CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer's Guide to Deep and Multifaceted Development and Progression of Characters, Plots, and Relationships 2 covers

Reviews for CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer’s Guide to Deep and Multifaceted Development and Progression of Characters, Plots, and Relationships by Karen S. Wiesner

Reviews:

CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer's Guide to Deep and Multifaceted Development and Progression of Characters, Plots, and Relationships 2 covers

5 stars!5 Stars!

“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

https://christinedesmet.com/


5 stars!5 Stars!

“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

http://www.margaretlcarter.com


5 stars!5 Stars!

“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)

http://www.christinespindler.de


CPR for Dead or Lifeless Fiction: A Writer’s Guide to Deep and Multifaceted Development and Progression of Characters, Plot, and Relationships will soon be a writer’s handbook that all of us will want on our shelves. Lucky for me, I received a review copy from Karen S. Wiesner, the talented author of a few writing craft books. So let’s talk about why you may want this book on your shelf!
If you like writing craft books that make you feel like the author is in the room with you and teaching you how to make your stories and characters better, then this book is perfect. While reading it, I felt as if Karen was in my living room, giving me advice with her helpful and easy to remember acronyms to keep me from boring my readers into falling asleep instead of turning the pages.
Here’s a great example:
A L I V E, and those letters stand for: Animated (evidence of a spark of life in your characters), Living (not just existing, but living a life full of external and internal conflicts), Interacting (dynamic and believable relationships), Vitality and Voice (3-dimensional character attributes), and finally Engaged (characters with objectives and purpose in the story with defined goals and motivations).
So think of some of your favorite characters in the books you read. Are they ALIVE? Now think of your main character–does he or she fit those five characteristics? This is what Karen’s book will do for you. Give you helpful tips, like how to diagnose if your characters are ALIVE, and then help you write better characters and plots.
The book is divided into seven chapters, plus an intro and conclusion, and then something very valuable–an appendix full of worksheets. I know this is every writer’s dream–at least it is mine. Karen includes worksheets for both plot and character development help. Then there are also worksheets on relationship development between your characters. If you are writing a romance, you’ll especially want to check out the “Links in the Chain of Romance Relationship Development Chart.” If you don’t have those links, then your romance readers will not be happy with you!
Back to the seven chapters–I think one of the most helpful chapters for any writer at any level is at the beginning of the book, chapter one, where Karen helps you with “ten ways to spot dead or lifeless characters, plots, and relationships.” And by dead characters–she’s not talking about the dead body on page one of a murder mystery. She means your character is just there, existing on the page. With chapter one, you receive 10 points to look for in your manuscript to diagnose what may be wrong with it.
Then she goes on to chapter two, where she introduces you to three-dimensional writing and scenes. Karen has a previous book where she talked about those concepts more (Cohesive Story Building). But in CPR, she reviews these strategies for writers, as she gets ready to really dig into your characters (chapter 3), plot (chapter 4), and relationships (chapter 5).
I like this book so much because of the relationships’ sections. A lot of writing craft books about plot and characters don’t spend as much time on examining the relationships in the book. But think about it–when you watch a movie or get hooked on a book series, aren’t you very interested in the characters and their relationships? I’ll just answer for you–Yes! Han Solo and Princess Leia, Ron and Hermione, and Katniss and Peeta…insert any of your favorites in here, and you’ll see what I mean. You want the relationships in your plots to stick in readers’ minds like these previous ones did for me.
This writer’s craft book helps you diagnose what’s wrong with your manuscript, and then fix it with tips and advice from Karen. If you’re a fiction writer looking to improve your craft as one of your 2021 goals, thenCPR for Dead or Lifeless Fictionis for you!

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