Okay. Initially I enjoyed the premise of this book. I'm one of the university writing students this particular author likes to poo-poo for having too much critical thinking in the way of my work. So, I decided to try and change my thinking. He lost me about halfway through. I skimmed the rest and found some decent tips but ye gods, did this need some rewriting.
There are elements to this process that I agree with. That you should approach your work with as quite a critical voice as possible and as much creativity.I agree and I agree with the process of allowing yourself to explore, perhaps go in blind, to play and trust the process of story telling. Writing a novel after all should be focused on the telling of a story.
However, Mr Smith is a master at self-contradiction. He emphasises the vital nature of shutting your critical voice away and exploring your story in one paragraph, and in the next insists that NO REWRITING EVER AT ALL MUST BE DONE, your draft when finished must be of publishable quality. You can't do that without critical assessment of your own work. Another example is insisting there is to be no rewriting, and yet one of his processes, the habit of cycling back to an early point and adjusting it is essentially rewriting. So much for "rewriting is critical voice". Oi.
So while I agree with his premise, his methodology is lax, his arguments contradictory and sure while this works for him and perhaps others... He lost me when he started contradicting himself.
It's my opinion as a reader, student of writing and an editor that this book could've used a rewrite. 2 stars for the good tips though.
Some great ideas here, and all seem quite doable. Plus, this guy has actually written a lot of books, so he knows of what he speaks. Outlining the scene or chapter you just wrote, trusting the creative voice and its process, writing for your own entertainment (now, there's a thought!), branching off into dark caves, no major rewriting, cycling, just to name a few. I haven't felt like writing for a while, but this little book has instilled some hope, and has popped the critical voice right back in its box, so I'll be off to the computer to give his ideas a try.
There are so many how-to books that insist we must outline and plot, so it was refreshing to read an ebook written by a successful, professional writer where the message is that our creative right brains should be in the driver seat, not our left brains, and that our stories will be all the better for it. When i became serious about writing, I tried outlining. It just doesn't work for me. Once a story has been outlined, as far as I'm concerned the story has been told and I have no interest in hashing it all out again. Dean Wesley Smith shows us his process from start to finish including how to make the story the best it can be first time round, with no second or subsequent drafts necessary. There is a tonne of information in here and I found this a very helpful, no-nonsense read. I highly recommend it for those writers who find plotting and outlining very restrictive and difficult, but plotters and outliners might also find some nuggets in here to add to their own processes.
This is a self-important, thrill seeking, rather shallow piece by an author who is advising his gullible disciples to navigate down the long hard twisting road of a novel while looking in the rear view mirror. He ignores all of the pit stops of character development, turning points and stakes. He laughs in the face of practised professionals such as Rowlings and Michener to support his convoluted thesis by advising you don't do outlines - but admits he does them anyway. The book only really starts at Chapter 5, everything before that is set-up and a very wobbly litany of unsubstantiated 'slagging' off of outlining as 'crap' or 's***ty' or some other put-down. I wonder if he ever heard of Scrivener. He certainly has a voice though: opinionated and full of limited wrong-headed advice. Oh well.