Cohesive Story Building (formerly titled FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL {A Writer's Guide to Cohesive Story Building}) by Karen Wiesner (Non-Fiction: Writing Advice)

 
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Elizabeth King Humphrey for WOW! Women On Writing http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com/search/label/finished%20draft
Dec 1, 2014
I was fortunate to get to review Karen Wiesner's COHESIVE STORY BUILDING. In this book on crafting a novel, Wiesner continues to carefully lead you through different layers of the process of writing--and finishing--a novel. Peeling back the layers, Wiesner helps you to set the stage for building a strong and cohesive story. As she does in FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, she provides real-life examples from drafts and published novels. Wiesner puts together a blueprint to follow that starts with setting forth and laying a strong foundation. She encourages brainstorming and then researching. Along the way, Wiesner gives writers the tools to understand how to write their stories. Her appendices include a glossary that helps to explain some of the elements of fiction writing. Wiesner also gives writers the easy-to-follow checklists and exercises to keep on track. After laying the solid foundation, Wiesner spends two parts putting up the walls of your story. She helps to guide writers through evaluating their own stories, which is essential if you are going to make the story work. Then, thinking in layers, Wiesner suggests how to improve on the foundation and walls of your story. In the third part, Wiesner helps guide writers in the revision process--giving ideas on how to involve critique groups or partners--through to the final polishing. Want to sell the novel? Then Wiesner helps you put your proposal together. (I'm not there quite yet!) Wiesner's style is approachable and friendly. Her advice seems to be vested in you developing the best novel you can. Her examples are contemporary and work to help demonstrate the concepts she's exploring. Her precision focus and guidance should easily help you get from your first draft to a completed novel. Her preparations helped me to look at my work more objectively. She's the writers' coach you wished lived next door to you.
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Patricia Fry, President of SPAWN http://www.spawn.org/books/books_write_drafttofinishednovel.htm
Dec 1, 2014
Have you ever wished for a blueprint for your novel--one that would ensure that your story was strong, your characters interesting and your pace perfect? Karen Wiesner, author of over 100 books, which have won a total of 125 awards, has created the book you've been waiting for. I'm telling you this so you'll understand this author's credibility when it comes to novel-writing. And according to her bio, her work has garnered dozens and dozens of awards. It's unusual for a novelist to write a cohesive nonfiction book. Obviously Wiesner is an exception. I found this book to be extremely informative, well laid-out, and easy to follow. She says that writing a story isn't much different from building a house and she provides clear instructions along with many relevant and useful examples. She uses examples from authors such as Dan Brown, Sandra Brown, J.K. Rowlings, Stephen King, Larry McMurtry, and many others. I got a kick out of how she uses the process of building a house throughout her chapters to help writers understand the importance of taking each step in sequence. Works for me! I especially appreciate her checklists. She provides a story-plan checklist, a cohesion checklist, revision checklist, punch checklist, as well as exercises and worksheets to help the reader put into action the valuable information she offers throughout this book. Are you having trouble organizing or expanding on your story idea, your plot, the editing, or your submission package? Are you confused about point-of-view, character development or even how to conduct research for your novel? Take a look at this book. It is very well-designed and jam-packed with excellent information and instruction. In fact, it should be required reading for fiction writers. She likens the process of building a story to that of building a house. First there's the idea, then you have to lay the foundation. Next comes the actual building of the house (or writing of the story) and the decorating (revising). And she offers detailed chapters reflecting this theme throughout. She starts with the Principles of Building a Cohesive Story, goes into brainstorming and researching as well as revising and how to utilize critique partners. I especially like her Story Plan Checklist Exercises. And she uses some familiar books to show you how it's done. Do you like workbook pages and exercises? Then you'll enjoy working your way through this book. Read Wiesner's wise words, follow her instructions and you may complete a more cohesive, entertaining story, and in record time. In her book, Wiesner also teaches you a lot about self-editing--something that all writers and authors should understand. I love her examples, most of them taken from published books. One thing she suggests is that you write effectively enough that the reader has the same reaction as the POV character. She gives this example: "Jacqueline felt a scream rise in her throat, begging for release, but she clamped her lips shut to imprison it." Here's another version of that sentences. "A scream clawed in Jacqueline's throat, begging for release, but her clamped lips imprisoned it." She says that she believes both work well, but in the first version, the word "felt" separates the reader from the character. Can you see and feel the difference? This book is full of this sort of assistance and enlightenment. If you are struggling through the writing of a novel, if your critique group tells you that your characters need depth or your scenes could use more pizzazz, take a look at Wiesner's book. And I am happy to report that she has devised a complete and meaningful subject index. This is a book that you can read from cover to cover, but keep it nearby because you'll want to reference it often throughout the process of writing your novel.
