Sometimes writers write books about writing. Stephen King comes to mind, among many others.
Sometimes — much rarer — writers write books about a specific book they’ve written, or someone else comes forward to write about that book (John Steinbeck, for example, as well as biographies of iconic authors that discuss specific works).
But I’m not sure anyone has written a book about a novel that isn’t or wasn’t an iconic bestseller. At least (says the hopeful blushing author) yet.
A book completely focused on, and dedicated to, the reader (in this case, the reader being a writer) and the elevation of their level of storytelling skill.
The only way this works is if something valuable and unique is delivered to the reader/writer audience. Otherwise it’s an exercise in hubris. And it helps (at least it would if had been done before, which it hasn’t, to my knowledge) when three things are true:
A. The book-about-the-underlying-novel is a teaching tool, illustrating the key principles of storytelling at work within a functioning novel, as well as shining a light on the road to publication, which in this case took years.
Sort of like a medical school lab, with the subject residing motionless while being dissected; in this case, though, the subject isn’t dead, it still has legs).
B. The novel itself has gained positive reviews. In one case, from a known writing mentor who compares the author to Raymond Chandler.
C. The author has some equity (credibility) in both the arena of writing novels and writing books about writing novels, especially the latter.
That author, in this case, is me. If you aren’t aware of my writing books, see the right-hand column here, and know that “Story Engineering” has been a bestseller in this niche for nearly three years now.
The Novel, the Ebook, and the Mission
My latest novel, Deadly Faux, was published by Turner Publishing last October.
The reviews, especially that blurb from James Frey (again, see the right-hand column for that, in full), are what allow me to risk a perception of hubris to press forward on the writing of an Ebook that is about the creation, structure, physics and writer-to-writer insider stuff…
… all for one reason: to extend my mission here, which is to define, illustrate and encourage the understanding and practice of an elevated level of craft relative to the writing of stories.
Yes, it occurred to me that this might sell a few copies, too. I could pitch that as an example of thinking outside of the traditional marketing box. But the fact remains that the Ebook stands alone as a teaching tool for writers seeking to see the principles in action within a viable story, though it’s conveniently true that the Ebook is less effective for those who haven’t read the novel than for those that have.
The Ebook is called The Inner Life of Deadly Faux. You can download it as a 114-page PDF here, for FREE:
There is a tragic love story about the book’s inception, writing and rocky road to publication.
You’ll see all six Core Competencies culled out, as well as all six realms of Story Physics. You’ll understand how none of that occurred by accident, and yet, how all of them evolved and sharpened through the writing of the novel.
You’ll see the unedited version of the opening chapter, which was strategically trimmed for the final version (at my agent’s suggestion; the point is to show how effective trimming the fat can be).
You’ll read a chapter by chapter commentary on the novel itself (greatly condensed), not unlike the “director’s commentary” as an extra on the DVD release of a movie.
No strings. Buy the novel first (for the best learning experience), or not at all (plenty of value there, too). I’m hoping, of course, that the Ebook will entice you to see the story as it plays in published form.
One final note: this Ebook was part of a “gift with purchase” offer prior to and shortly after the book’s release. Hundreds of you opted in, and I’ve heard from many that the Ebook is a valuable and rare writing workshop that made their experience of the novel itself even more fun and rewarding. I appreciate all of you who opted in. But the time has come to make this offer on a wider basis, and the end-result should put these takers on equal ground with you: buy the book, get the Ebook, though for many it may execute in reverse.
Let me know your thoughts. And for those who read Deadly Faux, I could always use a few more Amazon reviews.
Warning: Story Coaching Price Increase Coming Soon
For a while now I’ve felt there is a disconnect between the price I’m charging for both levels of my story evaluation service (see banner above this post for links to summaries of both of these levels, currently $50 and $150).
It seems several of my peers agree, as well as more than a few writers who have opted in.
Like a clarifying “talk” (read: knock upside the head) to a confused or wayward college freshman, the value delivered far exceeds the price and extends far beyond the process itself. In short, it can save you, and your novel, years of frustration.
So mid-month (April), I’m going to raise those prices, probably to $95 and $225, respectively, with a corresponding expansion in the maximum word count for both formats.
We get what we pay for. This new pricing will bring more equity to that equation, since I’m consistently over-delivering, as is. There is nothing more critical for a writer to nail — to get right — than their concept, premise and structural strategy — which is what these services either confirm, enhance or dismantle within a forward-looking coaching context.