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Fiction Unboxed

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Part hero’s journey, part crash course in storytelling by the modern mavericks of indie publishing, and the bestselling authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., Fiction Unboxed offers something that’s never been offered before: a naked look into two writer’s process, as they wrote and published a book in 30 days, from scratch, in front of the world. In 2013 Sean Platt & Part hero’s journey, part crash course in storytelling by the modern mavericks of indie publishing, and the bestselling authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., Fiction Unboxed offers something that’s never been offered before: a naked look into two writer’s process, as they wrote and published a book in 30 days, from scratch, in front of the world. In 2013 Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant wrote and published 1.5 million words (a Harry Potter series and a half worth of fiction). The next year they showed the world how they did it. In May 2014, Johnny and Sean, along with their third partner David Wright, launched a Kickstarter campaign to see if their fans wanted to see how they wrote behind closed doors. They promised to start their newest project without knowing their story, characters, or even their genre, and publish the final draft before their 30 days were up. They promised to capture every email, every story meeting, and every word from every draft. They promised to show every molecule of their process, warts and all. They had 30 days for their fans to green light the campaign. It fully funded in 11 hours. Fiction Unboxed is as revealing as it is inspiring, empowering readers and writers as much as it will entertain them. With actionable advice that will benefit any writer, this book is a true gem for anyone who loves a well told story.


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Part hero’s journey, part crash course in storytelling by the modern mavericks of indie publishing, and the bestselling authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., Fiction Unboxed offers something that’s never been offered before: a naked look into two writer’s process, as they wrote and published a book in 30 days, from scratch, in front of the world. In 2013 Sean Platt & Part hero’s journey, part crash course in storytelling by the modern mavericks of indie publishing, and the bestselling authors of Write. Publish. Repeat., Fiction Unboxed offers something that’s never been offered before: a naked look into two writer’s process, as they wrote and published a book in 30 days, from scratch, in front of the world. In 2013 Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant wrote and published 1.5 million words (a Harry Potter series and a half worth of fiction). The next year they showed the world how they did it. In May 2014, Johnny and Sean, along with their third partner David Wright, launched a Kickstarter campaign to see if their fans wanted to see how they wrote behind closed doors. They promised to start their newest project without knowing their story, characters, or even their genre, and publish the final draft before their 30 days were up. They promised to capture every email, every story meeting, and every word from every draft. They promised to show every molecule of their process, warts and all. They had 30 days for their fans to green light the campaign. It fully funded in 11 hours. Fiction Unboxed is as revealing as it is inspiring, empowering readers and writers as much as it will entertain them. With actionable advice that will benefit any writer, this book is a true gem for anyone who loves a well told story.