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C. Hope Clark, editor FundsforWriters.com and author The Carolina Slade Mystery Series, www.chopeclark.com
Dec 1, 2014
Finally, a book that isn't just theory when it comes to writing a novel. Karen S. Wiesner takes your first draft and shows you how to mold it into a novel, to include query and synopsis stages. Half the book consists of an abundance of checklists, exercises and worksheets, making this book a hard-core practical, useful tool for the novelist. COHESIVE STORY BUILDING is the best hands-on, common sense guidebook to getting a novel into the world that I've seen in years. No fluff...just how to make it happen.
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C.B. Wentworth http://cbwentworth.wordpress.com/2011/08/22/books-i-cant-write-without/
Dec 1, 2014
Books I Can't Write Without: Like many aspiring writers, my bookshelf is loaded with various books related to the craft of writing. Along with the standard dictionaries, thesauri, and grammar guides, I have books that cover everything from how to write a novel to college textbooks that pick apart short stories. What I can't figure out is why I have so many of them! If I've discovered anything over the last few years, it's that the most valuable writing books are the ones which actually inspire the act of writing. My Favorite "How To" Books: #1 COHESIVE STORY BUILDING by Karen S. Wiesner. When I decided to start writing a novel, it became glaringly obvious that I had no idea what I was doing. Wiesner's book gave me a wonderful place to start in plain, simple language that gave me some hope of actually achieving my goal. She uses a wonderful analogy of how building a house is similar to the process of writing a novel. For example, the first phase of building a house is laying the foundation just as brainstorming is the first step to writing just about anything. As an added bonus, the back of the book is filled with appendices that include checklists, graphic organizers, real world examples, and outline layouts.
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Andrea Sisco for Armchair Interviews http://reviews.armchairinterviews.com/reviews/from-first-draft-to-finished-novel-a-writer-s-gui
Dec 1, 2014
From that first idea to the finished product, Karen Wiesner helps writers write the novel they've always wanted to write. Wiesner believes writing a novel is much like building a house and uses the analogy to help the reader visualize the process. Wiesner delves into the workings of writing the novel and also helps with the necessary and often dreaded query letter, synopsis, cover letter and partial manuscript to be sent to the agent or editor. From COHESIVE STORY BUILDING is a wonderful addition to the writer's reference library. Wiesner makes things as easy as possible for the reader. She includes a glossary of terms, story plan checklist exercises, editing and polishing exercises and various worksheets. Her writing is concise and easily understood, even for the novice writer. The book is laid out in a readable manner and includes information and directions to help move along the writing process. Not everyone will use everything Wiesner puts forth, but that's not the idea. The information is offered and can be used if it's wanted or needed. Armchair Interviews says: Want to write a novel? COHESIVE STORY BUILDING would be a good reference source in helping you with that dream.
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author Margaret L. Carter http://www.margaretlcarter.com
Dec 1, 2014
Although this writing manual is a companion book to FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, one can work with it independently of the earlier book. COHESIVE STORY BUILDING begins with a lucid summary of the method in FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS so that a writer can adopt that method and go on to integrate it with the techniques recommended in the new book. Using the metaphor of building a house from a blueprint and a solid foundation, Wiesner lays out a step-by-step plan for developing a polished novel from the "formatted outline" produced by the FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS method. She gives an abundance of examples from published novels so that the reader has no trouble grasping exactly what she means by each of her recommendations. This book introduces two very helpful concepts new to me, "story sparks" and the "punch list." It also includes a large quantity of useful checklists and worksheets. For writers like me, to whom outlining and pre-planning come naturally, COHESIVE STORY BUILDING will definitely be of great value. Many of its suggestions are bound to benefit "pantsers," too, however. If you already have FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, be sure to add this "sequel" to your collection. If not, consider buying it anyway; the new book, as I mentioned, can stand on its own.
