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Death by Books

Like you (I assume) I like books. I used to read fantasy exclusively, but these days I've branched out to pick up the occasional mystery, YA or steampunk novel. I also love to read about the art of writing and use that to improve my skills in my own work.

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success - K.M. Weiland What K.M. Weiland calls outlining and what I call outlining are vastly different. Outlining is a road map for me to make sure that when I get to the end of my story I don't end up painted into a corner, resorting to sticking a stupid space spider in as my evil monster (yes, I'm referring to "It" by Stephen King). K.M. Weiland seems to view outlining as a complete and utter diagram of every aspect of the story. In reading through her examples, they come across as free form brainstorming sessions. By the time she gets done (several months later) she has to go back through and do an abbreviated outline to keep from getting bogged down in all the minutiae of the "first draft" of her outline.

Most of the book isn't about outlining, it's about story construction in general: creating characters, theme, POV, world building/setting. Within these sections I did find some useful information (ie. using the Ennegram chart to work through character creation), but in terms of actual determination of story organization - Beginning, Middle and End, I did not find the book all that useful. Perhaps because, in my mind, outlining is a simple thing that requires a handful of pages to explain and not almost two hundred.

One other complaint I have is her lack of concrete examples. She refers to many books and scenes, but does not actually provide excerpts from the stories in order to make her points clear. She instead describes the scenes. I had read a couple of the books she referred to, but not many, and so I was unable to think to myself, "Aha, that's what she means when she talks about personal conflict."

I'm giving the book three stars more for what it is than for what it was meant to be. There are some good ideas present for the creation process of a book. She also provides some links to software and personality charts that may be of use.