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Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book (Helping Writers Become Authors 2) Kindle Edition
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- ASIN : B00P72KQI2
- Publisher : PenForASword Publisher (November 15, 2014)
- Publication date : November 15, 2014
- Language : English
- File size : 4327 KB
- Simultaneous device usage : Unlimited
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 108 pages
- Lending : Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #40,638 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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Right now I'm turning a much-produced stageplay into novel. Not as easy as it might sound. But with the help of the Outlining and the companion Structuring books, it's going much faster and much stronger. The characters are changing and the plot is, well, to be stupid about it, thickening.
I've been through all the novel-writing books. I have almost five hundred Kindle books. But these are the ones I'm sticking with. They are simply the best, and I have been recommending them to my scriptwriting students and clients when they want to turn a script into a short story or novel.
You can't go wrong with these books. Honestly. I really have read them all.
I am a person who gets into trouble when I try to write by the seat of my pants. I really need to plan out my story pretty much from beginning to end—not that I won’t follow any brilliant idea that comes to me spontaneously, but just so that my plot doesn’t die from the dreaded lack of destination. Without an outline, my characters just wander around aimlessly until they hit a dead end.
In the past, I’ve used The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters by Christopher Vogler with its archtypes and twelve stages to outline my novels, but it’s only taken me so far.
Since NaNoWriMo of November 2014, I’ve been struggling to get my (hopefully) first publishable novel, The Unicornologist, into shape. It was missing something, but I couldn’t figure out what. I decided to take it through the steps in Weiland’s book after the fact to figure out where the holes in the manuscript were. She suggests exercises that help you brainstorm in specific ways. For example:
Ask yourself every “what if” question that pops to mind regarding your story. Some of your ideas will be ridiculous; most will probably never make it into your book. But don’t censor yourself. By allowing yourself to write down every idea, no matter how crazy, you may come up with story-transforming gems.
Weiland uses illustrations from her own books and others’ to explain what makes plot compelling. She asks questions that make you dig deeper into your characters:
Ґ What Lie does your character believe that is keeping him from the Thing He Needs while prompting him to believe he must gain the Thing He Wants?
Ґ How can your protagonist demonstrate determination?
Ґ How can your protagonist show kindness to others?
I have used questionnaires to build dossiers on my characters, but I don’t really like questionnaires, because so many of the questions seem immaterial to my story. (My main character’s favorite color really doesn’t come into play in my mystical fantasy.) Weiland includes “interview” questions, and many of them don’t help me. However, the questions like the ones quoted above make me think about the characters’ personalities and visualize their actions and help me figure out how to portray them.
Weiland has authors focus on six important aspects of their novels: premise, scenes, character backstories and interviews, setting (including world building, if necessary), story elements, and structure.
Every writer has to find his own approach to outlining (or else do without, as Stephen King and many other successful storytellers have). Rather than reinvent the wheel, as it were, most of us try out multiple approaches and keep the aspects that work for our projects. Reading through Outlining Your Novel Workbook in tandem with revising my work-in-progress did help me find holes in my story, and add detail and emotional impact to my scenes. I will use many parts of it for outlining my future stories, but I will probably skip over the parts that don’t apply to my story or resonate with me.
I found the character outlining/backstory questions particularly helpful. For the first time, I was able to outline the basics of my novel without feeling the need to get into specific scenes or story beats right away. By defining the stakes, the character motivations, and the antagonist purpose in the story, her system allowed me to flesh out the story in a way I have never done before. I look forward to seeing how the entire novel finishes and how much of what I created using her guides and questions makes it into the final story.
I would recommend this workbook to anyone who might be looking for a full story plotting guide, or someone who just needs a few questions to point them in the right direction.
*I did not read the companion book.
Top reviews from other countries
Having read ‘Outlining Your Novel’ by K M Weiland, I took the plunge and purchased this workbook too - I have been most pleased that I did! It’s really given me the chance to put in to practise the techniques discussed, and has undoubtedly added to my understanding of the vast complexities of outlining.
As with the book, the workbook is written in simple language and split into sections that build gradually towards the goal of producing a usable outline for a first novel. I say first novel because I really do feel that it lends itself particularly well to a complete novice, or perhaps someone like myself who simply has an interest in the art of writing.
The exercises are fairly short and they cover a huge range of topics. Included are specific sections on producing character sketches, considering setting, and how to ‘grow’ your outline. I found all the instructions easy to follow, so much so that this might make an ideal gift for a young writer. And, when I learnt to let my imagination really take flight, it was loads of fun too.
Downsides: There is only one really, and that is the you will need a copy of ‘Outlining Your Novel’ by K M Weiland for the workbook to be useful. That said, neither is expensive, and I certainly found using both in paperback format worked well for me.
For my personal use the OYNW is pretty OK.It gives me all the requirements to design my plot adn my characters .
I have read a number of books about character development before but I've never used the Myers-Briggs system, and I was able to apply it to my MC with amazing results.
The other chapters broke the task of outlining down into manageable chunks.
I filled a notebook with notes, exercises and information whilst reading this book. Incredibly Useful.