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I bought it! :) I'm hoping it'll help me figure out how to add more to a story I'm working on. I'm already getting some ideas. Thanks!
 

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On a spur of the whim notion I decided to pick up this book. I'm someone who generally writes by the seat of their pants (although I do tend to have a paragraph-or-so summary setting up the main problem) and I've been trying to get into outlining a little bit more, but none of the books I've read prior have worked for me. I'm a very organic sort of writer, in that I don't often know the actual 'plot' until I'm in the middle of writing it. I also struggle when I start thinking about 'structure' and 'making sure of pacing' and all the technical things that outliners tend to focus on.

That being said, I'm about halfway through this book and I love it so far. It's very character-focused, it's very big-picture focused, and I can simply just not do the things that don't work for me (like the list of scenes). It's the first book about writing that hasn't left me feeling like I'm doing something wrong because I can't think about all the structural things while writing the story. So.

For those who are pantsers, I would recommend this book anyway because I think it has a lot to offer regardless of how someone writes.
 

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Wow, thank you guys for the great reviews! I appreciate it, and I'm glad you guys have found it so helpful.

Mark, wish I could send everybody a cigar, but I need them all for myself. ;)

MacMcAdams said:
Off topic... El Hawk - Your Tidewater cover is so incredible.
Thanks! I love it. The art is by Lane Brown, who is doing six more covers for me this year, for all my 2015 new releases. In fact I just got the first one today and it's predictably awesome. Lake Union picked up Tidewater after it'd been self-published, and I am very happy that they've kept the illustration for the cover, although the design is a little different.
 

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I also highly recommend these self-editing books:

"Showing and Telling in Fiction": http://www.amazon.com/Showing-Telling-Fiction-Writers-Guides-ebook/dp/B00J3CUEZM

"Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View" by Jill Elizabeth Nelson: http://amzn.to/1gdSFBD

"Mastering Showing vs Telling in Your Fiction" by Marcy Kennedy http://amzn.to/1u8mjUL

"The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer's Guide to Character Expression" http://writershelpingwriters.net/bookstore/

Wishing everyone much success in their writing journey.
 

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elizabethsade said:
On a spur of the whim notion I decided to pick up this book. I'm someone who generally writes by the seat of their pants (although I do tend to have a paragraph-or-so summary setting up the main problem) and I've been trying to get into outlining a little bit more, but none of the books I've read prior have worked for me. I'm a very organic sort of writer, in that I don't often know the actual 'plot' until I'm in the middle of writing it. I also struggle when I start thinking about 'structure' and 'making sure of pacing' and all the technical things that outliners tend to focus on.

That being said, I'm about halfway through this book and I love it so far. It's very character-focused, it's very big-picture focused, and I can simply just not do the things that don't work for me (like the list of scenes). It's the first book about writing that hasn't left me feeling like I'm doing something wrong because I can't think about all the structural things while writing the story. So.

For those who are pantsers, I would recommend this book anyway because I think it has a lot to offer regardless of how someone writes.
Which book are you referring to?
 

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Jim Johnson said:
...

the one mentioned in the original post of the thread? (Also, nice threadjack with your product placement!)

EDIT: ninja'd by elizabethsade *shakes fist*
Hee! I'm just fast because I'm at work and not wanting to do my actual work. ;)

I did just finish the book and I think the first half really was the best when it came to how I write. I think the pacing and outlining bits will be useful after a book is written and I'm re-structuring it a bit for edits (right now that's a thing, since I'm only halfway through my second novel, I'm guessing by 4-5 in there will only be minor re-writes needed).

So, overall I found it really useful, even if I don't really think I'll use much of the super outline-y bits. (I do love the scene and chapter goals, though - I'll definitely be using those in my edits!)
 

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Jim Johnson said:
...

the one mentioned in the original post of the thread? (Also, nice threadjack with your product placement!)

EDIT: ninja'd by elizabethsade *shakes fist*
SORRY! That was not my intention.
 