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Suzanne Pitner for Suite101.com http://fiction-plots-pacing.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_create_a_plot_for_a_novel
Dec 1, 2014
FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS gives a well-detailed, practical system of how to write a novel in a month. It can be personalized to work for anyone. Attempting to write a novel in thirty days is a tremendous undertaking. Award-winning author Karen Wiesner insists that anyone can do this by using her system. In her book, FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS: A Novel Writer's System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript, she reveals how she keeps ahead of her writing deadlines and continues to write prolifically. According to her website, she is the author of over 100 novels written in 16 years. Her books have been nominated for and/or won 125 awards. She is contracted for several multi-book series and novels with her publishers. She writes in many genres, including mystery, police procedural, romantic suspense, and nonfiction. Ms. Wiesner is a member of many writing organizations. She is also a talented artist and designs many of her own covers. For a writer looking for a method to write a novel quickly, this book is one to consider. It's an essential tool for succeeding at NanoWrimo, National Novel Writing Month. Even if it is not used strictly on a thirty-day schedule, the method, charts, and forms will benefit writers looking for a way to write a novel in an organized manner. For more support on the second half of the process, Karen wrote COHESIVE STORY BUILDING. This book goes even deeper into her method and shows the writer how to turn the formatted outline into a well-written manuscript.
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The Readers Roundtable http://truthbetold.thereadersroundtable.com/?p=70
Dec 1, 2014
COHESIVE STORY BUILDING by Karen Wiesner uses an interesting analogy for creating your novel. The idea of looking at your novel as building a house is different than anything I've read and a unique approach for the writer who likes a strict format. Ms. Wiesner's approach is refreshing. Each section is considered one layer of the process with four stages. There are lots of good ideas that can be used by anyone at any time during writing. There are also several appendices containing worksheets, exercises and examples of how to use everything. Overall the book is a very helpful tool for a writer to have on their bookshelf or their e-reader.
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Karen Wiesner
Jun 9, 2015
"Although this writing manual is a companion book to FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, one can work with it independently of the earlier book. FROM FIRST DRAFT... begins with a lucid summary of the method in FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS so that a writer can adopt that method and go on to integrate it with the techniques recommended in the new book. Using the metaphor of building a house from a blueprint and a solid foundation, Wiesner lays out a step-by-step plan for developing a polished novel from the "formatted outline" produced by the FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS method. She gives an abundance of examples from published novels so that the reader has no trouble grasping exactly what she means by each of her recommendations. This book introduces two very helpful concepts new to me, "story sparks" and the "punch list." It also includes a large quantity of useful checklists and worksheets. For writers like me, to whom outlining and pre-planning come naturally, FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL will definitely be of great value. Many of its suggestions are bound to benefit "pantsers," too, however. If you already have FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS, be sure to add this "sequel" to your collection. If not, consider buying it anyway; the new book, as I mentioned, can stand on its own." ~author Margaret L. Carter http://www.margaretlcarter.com

“FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS gives a well-detailed, practical system of how to write a novel in a month. It can be personalized to work for anyone. Attempting to write a novel in thirty days is a tremendous undertaking. Award-winning author Karen Wiesner insists that anyone can do this by using her system. In her book, FIRST DRAFT IN 30 DAYS: A Novel Writer’s System for Building a Complete and Cohesive Manuscript, she reveals how she keeps ahead of her writing deadlines and continues to write prolifically. According to her website, she is the author of 68 novels written in 11 years. Her books have been nominated for and/or won 92 awards. She is contracted for several multi-book series and novels with her publishers. She writes in many genres, including mystery, police procedural, romantic suspense, and nonfiction. Ms. Wiesner is a member of many writing organizations. She is also a talented artist and designs many of her own covers. For a writer looking for a method to write a novel quickly, this book is one to consider. It's an essential tool for succeeding at NanoWrimo, National Novel Writing Month. Even if it is not used strictly on a thirty-day schedule, the method, charts, and forms will benefit writers looking for a way to write a novel in an organized manner. For more support on the second half of the process, Karen wrote FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL. This book goes even deeper into her method and shows the writer how to turn the formatted outline into a well-written manuscript.” ~Suzanne Pitner for Suite101.com http://fiction-plots-pacing.suite101.com/article.cfm/how_to_create_a_plot_for_a_novel

“FROM FIRST DRAFT TO FINISHED NOVEL by Karen Wiesner uses an interesting analogy for creating your novel. The idea of looking at your novel as building a house is different than anything I’ve read and a unique approach for the writer who likes a strict format. Ms. Wiesner’s approach is refreshing. Each section is considered one layer of the process with four stages. There are lots of good ideas that can be used by anyone at any time during writing. There are also several appendices containing worksheets, exercises and examples of how to use everything. Overall the book is a very helpful tool for a writer to have on their bookshelf or their e-reader.” ~The Readers Roundtable http://truthbetold.thereadersroundtable.com/?p=70
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