“Highly recommended new book to bring your novel writing ‘ALIVE‘! Karen S. Wiesner has yet again written a stellar book for writers at all stages looking for new energy in their storytelling with CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer’s Guide to Deep and Multi-Faceted Development of Characters, Plots, and Relationships (Writers Exchange Publishing, 2020).
Every paragraph teems with good points to savor and use in planning a novel or revising a manuscript-or even resuscitating an author’s career if a series becomes stale. The list of ten ways to spot dead or lifeless characters, plots, and relationships is a book within a book and priceless.
I also loved her thoughtful, useful ALIVE acronym for ‘Animated, Living, Interacting, Vitality & Voice, Engaged’ plots and characters. She of course goes in-depth with tips on how to achieve every one of those letters in ALIVE. This is a book on writing that is alive with wisdom. In this well-researched and carefully crafted handbook, Wiesner uses plenty of examples, worksheets, and lists to create what amounts to a Master Class in writing a more satisfying novel. Highly recommended.” ~Christine DeSmet, mystery author (Fudge Shop Mystery Series) and Distinguished Faculty Associate in writing, University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies, and director, Write-by-the-Lake Writer’s Workshop & Retreat
“For plotting all my novels and novellas, I depend heavily on Karen Wiesner’s FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS. Her books on writing can be invaluably helpful not only for dedicated plotters and outliners like me, but for the intuitive ‘pantser’ as well.
This new book delves more deeply than any of her previous works into the intricacies of creating effective characters, plots, and relationships. After a comprehensive guide to recognizing and diagnosing ‘dead or lifeless’ writing, the book works through every stage in the planning and writing of a novel, with numerous examples from popular literature and other media.
The step-by-step approach carries the reader along the path of conceiving, developing, and animating characters, from the initial inspiration to the ultimate goal of a cohesively plotted, vividly alive story. The organic imagery of living, dead, and ‘zombie’ CPR woven throughout the text captivates the reader’s attention, as do the numerous concrete examples of how to apply the author’s instruction and advice.
The appendix contains a collection of useful worksheets. As a bonus, the conclusion offers an eye-opening analysis of the current state of the publishing industry. You don’t need to be familiar with the author’s earlier books on writing to benefit from this one, since it covers all the highlights of her method. If you haven’t read them, though, you’ll probably want to get one or more after immersion in CPR FOR DEAD OR LIFELESS FICTION.”
~award-winning author Margaret L. Carter
“CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer’s Guide to Deep and Multifaceted Development and Progression of Characters, Plots, and Relationships is stunning in every way. One of my favourite reference books is ‘Techniques of the Selling Writer’ by Dwight V. Swain, an absolute classic. I’m convinced that this book stands a good chance to become a classic as well.
It’s not just for writers who want to fix a manuscript, but also for those who want to avoid creating lifeless fiction in the first place. It’s both for beginners and experienced writers. And it’s written in a wonderful entertaining style, which makes it an easy, fluent read. In short: this book nails it.
I like the homeworks and the short summaries at the end of each chapter for those who have read the book and come back later to check up on some aspects. All they’ll need is a quick brush up–and that’s what they get. CPR FOR DEAD OR LIFELESS FICTION is delightful and inspiring.” ~Christine Spindler, translator, publisher, and author of the Karate Hamster Series (written under her maiden name, Tina Zang)