Bestselling author David Farland has taught dozens of writers who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).
In this audiobook, Dave teaches how to analyze an audience and outline a novel so that it can appeal to a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller. The secrets found in his unconventional approach will help you understand why so many of his authors go on to prominence.
Please note: Any files referenced in the audio will not be included.
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Good nuggets amidst the dross
The book is more of less in 2 parts. In the first part the author lays out his approach to picking which topics and themes are most likely to make a bestseller. This part of the book is a 1 star. There's lots of self-congratulation and not a lot of usable insights. The second part of the book actually covers how to create a plot and is really quite good. The actual creation of an outline takes up maybe a quarter of this section. It's good stuff, but it's less focus on the topic than you might expect from the title. An addenda includes excerpts from the brainstorming session for the script of the first "Indiana Jones" film with some commentary, this is also quite good.
For the love of God Casual is not the same as Causal. Also occasionally couldn't make out what he said (I work in a noisy environment so it may just be me).
When I relisten I'll skip over the first section for sure.
I wish this came with a PDF of the graphics referred to in the text.
So interesting, you'll wish you had a print copy
Once the book actually got going (after an hour or so), this book became the one I've been seeking for a long time: a discussion of the actual nuts and bolts of crafting a story. What needs to happen for the reader to care, or to make characters seem less one-dimensional, or to increase the tension between even the allies of a story. As it went on, the book became more and more useful, going so far as to list out the classic character roles, textbook-style. Listened to this on my commute, but am now going through it again, pen in hand, to write down all the excellent, low-level instruction that's stuffed into it.
Though it occasionally wandered into loftier topics, a wide majority of the time was spent discussing practical matters: this is how to make a dinner conversation interesting, for example. This is why the protagonist has to fail, then make it worse, then fail again, etc.
His voice was dynamic and clear (even though he one said "smiles and metaphors" instead of "similes and metaphors"), but it frequently seemed like his "reading the book" voice was also his "reciting the dialogue of someone who is very annoyed" voice. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but got a little annoying sometimes.
Hours and hours of tips and concrete examples, not only with how to do things in your book, but how to think differently about your plot and move in new directions.
At one point, the print version lists the top-50 grossing movies of all time. This could have been skipped for the audiobook, but instead, they chose to read every. single. one. Also, there's a TON about plot, but "Million Dollar Outlines" includes very, very little about actual outlines.
- Rich A.