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Fiction Unboxed: Publishing and Writing a Novel in 30 Days, From Scratch, In Front of the World Kindle Edition
Wondering how to write a novel? Wondering how to outline your novel? We could give you tips … but we'll show you instead.
An intimate peek into the process of writing a novel, from A to Z, with nothing held back.Part hero’s journey, part crash course in storytelling by the modern mavericks of indie publishing, and the bestselling authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., Fiction Unboxed offers something that’s never been offered before: a naked look into two writer’s process as they wrote and published a book in 30 days, from scratch, in front of the world.
In 2013 Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant wrote and published 1.5 million words (a Harry Potter series and a half's worth of fiction). The next year they showed the world how they did it.
In May 2014, Johnny and Sean, along with their third partner David Wright, launched a Kickstarter campaign to see if their fans wanted to see how they wrote behind closed doors. They promised to start their newest project without knowing their story, characters, or even their genre, and publish the final draft before their 30 days were up. They promised to capture every email, every story meeting, and every word from every draft. They promised to show every molecule of their process, warts and all.
They had 30 days for their fans to green light the campaign. It fully funded in 11 hours. Fiction Unboxed is as revealing as it is inspiring, engendering new levels of creativity in and empowering readers and writers as much as it will entertain them. With actionable advice that will benefit any writer, this book is a true gem for anyone who loves a well told story.
***** PRAISE FOR FICTION UNBOXED *****
"An Indispensable View of the Writer's World"
"Invaluable Investment for the Self-Publisher's Personal Library"
"A Book About Bravery"
Whether you're writing a novel for NaNoWriMo, wondering how to write a novel in general, or just looking to spark your creativity as you embark upon an indie publishing career, this book is for you!
- ASIN : B00OVHXEJW
- Publisher : Sterling & Stone (December 3, 2014)
- Publication date : December 3, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 3943 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 234 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,243,265 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from the United States
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First of all, I have to state up front that I love Truant and Platt (and Dave). Love them. Write Publish Repeat was a godsend to me. So much so that I didn't feel that paying for the book was enough and I ended up gifting copies of my books to them as going some way to repaying them properly. That book came at the exact right moment for me and every single page was like a lightning striking my brain.
This is not that book.
While I expected the patented Truant Ramble going into this book, I didn't expect that the first full third would cover the crowdfunding that they ran to fund the Fiction Unboxed project. Quite frankly, reading through that bored me. Especially as their ultimate piece of advice was that they wouldn't recommend using crowdfunding to fund an individual book (so essentially don't use crowdfunding unless you're doing something like Fiction Unboxed then?). Seriously, the entire first third of the book could be boiled down to "Your mileage may vary but we already had a large platform and a large fan base that we could squeeze money out of for crowdfunding, if you don't have that then probably don't consider it".
Worse still in that section is Johnny's constant refrain about how they worried that they would look like feminine hygiene products for doing the corwdfunding. Which is funny, and understandable, the first two times he says it. From that point on though I found that every time after that I would start to look at the text through feminine hygiene product coloured glasses. You know what? They do kind of come across as cynical feminine hygiene products trying to bleed their fan base for money. Which wouldn't have happened if Johnny had refrained from pointing it out so much. By the end of the crowdfunding section I wasn't cheering for them so much as wondering if I could live with myself if I got a refund on the book.
But I struggled through and got to the actual book. The part where they detailed the process of Fiction Unboxed. I must admit that I was excited, starting to get slightly burnt out on the book, but excited. Within 10 pages that feeling had gone. This part was just as bad as the first part. This is for a few different issues though.
First, near the start of the book they talk about how in WPR they had promised that one day they would write a productivity book to show people how they write so many words so consistently (this is pretty much the reason I bought this book, I had assumed that this was the productivity wrapped up in the Fiction Unboxed experiment). However, what they realised was that their base didn't actually want a book about productivity, they wanted to see what their process was so that they could learn from that. Hence, the whole showing their process through Fiction Unboxed and the writing of The Dream Engine.
Well, sorry but no. This reader wanted that productivity book that was promised in WPR. I have very little interest in seeing someone else's process and don't particularly need to read a book about it. I would even argue that no one really needs to see another writer's process, and doing so is one of those wonderful ways that writers procrastinate. The people who seem to benefit most from this book are in fact Truant and Platt. This is actually an excellent guide for them because it means that they have been able to dissect their process by reflecting on it in the process of pulling this book together. Which is great for them but not much use for us.
Second, they seem incredibly chuffed about how they have come up with this original idea to write a novel in front of an audience (and additionally make the world they have created open source). Too much so I would say. It probably isn't helped by the feminine hygiene product tinted glasses I couldn't shake coming out of the crowdfunding section but it's compounded by the fact that these are not original ideas. I should state that in this case they have taken those ideas to their logical extension but they aren't innovating in the way that they keep crowing about page after page after page.
Even the idea of an open source world isn't original. However, that isn't the thing that bugged me the most about having an open source world. My biggest issue here is that while they keep saying open source, they don't actually mean open source. Looking through the Engine World commandments you can see that there are only a small number of people who are regarding as being canon level writers in this world. So it's open source in the way that some tech companies think about open source (ie. "Open Source as long as you play by our rules, oh and you can't write certain things, or you can but if you do you can't sell it and you'll have to call it fan fiction").
Finally, it seems to me like all of this is ground that they have covered previously. In WPR they talk about their process and even break it down. Now admittedly they do say that since then their process has changed (they now use Beats 2.0, or Super Beats (patent pending) as I like to think of them, rather than what they outlined in WPR) but it doesn't seem like it has changed enough to warrant an entirely new book. Certainly, I felt like I got everything I needed in terms of what their process was from WPR.
