on the keys, I can be anyone or anything, at any time in history. I write because it's freedom.

Writing routine:
I set aside two hours, five days a week, to write, usually between four and six p.m. I'm a firm believer in Peter de Vries claim: "I write when I'm inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o'clock every morning." I spend the first half hour scribbling ideas in a writing journal, reviewing character sketches and research notes, reading an article on the craft, and proofreading what I wrote the day before. Then I pick a soundtrack, say a prayer for guidance, and dive in.

Process:
It takes years sometimes for my ideas to find their way onto the page. After the first kernel of inspiration takes root, I play with it and play with it, discovering characters and scenes and plot twists. Finally, when I think it's ready, I dig out a notebook and start sketching ideas and outlines. Depending on the subject matter, I spend a few months researching, then take a deep breath and pray that all the work will pay off in a way that will glorify God.

Inspiration:
Most of my story ideas begin with a character and a place. An outlaw in the Wyoming Territory. A mercenary knight in the Crusades. A vigilante plantation owner in Kenya. A female spy in the Napoleonic Wars. A barnstormer in early 20th-century Kansas. After that, who knows? Inspiration is a gift from God: bits and pieces, tiny ideas that bloom into unexpected treasures.

Advice:
Writing is both a gift and an art. As a gift, it must be approached with humility: the writer is only the vessel through which inspiration flows. As an art, it must be approached with passion and discipline: a gift that's never developed wasn't worth the giving.

Customer Reviews

Very helpful easy to follow.
Sally A. Wilke
This book is definitely going to help me get my novel outlined and put me in the direction I need to be going.
Ellen Guarisco
I would highly recommend this book for any serious writer.
Sandra Lea Rice

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

194 of 198 people found the following review helpful By Kristin A. Offiler on October 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
As a writer who has attempted a handful of novels in the past without an outline, I knew it was something I would need going forward with my newest work-in-progress. I wasn't sold on the idea of an outline at first, though. They seemed restrictive, boring, and frankly too much work BEFORE starting the real work of writing a book. But after reading "Outlining Your Novel" my mind is completely changed. In fact, I doubt that I'll ever go back to "pantsing" it with novels. Weiland's guide not only walks you through the steps necessary to set up a functional, useful outline, but it also explains WHY having a road map will make your story better. She's absolutely right-- when I try to write without a guide, I only get so far before I panic and stop working altogether. I would never head to a new city without directions, so it makes no sense to write a new story without a guide either. Both are new, unfamiliar territory. Both can be conquered with some planning.

I read this book in less than 24 hours, highlighting points that resonated with me so I can revisit them again and again. I read it a second time to begin working on my outline. However you read it-- at the speed of light or slow and steady-- you will come away with practical tools to get your outline started. If you're a writer, you can't afford to NOT read this!
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81 of 85 people found the following review helpful By Matt on December 28, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As the owner of more than 40 books on writing, I've found it increasingly difficult to find a book that offers a whole lot of material that hasn't been covered in numerous other books. Outlining Your Novel provided plenty of new and useful information to me as a writer and, unlike many writing books which left me feeling more despair than enthusiasm about writing, it left me feeling eager to start my next book. Despite its title, the book will be very useful to writers of all genres in all forms of media, whether you're writing a 300-page book or a 300-word blog. My only minor complaint is that the author's novel Dreamlander, which has not yet been released, was used for many examples, and it would be nice to be able to read the book right away after finishing this one so I can read the examples in the actual book. But that's a small gripe about a great book. Highly recommended, well worth the low price.
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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Karen S. Garvin on April 2, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wrote 82,000 words of a novel as a "pantser," then I got stuck. So I decided to do some outlining to find the problem areas and help focus my thoughts on where the story needed to go. I figured a more mechanical approach might be what I needed to get unstuck. So far, the book has been helpful for prodding me to ask questions about my story and characters and for trying to find the story's premise.

Unfortunately, what I really wanted from this book were examples of mind maps, maps, and other types of outlines that aren't just a list of questions. Chapter 2 talks about mind maps, pictorial outlines, and maps, but it doesn't show any of these. I would dearly like to see one of her mind maps, or a scribbled map of a city, or *something* that doesn't resemble typeset text. It seems that if you're talking about pictures, why not throw a few in there to illustrate the point?

The book is probably worthwhile just for the list of questions that you should ask your character, but I also like chapter 10 which covers how to break down your story into scenes and chapters. While I think I have a good feel for that subject, Weiland's coverage of pacing is helpful in figuring out where the story sags or where too much happens at once.

The book seems to be self-published (tell-tale toner underneath the gloss coating on the cover and the myriad ads in the back), but it's done well. It just could have been even better if there were some illustrations. I took off a star for that because I think it would have added a lot to the book -- you know, show, don't tell. :P
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Liberty Speidel on September 25, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
As a reluctant outliner, I couldn't recommend K.M. Weiland's book more. The techniques she suggests in "Outlining Your Novel" will definitely help me in future projects as I further explore the outlining concept.

Her book is well organized, beginning with many misconceptions about outlines--many of which I used to adhere to until recently--and taking you step-by-step to the start of the actual writing of your novel. Several techniques I'd already begun utilizing prior to reading her book. Many others I am already contemplating using as I begin working on my next three projects, two of which I've already started "pantsing." In fact, I can see a couple packages of my favorite pens and several more notebooks in the not-to-distant future for me. :)

What makes K.M.'s book great is the fact she speaks from personal experience, describing the techniques she personally uses when drafting her novels. In a series of interviews, she also draws on the varied experiences of ten other authors, such as Elizabeth Spann Craig and Jody Hedlund. Examples of good techniques are also used from various books and movies--The Patriot and Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow are made examples of more than once.

If you're a newbie writer, or just a newbie to outlining, reading K.M.'s book is well worth the time. All of the techniques indicated may not be for you--I know I'm not nearly as detailed as she is!--but they do add something extra to think about as you embark on this great writer journey.

Happy writing!

Liberty Speidel
LibertySpeidel.com
[...]
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