30 review for Fiction Unboxed

  1. 4 out of 5

    Timothy Ward

    I think this book's appreciation largely depends on the audience's experience listening to the Self Publishing Podcast, whether or not they have read The Dream Engine, whether or not they are looking to do a Kickstarter campaign any time soon, and whether or not they plan to utilize all the free (or paid) tools that expand upon this recounting of the Fiction Unboxed project. I think I fell into the worst category of listeners because I listen to their podcast regularly, so I've heard much of the I think this book's appreciation largely depends on the audience's experience listening to the Self Publishing Podcast, whether or not they have read The Dream Engine, whether or not they are looking to do a Kickstarter campaign any time soon, and whether or not they plan to utilize all the free (or paid) tools that expand upon this recounting of the Fiction Unboxed project. I think I fell into the worst category of listeners because I listen to their podcast regularly, so I've heard much of the recap of this experience, especially the Kickstarter campaign struggles and lessons learned. I almost skipped the first part because I didn't want to hear that recap again. It's okay that I didn't because there was some new reflections in there. That could summarize my thoughts on the book as a whole: while most felt like a rehashing of what I'd already heard on their show, they are still my favorite group of writers to hear talk about the process of writing, so it's a good book, but I could have gone without the repetitive inspiration. I mean, some inspiration is good to hear twice, but I would have rather listened to their latest six episodes than listen to this. If you are not like me and have not heard what they encountered on this monumental Kickstart project of writing a book from scratch in thirty days, then definitely give it a listen. Their podcast isn't as cohesive as this, so it is actually a very good recap. The Dream Engine sounds like a great book, but I wish I had read it before listening to them discussing plot points. I almost stopped this audiobook again when I heard about a plot point I thought was very cool. They gave forewarning, but my reading schedule didn't have time to put this down and read DE prior to continuing. My loss, truly. These guys are super talented authors, and it sounds like DE will be great. That said, it wasn't as enjoyable listening to story points and what they decided to do or not do without having the context of having read the story. Lastly, this Fiction Unboxed experience is really best suited for someone, I think, who has a lot of free time to read DE, then watch all the videos and special free bonuses on their website as they break down scene by scene and whatnot. This feels more like a college writing course that I tried to experience in the few hours available in this audiobook, and lacked achieving the potential it would have offered had I done all the extras, made writing exercises comparing what they did with my work in progress, and probably most important, had I been involved from the beginning, where I could have seen what they did each day, both in writing and in marketing. As far as authors go that aspiring authors should follow and take note of, Platt, Truant and Wright are near the top of the leaders of the indie author revolution. Listening to this book with no other plans on following up on the extras, or if you haven't read The Dream Engine prior, and if you've already listened to every podcast during their time working on this project may not be the best method to enjoy this stage of their advice.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gina Drayer

    I really enjoyed the latest addition to Johnny and Sean's growing nonfiction catalog. What this book is: The book Fiction Unboxed follows Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt, from start to finish, as they plan and write The Dream Enginefor the Fiction Unboxed campaign. They talk about every element of the project from starting the KickStarter campaign to brainstorming to writing in detail. What this book isn't: This isn't a "how to" book. While there are "take aways" at the end of each chapter, this I really enjoyed the latest addition to Johnny and Sean's growing nonfiction catalog. What this book is: The book Fiction Unboxed follows Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt, from start to finish, as they plan and write The Dream Enginefor the Fiction Unboxed campaign. They talk about every element of the project from starting the KickStarter campaign to brainstorming to writing in detail. What this book isn't: This isn't a "how to" book. While there are "take aways" at the end of each chapter, this book is not instructional. You will not find a "This is how you develop beats" or "This is how you run a kickstarter" chapter anywhere in this book. Why I think this book is a good addition to any writer's reference self: Writing fiction is not a tangible skill. Even with the best "how to" books there's still a lot of the process that can't be laid out in easy to follow steps. Fiction Unboxed gives you a peak into the head of one (okay two) author's head for the full process of writing a book. By "watching" some of the "magic" of writing is dispelled, and you can apply some of their techniques to your own process. I highly recommend the book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    J.F. Penn

    Always fascinating to read about the process of writing. Recommended for authors wanting to hack their process.

  4. 4 out of 5

    August

    Totally loved this romp with the trio! Some very reassuring insight into the fact that my process, boiled down, looks an awful lot like this lot's, with the exception of not currently having such regular collaborative partners. Great stuff, highly recommend to anyone who wants to write (especially fiction) for a living.