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I'm really enjoying this! I want to outline and think it will help, but it hasn't clicked for me yet. I like the character/motivation-centric approach, and I'm looking forward to trying it out.

So thank you for writing it, and thanks for recommending it! :D
 

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I picked it up and read it this morning. Great tips, and I like how it's nice and compact; no fluff. I like how the focus is on the characters and how the plot naturally grows out of that. I'm a big fan of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat but it was missing that crucial character bit I think, and I tried to mix the two plot forms together. I just finished Act 1 of my WIP and retro-outlined that, and will try to work my Save The Cat broad beats into a logical series of character-driven scene-by-scene beats tomorrow!
 

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Bought it, on the strength of Michael's recommendation (thanks!), and have read about one third so far. It's great stuff, and quite apart from the advice, Libbie, you're a hell of a writer.

One thing I struggle with is the character arc aspect. I write action thrillers, and have three ongoing series. In one of them, the anti-hero is a burnt-out former assassin who's trying to atone for his past actions. No problem with an arc there. But the other two series are open-ended - I'll keep writing 'em till my readers beg me to stop - and it's much harder to sustain an arc over that many books. I wonder if readers are less responsive to the arc idea once they've been hooked by a series character.
 

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timstevens said:
One thing I struggle with is the character arc aspect. I write action thrillers, and have three ongoing series. In one of them, the anti-hero is a burnt-out former assassin who's trying to atone for his past actions. No problem with an arc there. But the other two series are open-ended - I'll keep writing 'em till my readers beg me to stop - and it's much harder to sustain an arc over that many books. I wonder if readers are less responsive to the arc idea once they've been hooked by a series character.
I wonder if you could focus on book-specific character arcs? Like, have them all related to the 'main' arc, or the antagonist's/whomever's main flaw, but also just make incremental steps? Or introduce new problems that relate to the flaw, tie them all together? I think as long as you have a book-related arc and deliver a satisfying book with some sort of arc, people will be okay. Later in the book she talks about having miniature arcs in scenes and chapters and I think that's something you could work with?

(This is just my opinion as a newbie author and someone who focuses heavily on characters in her writing.)
 

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Picked it up, and switching to it from the writing book I've been working through in free time for the last couple of days. Sounds like at the very least it won't be preachy and dogmatic, but a list of usable techniques. I'd also second the person who mentioned the emotion thesaurus. I'm constantly glancing at it while writing to get bits of inspiration. Rachel Bach's 2k to 10k is the only other book I can think of which actually changed how I write substantially. Though I find the Six Core Competencies from Story Engineering a really useful framework - I can't stand the authors writing though.
 

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timstevens said:
Bought it, on the strength of Michael's recommendation (thanks!), and have read about one third so far. It's great stuff, and quite apart from the advice, Libbie, you're a hell of a writer.
Thanks! :)

One thing I struggle with is the character arc aspect. I write action thrillers, and have three ongoing series. In one of them, the anti-hero is a burnt-out former assassin who's trying to atone for his past actions. No problem with an arc there. But the other two series are open-ended - I'll keep writing 'em till my readers beg me to stop - and it's much harder to sustain an arc over that many books. I wonder if readers are less responsive to the arc idea once they've been hooked by a series character.
You can give a character a new flaw to overcome in each book. My historical series has the same main character in three of the four books, and she has a different personal flaw she needs to work on in each one. The flaw in each subsequent book develops naturally out of the events in the prior book, of course. That's one way to approach a series with the same character(s).
 

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ElHawk said:
Yes -- there are definitely parts where you can adapt it to be pants-friendly. When I feel like pantsing, I leave out the "beat" portion of the outline and just use the steps that come before as a very rough guide, and let my brain go crazy to fill in all the blanks.
I picked up the book while listening to the podcast :) I agree you can take some parts while leaving others and still gain from it. I'm primarily a pantser, but I would call myself an organised pantser. I usually make a list of 40 chapter headings with a goal for each chapter, and then if I feel like it, I add to them with beats. Quite often, half of the list will be remain as a "waypoint" and not have a beat.
 
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