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Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success (Helping Writers Become Authors Book 1) Kindle Edition
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Once I made the outrageous decision to write a novel, I picked up a copy of Stephen King's, On Writing. Though it inspired me to dive in, it failed to give me concrete structure; hence, I became a seat-of-the-pants writer. I've gain knowledge along the way, perfecting my craft as I go from published and unpublished authors, the internet, classes, workshops, books on writing, and from reading others work. If there is one thing that can be said about writers it is that many have a strong opinion of whether one should be a pantser (Seat-of-the-pants-writer) or a plotter (An outliner).
I plunged full force into writing, though a bit unsure, content in my approach. Over time, the words of outliners began to sink in. Then I hit a brick wall. I realized my writing was missing something, and if I were not mistaking, it meant I needed to change my approach to staring a novel. I began to add different methods such as characterization and goal, motivation, and conflict charts. Still my stories lacked.
Convinced that I needed to make some serious changes, I gave in to the idea that I needed to do some major legwork before beginning a story. When I spotted OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS by K.M. WEILAND, I read the reviews and pondered the thought of purchasing it. Did I really want to become an outliner? Could I even do it?
Something I have learned over time is the variations of the words pantsers and plotters. It is not an all or nothing approach, or one-size-fits-all. One of the things that drew me to MS WEILAND'S book on outlining is her attitude of the two approaches. She neither overly praised one or badmouthed the other. It was all about finding the unique formula fit for you.
My copy of OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS is packed with handwritten notes, highlights and dog-eared pages. It is truly a wealth of information and an eye-opening experience. You know a book is worth every penny when you have a light bulb moment.
With too many examples to list, I will note the simplicity and examples MS WEILAND chose in OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS was instrumental in creating a book on the craft that will influence my writing forever. The book is written in a way that will have you looking forward to reading it each day, completing it from cover to cover.
To be honest, I was on the fence whether to purchase this book, having several books I've read on the craft of writing, as well as waiting to be read on my shelf. I am certainly glad I listened to the five star and not one star, reviews. I would not label this book for "new writers", but for struggling writers, which can be at any point of one's journey.
So impressed was I with MS WEILAND'S knowledge on writing and her style in OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS , I purchased a couple of her novels.
Information on OUTLINING YOUR NOVEL: MAP YOUR WAY TO SUCCESS:
* Help you choose the right type of outline for you
* Guide you in brainstorming plot ideas
* Aid you in discovering your characters
* Show you how to structure your scenes
* Explain how to format your finished outline
* Instruct you in how to use your outline
Reveal the benefits:
* Ensures cohesion and balance
* Prevents dead-end ideas
* Provides foreshadowing
* Offers assurance and motivation
* Requires formal formatting
* Limits creativity
* Robs the joy of discovery
* Takes too much time
My largest gripe is that she quite often uses her own or other pretty obscure works as her examples of some point she is trying to make. Even when she does move to more popular stories she often used such things as The Patriot and Gladiator. While solid enough hits in their day not exactly timeless classics that are familiar to all and not exactly paragons of structure either. More stultifying is the fact that she tells rather than shows. She sucks all the energy from these stories as she uses them as examples. So throughout the book her examples which should be wonderful moments borrowed from the best writing out there and therefor some of the most engaging and interesting parts of her book are actually the worst because one is either not familiar with the text used, not particularly admiring of the work cited, or she manages to tell duly rather than quote writers who are genuinely talented.
She mentions High Noon and Gary Cooper's character"s backstory secret. She never tells or reminds the reader what it was. Same with The Three Muskateers. Is she concerned more with avoiding spoilers than making her point as clear and interesting as possible?. We get long chunks of her books which is sort of fair enough as it is what she would be most familiar with but 1) most won't be 2) she often doesn't bother to show how the examples she chooses help drive the book. She tells not shows. She will say, "I wrote x or Y in my novel Z - that really helped with backstory, or character or setting or whatever."
She goes over many many elements of a novel: theme, character, setting, backstory, She hits a lot of useful points but the presentation is dull and there is no sense of what parts are more important than others and her examples don't succeed in giving the reader a strong sense of how impactful the concepts she uses are. She spends pages discussing a Daphne Du Maurier book that she describes as "little known". . Then why use it as your example for god sakes? And she doesn't actually show us how it worked. She describes a scene and then just says "and then that scene was totally important to the character and the plot and is a great example of how a small scene can still drive things.
Small secondary points get pages of time without actually any pay off or interest. Crucial elements are often elided over and you are urged to get some other book of hers. In one of the final chapters she clumps deciding what POV to write from, and what demographc you are writing for along with write down all your scenes and eliminate any unnecessary scenes. Jebus..
This book is rambling and not well structured. If you were struggling to create clarity in your novel's structure this book might make things worse. If you wanted to do a lot lot lot of brainstorming without a clear idea of how these things create entertainment than it might be useful..