  5. 5 out of 5

    David Delaney

    I really didn't know how I was going to take Fiction Unboxed. The reason being is that I was one of those SPP listeners who didn't quite get the project at the time. After reading this accompanying book I not only regret not getting involved but I also need to mention how brave Johnny and Sean are for putting their raw writing out there like they did. I won't have the nerve to do it. The book begins with the why's and how's of the project. It's nice to hear the thought processes of the guys as to I really didn't know how I was going to take Fiction Unboxed. The reason being is that I was one of those SPP listeners who didn't quite get the project at the time. After reading this accompanying book I not only regret not getting involved but I also need to mention how brave Johnny and Sean are for putting their raw writing out there like they did. I won't have the nerve to do it. The book begins with the why's and how's of the project. It's nice to hear the thought processes of the guys as to why they did what they did, where they came up with the costings and what it is they wanted to achieve from it all. Where I really loved the book, and this is coming from a writers perspective, was when the discussion turned towards the nitty gritty details of the story meetings, the graft behind the writing and the bumps along the way. It was refreshing to see how these accomplished writers hit road blocks and the ways they navigate around them. This is not only of interest to writers though as readers of the guys fiction will love hearing how they create and learning more about their writing process. It adds a whole new layer of entertainment for fans. The project had it's backers and it's non-backers and still does but it's hard to deny the fact that this was a unique and wonderful writer project. Something that is both brave and immense in scale and that has been a resounding success in terms of highlighting what it is to create something from nothing and the work needed to do it. For me, this is a perfect follow up to Write, Publish, Repeat and all writers, indie or not, should read both books cover to cover as soon as they can.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    Really interesting project! While I didn't find this book as helpful in a practical way as "Write. Publish. Repeat.", it was inspiring to see what's possible in a short period of time. I doubt I'll ever try anything similar, but I'm always looking for ways to become more productive, and this book has some great ideas on that and on collaborating with another author. ^The thought of doing that generally terrifies me, but these guys make it seem workable.

  7. 5 out of 5

    E.K. Carmel

    I really enjoyed this account of an experiment in social authoring. Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant describe what it was like, highlights and pitfalls alike, to write a novel from concept idea to published ebook in thirty days while people/viewers/readers/fans watched via video and blog posts. An interesting and informative peek into one collaboration's process.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Putting Integrity Before Dollars Believe me the guys at Sterling and Stone are quite financially successful, but this book makes it clear that their success comes from a passion for storytelling and a commitment to their vision of whom they believe they are. Read this, if you want to know how to make the indie path a path to self-fulfillment.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mark Melendez

    Real look into the writer's process Exactly what title says it is, a look into the writer's workshop. Great for the writer looking for their path or process, and would like a example. This is the type of book we hope for when reading writer's biographies.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Megan Holstein

    Unique Premise Five stars for such a unique premise. Following along as someone writes a book was really enjoyable. Almost felt too short; I might have to go watch the Fiction Unboxed videos and other resources.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin Bomboy

    Meandering and self-congratulatory, there’s not much to take away from this beyond that the creative process is equal parts starts and stops but the key is to keep plugging away.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt Cromartie

    A fun and interesting read. This is the story of how the duo of Platt and Truant wrote The Dream Engine (see my review of that book for more info without spoilers) from only the smallest seed of an idea to published on Kindle all during the month of June 2014. It was interesting to see their process, from the first story meeting, to how Platt plans the "story beats" and then Truant follows the path that they make to the tune of as much as 12,000 written words a day, to Platt editing, to Truant A fun and interesting read. This is the story of how the duo of Platt and Truant wrote The Dream Engine (see my review of that book for more info without spoilers) from only the smallest seed of an idea to published on Kindle all during the month of June 2014. It was interesting to see their process, from the first story meeting, to how Platt plans the "story beats" and then Truant follows the path that they make to the tune of as much as 12,000 written words a day, to Platt editing, to Truant polishing the final text, all with lots of discussion and story meetings along the way. And their talent shines through in this book as the re-telling of this month of their lives is filled with conflict, drama and tension. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in writing fast, working in duos, self publishing, e-publishing or world building. I didn't jive with it completely mostly because of differences in style and philosophy. Regarding style, I think I'm more of a planner and would say that I create the worlds that I write in. These guys do plan, but loosely, and made clear how they view the writing process more as discovering the story that the characters and the world are telling them. Also, regarding planning, they are fans of what I call the "Hatch Method" (as in the hatch introduced in season 1 of the TV show LOST): that is throwing something into the narrative that you have no idea what it means or the significance of it just to create some excitement and give you something to build off of. I don't think I could ever create such a central plot point without knowing what it meant to future books/episodes. After reading this I'm not in as big of a huff about The Dream Engine not having a proper ending (i.e. it being the first book in a series rather than a stand alone novel) as I was in my review of it. In reading this book I see that wasn't what the purpose of this experiment was, that stand-alone vs. series opener didn't matter, it was more about the process and the speed and I'm fine with that now. However, I still have a problem with the execution of the ending that The Dream Engine did have; that the climax was kind of a let down and that what should have been the most exciting part of the book was skipped completely. Finally, after reading about the aftermath of the project I will say that I'm very excited about the next two planned books in the series. As I said in my review of The Dream Engine, I think the book stands up well as Act I/setup of the larger story arc and I'm excited to finally get to it. Also, I'm pretty sure I will be reading their other non-fiction book (Write Publish Repeat) soon and I've since become a big fan of their podcast (the Self Publishing Podcast) as well.

