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Writing into the Dark: How to Write a Novel without an Outline (WMG Writer's Guides Book 9) Kindle Edition
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I've tried multiple times to outline large complicated novels only to find I can't complete them. Same goes for short stories. The moment I plan too much, the playful part of my brain gets bored and wants to give up on the 'work.' It's nice to see a process explained that takes advantage of the playful part of the brain, channels that playfulness into useful sets of tools, and then gives you permission to write in a way that doesn't feel dreadful.
Understand, this isn't a long book with some complicated process, but it's worth every penny for the freedom it gives.
I tell myself to always trust the process. Knowing someone as prolific as Dean faces the same process challenges and has learned to embrace them as features and not see them as roadblocks really gives me the encouragement to keep doing what I'm doing; detailed outlines and 11 redrafts are out the door.
Now I'm going to go have some fun and write a new story.
Presenting the alternative is valuable and a refreshing change from all the outline books out there. That said I felt that the presentation could have done with a bit more depth. And it did feel a little on the short side for the price, especially when you coanisder that 1/5 of it is taken up with a sample chapter from a completly different book. This is why I'm bumping the book down to three rather than four stars.
Plotters v. Pantsers
The writing world is divided between them.
Plotters - Plot before they write. Pantsers just write.
There are hundreds, (thousands?) of books on plotting (outlining); the different ways to outline, beat sheets, three-act, seven-act method, character sketches ad infinitum. Many writers will agree, even argue that this is the only way or the true way to write. They consider themselves Plotters.
On the other side are the Pantsers. Writers who write by the seat of their pants, or as Mr. Smith calls it 'Writing into the Dark'.
This is the first book I have found that embraces writing without an outline. Mr. Smith does not say his method is the only way. He does say it is the only way for him because it works for him. Then he explains how he does it. He gives writers a 'methodology' for how it's done.
But more importantly Mr. Smith gives succor to those writers who write into the dark but have to justify their writing method to the majority of writers who plot.
As a writer, I have been to many conferences and read many of the hundreds of books on plotting. I have heard heated debates at conferences and writer's groups about the pros and cons of plotting versus pantsing.
This book is an important addition to the many how-to writing books out there. New writers need to be exposed to the many ways to write. There are as many ways to write as their are writers. Until you write, you will not find the way that meshes with the way your brain works. But, writers need to know that writing without an outline does work. Mr. Smith has done a great service to writers with this book.
The author recommends writing an outline after each scene/chapter. Just a very short one or two line summary and keeping it next to your computer on a legal pad. I love this idea. Just jot down the chapter number, POV character, what they are wearing, the setting and a one line summary. This is especially helpful for people writing multiple POVC thrillers.
I highly recommend this book to all authors who want to get to the end of their manuscript and find themselves getting stuck like I have found myself.