This large print, 150-page book supposedly shows how to write a commercially successful book in three weeks using the outlining techniques shown in the book. It identifies the major character and plot points necessary for a good book and extolls the advantages of plotting (outlining) over pantsing (writing by the seat of your pants).
Defining the main character, showing their external goal, identifying the protagonist, the hero’s flaws, the allies, and the overall theme are the first steps in setting up your outline.
Ms. Hawker uses examples from her own books to show how each of the pieces such as inciting event, changed goals, antagonists, etc. are used. She also provides a lengthy list of good story attributes for the writer to fill in.
In spite of the clever title, I found this book unhelpful. I tried to follow the instructions and filled in all the blanks; however, when she discussed triangular pacing that links one chapter to another, she totally lost me. I did a basic outline of a fantasy novel I’m working on and sketched out all the scenes; however, I still couldn’t figure out how to connect them to achieve the exciting results she said would happen. Perhaps I didn’t understand the process or maybe there wasn’t enough information there to tell me how to do it.
Pacing has always been a natural thing for me and using an artificial construct didn’t make sense to me. That might be just my subjective opinion and why I’m not a best-selling author. I’m glad this way of outlining works for Ms. Hawker, but I’m still struggling with understanding it. I am a plotter, although at a high level, and I am not a pantser.