  13. 4 out of 5

    LKM

    I want to say 3.5, almost 4, but I think I'll settle on the 3 stars rating because... I was torn with this book. The first 30% of the book, as well as the last 10%, was unimpressive. It was all about how they came about and dealt with the kickstarter (and the last 10% was about the summits they held afterwards for the backers), all of which I had no interest whatsoever and felt was not really related to unboxing fiction at all, but simply recounting how they'd worked things out. And that's fine, I want to say 3.5, almost 4, but I think I'll settle on the 3 stars rating because... I was torn with this book. The first 30% of the book, as well as the last 10%, was unimpressive. It was all about how they came about and dealt with the kickstarter (and the last 10% was about the summits they held afterwards for the backers), all of which I had no interest whatsoever and felt was not really related to unboxing fiction at all, but simply recounting how they'd worked things out. And that's fine, but I kind of expected the book to be all about writing, not about how to run kickstarter campaigns for complex writerly-related things. Now, the rest of the book was about the writing, but I kept going back and forth between feeling annoyed by the way it was all just told and not actually shown, and liking it. On the one hand, I did enjoy the way they told the story, On the other, that still didn't solve most of the part they mention themselves of making the book of real value or use to the writers by showing how they worked without having to see the videos. So, there was some value in the content, yes, but it felt like if you weren't following along with the videos, you missed out on MOST of what they were trying to show and get across. Also I feel like I missed out too by not reading The Dream Engine first, because the way we're told things sort of assumes we've already read, seen, or know most of it. Not all sections do, but most, particularly at the start. Another thing was that the whole thing (of course) counts on them working as a group like they always do and being able to brainstorm among each other, so I'm not sure for a single author, with no group and no buddies willing to brainstorm with them, this would be of much use. So while Fiction Unboxed (the book alone, with no videos or anything) had some interesting lessons to teach, it wasn't really as useful as I expected it to be. I think this would be easily solved catching up with the videos and reading The Dream Engine, but ultimately I ended up feeling just a bit disappointed with the book. All the same, it relates an interesting experience, and it's at the very least worth it for that.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Grogan