Ultimately, I think that is the issue. This book is largely superfluous. I had originally thought that for the right person this would be a great book but the more I think about it I don't think that's the case. If a new writer was to come up to me and say that they wanted a book about how to write and how to deal with the self publishing game then I would instantly say "Go buy Write Publish Repeat, then give your first born child to Truant and Platt." I would never consider suggesting this book. If a writer that had been playing the game for awhile but was finding that they needed a spark to get them past block or a hump or one of the many things that writers come up with to stop writing then I would suggest something by someone else. It wouldn't even cross my mind that this would be a good book for that writer.
I'm sure there is an audience that is out there for this book, and that audience will fall in love with Truant and Platt and will get the lightning strike moments that WPR gave me. I just don't know what that audience would be. I don't think it's readers of WPR (in other words their fan base). In some ways, this is just a book length ad for the book that they were writing (now that you've gotten hyped on seeing how it was made, why not go buy the thing) which seems quite cynical and also seems to be of benefit to no one but Truant, Platt and Dave.
I'm still a fan of these guys (I just bought one of their books before writing this review because somehow I had missed grabbing that previously) and will probably keep buying their books. However, in the future I may restrict myself to their fiction, alternatively I will be very very wary of any of their 'Smarter Artist' series.
But when I learned they were going to write a nonfiction book about the experience, I figured I would be picking that one up, at least. Having read and enjoyed their previous nonfiction effort, WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT, both in prose form and twice so far in audio, I knew I’d enjoy this one as well.
I’m not sure the book turned out to be as in-depth as I’d hoped, but it was what I expected: an account of the process of coming up with the idea, then executing that idea and writing their novel, THE DREAM ENGINE.
When they’re on their game, the SPP pod cast is very interesting. Then again, sometimes it’s an hour of rambling without ever really hitting the proposed topic and I was just hoping this book would be more the former than the latter. It was, so that’s cool.
FICTION UNBOXED chronicles the origins of the idea to write a novel in 30 days while letting the world watch their story meetings and read their rough drafts as a way to show everyone their particular process--which, as they state, isn’t for everyone, it’s just what works for THEM.
I enjoyed how the book was broken up into “days”, chronicling what Johnny was writing, how he was incorporating their meetings into the story, and the joy he found as the story revealed itself to him more and more. I didn’t necessarily need a detailed description of HOW it all happened, and luckily that’s not what this book is about. For that stuff, I would guess you’d have to go to the source and watch their Unboxed videos, but, again, who’s got that kind of time, and still gets their own writing done? I can watch their videos or I can do my own work, and since they’re videos don’t make my house payment, and my writing DOES, I think we see where my priority lies.
Besides, I spend an hour a week with these guys, sometimes more if I listen to a back episode on the drive to work, and some days that’s more than enough. And as the show, at times, becomes less about the work and more about how awesome they are, sometimes it’s too much. Tween you, me and the lamp, the earlier episodes as Johnny discovered himself as a writer and started cranking out the stories hold much more value for me than more recent episodes. I don’t think I’ve even finished the two most recent.
(side note, another thing this book has going for it, no 99Designs ad reads. Good God, it’s enough to make me NOT want to use 99Designs out of spite.)
Overall, I did find some value in FICTION UNBOXED: The Book. Probably more than I would have from the videos. The PROCESS of coming up with stories and writing them isn’t what attracts me. I’ve been writing over half my life, I know how to find, develop and write a story. What I was hoping for was just simple shop talk from a coupla guys who talk my kinda shop (another reason I didn’t need the videos, which I think are more aimed at the new writers who are still unsure and are looking, desperately, for someone to show them the way. But as the guys say over and over there is no WAY, there’s just what works for YOU, and that’s NOT something that can be taught, no matter how many hours of video you watch. No one can TEACH you to write, they can only help you become a better writer. But you have to put in the hard work yourself and, honestly, if all you do is what you see others doing, you’re never going to find YOUR voice and write YOUR work. I’m just saying). And that’s what I got from this book. So, for me, that was $4.99 well spent.
Now, however, if you’re considering buying this book because you think it’s going to reveal secrets and teach you HOW to write, don’t bother.
Top reviews from other countries
I’m not a pro yet, but my attitude has taken a massive shift since listening to these guys.
Fiction Unboxed was originally conceived to accompany their Fiction Unboxed novel writing project, but even if like me you weren’t one of the contributors to that project, there’s plenty to enjoy in this book.
The book is a diary of sorts through the Fiction Unboxed project, interesting in itself, but each section concludes with several actions that a write can implement.
I enjoyed the book. It’s written in a conversational style, never preachy or promising unrealistic results.
Maybe it’s because I thought the previous book Write, Publish, Repeat, said all that needed saying that made me feel this offered a teeny bit less. A worthwhile read—yes, absolutely. And if you haven’t tried the podcast or read Write, Publish, Repeat, I’d implore you to try those as well.
Each chapter ends with take-aways for the reader to learn from the experience. This is fascinating and will make you want to rush over to their Sterling and Stone site and sign up to become and insider in the exciting publishing revolution that Shaun, Johnny and Dave are championing. Also check out their Write. Publish. Repeat. book and their podcast.
It's a lot better laid out, written and presented than a lot of "how-to" books, many of which you are turned off by and left doubting the authors' credentials. Even aside from wanting to achieve what the writers have, this is a book I would actually read for enjoyment and not just for information.