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Million Dollar Outlines (Million Dollar Writing Series) Paperback – July 24, 2014
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About the Author
David Farland is an award-winning, international best-selling author with over 50 novels in print. He has won the Philip K. Dick Memorial Special Award for “Best Novel in the English Language” for his science fiction novel On My Way to Paradise, the Whitney Award for “Best Novel of the Year” for his historical novel In the Company of Angels, and he has won over seven awards—including the International Book Award and the Hollywood Book Festival, Grand Prize—for his fantasy thriller Nightingale. He is best known, however, for his New York Times best-selling fantasy series The Runelords, which will soon be made into a graphic novel and, likely, a movie. Farland has written for major franchises such as Star Wars and The Mummy. In the video game industry, he has been both a designer and a scripter and was the co-leader on the design team for StarCraft: Brood War. As a writing instructor, Farland has mentored dozens who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight). Farland judges L. Ron Hubbard’s Writers of the Future, perhaps the largest worldwide writing competition for new fantasy and science fiction authors. He has worked in Hollywood greenlighting movies and doctoring scripts. He set the Guinness World Record for the largest single-author, single-book signing. David Farland has been hailed as “The wizard of storytelling” and his work has been called “compelling,” “engrossing,” “powerful,” “profound,” and “ultimately life-changing.”
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Top Customer Reviews
The images in the paperback are not 300dpi quality images. They appear to be web version (72dpi), which detracts from the content somewhat.
That's priceless advice.
While this idea might bother the "art for art's sake" crowd, I didn't really have a problem with it. To me, a big part of being a writer is finding an audience. I want my stuff to be read; I want my stories to sell; I don't want to shout into the void. And I don't think that it's any coincidence that the books that I (and millions of others) love are the ones that are the most richly detailed, that have the most well defined worlds, that have the most interesting characters, and that have the most elegant plots. So yes, Farland's approach to outlining is very aware of marketing. But I also think it's one of the more specific books on story pre-planning out there.
In fact, the bulk of MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES is about answering questions before you write a single word of your outline. Farland advises writers to first answer questions about their fictional world, their characters, backstories, conflicts, character arcs, a target audience, the emotions they want to arouse, reversals, twists, themes, and more. Only with that information on hand, Farland says, can you properly begin to structure your story. Only then does Farland show readers how to build an outline based on a series of plot charts or plot diagrams.
In my opinion, this was the one weakness of MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES. Although the logic behind these diagrams is sound, Farland assumes his readers know how to create them. I don't. I can create try-fail cycles of increasing scope and intensity, but I don't know how to graph it onto a chart. That being said, I think if I went through all of the exercises Farland offers, this is a minor concern. I could probably put the pieces together into an outline despite the lack of diagrams. But I think I'd still miss having that final visual checkpoint before I start writing.
There is a moment at the very end of MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES when David Farland says something along the lines of beginner writers are sometimes too eager to start writing, and they begin writing before doing adequate planning. The result is a thin book that doesn't live up to its potential. I found myself nodding. My first novel-perhaps never to rise from the trunk-suffered from just such a problem. It felt thin and disappointing, as if the colors were pale, washed out. I won't make the same mistake on my next novel, thanks to Farland and MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES.
I'm so glad I started the bundle of writing books by reading this one. In it, Farland does a very good job of cutting through a lot of stuff and pointing out that hey, if you, as a commercial writer, want to be as successful as other tremendously successful commercial fiction writers have been, maybe you should look at what they've done as a group. He's great with pointing out trends and similarities.
I most liked the discussion of emotional plot vs. action plot; I'd never thought to look at it that way. But it makes a whole lot of sense.
This book is extremely solid in its orientation toward a how-to for grabbing fiction readers. I recommend it for all fiction writers.
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