    I have been a long time listener of The Self Publishing Podcast and although by the time I heard about the guys doing their Kickstarter campaign to write a book live in thirty days, I did get the finished product through Audible and it was amazing! So I was thrilled to hear that they took their live writing experience and put it into the written word and published it as Fiction Unboxed: How Two Authors Wrote and Published a Book in 30 Days from Scratch, in Front of the World. It was a great I have been a long time listener of The Self Publishing Podcast and although by the time I heard about the guys doing their Kickstarter campaign to write a book live in thirty days, I did get the finished product through Audible and it was amazing! So I was thrilled to hear that they took their live writing experience and put it into the written word and published it as Fiction Unboxed: How Two Authors Wrote and Published a Book in 30 Days from Scratch, in Front of the World. It was a great read! Even though I had not been able to actually look over their shoulders during the real thing, I still felt like I got that experience reading about it. The way Fiction Unboxed was crafted, the way Johnny and Sean use words makes you feel like you are right there with them. Throughout my reading I was able to pull out words of wisdom that I highlighted to go back to later, to jot down in my own writing notebook to reference later. What I liked best were the takeaways and the things you could do right now at the end of each chapter. I had my own way of outlining my chapters and after listening to Johnny, Sean, and David talk about beats for so long and seeing how they were broken down here and then being challenged to write my own . . .I took the challenge for the first chapter of my new novel and liked how it felt and how it helped my to focus my chapter and all I had to do was add the dialogue, detail and that little extra to make it all come alive. I have read a lot fiction from this creative team. I have read their first nonfiction book: Write. Publish. Repeat.and I listen to their podcast regularly and I have learned so much from them, not to mention the entertainment factor. I highly recommend not only reading what they write, but experiencing them on every level they have to offer.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    Something of a sequel to Write. Publish. Repeat! and a thorough recounting of the process leading up to and through the development and completion of their novel The Dream Engine (TDE)--disclaimer, I have not yet read TDE. While it's suggested near the start of the book to read TDE before reading Fiction Unboxed, I'd suggest that reading TDE first is really necessary; otherwise, the rambling discussions about the inner workings of the characters and plot over the course of writing it won't make Something of a sequel to Write. Publish. Repeat! and a thorough recounting of the process leading up to and through the development and completion of their novel The Dream Engine (TDE)--disclaimer, I have not yet read TDE. While it's suggested near the start of the book to read TDE before reading Fiction Unboxed, I'd suggest that reading TDE first is really necessary; otherwise, the rambling discussions about the inner workings of the characters and plot over the course of writing it won't make much sense other than at a surface level. As a writer reading this, I 'got' what Platt and Truant were getting at, but without the context of having read TDE, I found myself skimming chunks of the book where they go on and on about the wherefores and whys of their characters, situations, and so forth and how things mutated into the final product. There are lots and lots of useful tidbits strewn throughout the book, much like a scattering of nuts and bolts on a shop floor, waiting to be picked up by a writer to toss into their toolbox for future use. It'll take multiple readings to tease out all of the tips and tricks, but the smooth narrative flow is easy on the eyes and brain and lends itself well to rereading. One note of caution: This book details the writing of a piece of fiction as completed by a partnership. Writers working on their own will experience some similar moments as described in the book, but writing in partnership is a very different animal than writing alone. Worthwhile read, and worth reading more than once. The bonus items for early bird buyers were much appreciated as well.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Blaine Moore

    I was a member of the Fiction Unboxed program when it was launched on Kickstarter in May 2014 and watched the entire process unfold throughout that following June. I was expecting this book to be a basic rundown of what went down (it was originally slated to just be a book full of transcripts) but Johnny and Sean always outdo themselves and instead wrote a narrative that retold the story in a much more satisfying way. At it's nutshell, this book is about two guys writing a book together. I was a member of the Fiction Unboxed program when it was launched on Kickstarter in May 2014 and watched the entire process unfold throughout that following June. I was expecting this book to be a basic rundown of what went down (it was originally slated to just be a book full of transcripts) but Johnny and Sean always outdo themselves and instead wrote a narrative that retold the story in a much more satisfying way. At it's nutshell, this book is about two guys writing a book together. Somehow, the actual story told is much more exciting than you would think from the description. They open with the history of the project and what led to its inception, running a Kickstarter campaign, finding a nugget on which they could base their novel, writing said novel and producing a finished product (from conception to completion) in 30 days, and then meeting with members of the community to more fully flesh out their story world at a summit a few months later. There is intrigue, backstabbing (sort of...if you really bend the meaning behind the word...), even cliffhangers galore from chapter to chapter. Even knowing the story (since I was there for the entire thing) they had me on the edge of my seat. Simon Whistler did an excellent job of narrating the book, even if it does seem odd to hear his voice instead of Johnny's, from whose point of view the book is told and who I am used to listening to multiple times per week. Simon's cool voice and strong accent are very easy to listen to, and his production quality leaves very few errors to distract you from the book. (In fact, in this book, I didn't notice any at all.) This is a quick listen at just over 5 hours.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ellen Bard

    A vivid, raw and personal book that brought an incredible and seemingly crazy event to life ('write and publish a book from scratch in 30 days') as well as grounding the book in the practical for the reader, with action steps and takeaways from each chapter. I put off reading this at first. I'd bought it because I loved 'Write. Publish. Repeat.', and I wanted to support the authors of the awesome self publishing podcast in their work. So it stayed on my kindle in 'to read' waiting forlornly for A vivid, raw and personal book that brought an incredible and seemingly crazy event to life ('write and publish a book from scratch in 30 days') as well as grounding the book in the practical for the reader, with action steps and takeaways from each chapter. I put off reading this at first. I'd bought it because I loved 'Write. Publish. Repeat.', and I wanted to support the authors of the awesome self publishing podcast in their work. So it stayed on my kindle in 'to read' waiting forlornly for me to pick it up and show it some love. Then one day it was mentioned again on SPP, an aside about something in it that piqued my interest and reminded me I owned it. I thought, well, might as well take a look. I didn't expect to be enthralled. I didn't expect to be fascinated. I didn't expect to have my emotions engaged in a roller coaster ride where I cheered for a project that was over months before. So much hyperbole? Maybe. Maybe not. I am consistently stunned by the quality and quantity of these guys' writing. Reading Fiction Unboxed, where the events it describes happened before I'd 'discovered' their work made me wistful, because I wished I'd been there to support it; inspired, as I read the nuts and bolts of how they produce so much in a short time; and intimidated, as I kicked myself up the a*** and told myself I could do better. Writers, aspiring and established need to read this. Marvel, wonder, and once again be drawn in to the inner circle of the three Storytellers that are Sterling and Stone. PS- the book they wrote in 30 days? 'The Dream Engine'? I'm off to buy it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nikki Shields

    Fiction Unboxed is the latest how-to for writers by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (you might know them from Write.Publish.Repeat., which was also fantastic). So these guys, who admit they are a bit crazy, set out to plot, write, and publish a full-length novel in a month. Yes, you read that right. A month. And not only did they succeed, but in this excellent guide they share their writing process in detail. They explain how they kept getting questions about how they manage to be so hugely Fiction Unboxed is the latest how-to for writers by Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant (you might know them from Write.Publish.Repeat., which was also fantastic). So these guys, who admit they are a bit crazy, set out to plot, write, and publish a full-length novel in a month. Yes, you read that right. A month. And not only did they succeed, but in this excellent guide they share their writing process in detail. They explain how they kept getting questions about how they manage to be so hugely productive. Over time, they realized what readers really wanted to know was more about the process they use to write and publish so many books, and to make a good living at it. Of course, as a writer, that’s something I wanted to find out as well. The book did not disappoint. There are so many useful tips and ideas in these pages that authors can put into play right away. Platt and Truant are the real deal - they are successful authors who aren't afraid to share their failures as well as their successes, and delve into the “why” behind both. Their writing style is hilarious and engaging. I found myself reading this book on the edge of my seat, like I normally do only with good fiction. The thing is, they are storytellers by trade, and this story of writing a novel in a month is, to a fellow writer at least, terrifically exciting. I highly recommend Fiction Unboxed (and really, pretty much anything these guys do). I know I sort of sound like a fangirl here, but I don’t care. They rock. It’s true.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Brian S. Creek

    If you are, like me, a struggling writer (and by struggling I don't mean not selling your work, more can't finish your work) then this book may open your eyes to what is holding you back. The authors, Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt, made the decision to write a novel in the space of a month (June 2014) and do it all in front of an online audience. The book, THE DREAM ENGINE, is the end product of that month and is a pretty good book (boasted by an awesome ending). FICTION UNBOXED is the story of If you are, like me, a struggling writer (and by struggling I don't mean not selling your work, more can't finish your work) then this book may open your eyes to what is holding you back. The authors, Johnny B Truant and Sean Platt, made the decision to write a novel in the space of a month (June 2014) and do it all in front of an online audience. The book, THE DREAM ENGINE, is the end product of that month and is a pretty good book (boasted by an awesome ending). FICTION UNBOXED is the story of how they did it. Right from the off the guys make it clear that this isn't a book that gives you the secrets to success. Instead it shows you other authors, already successful authors, going through a lot of the things us struggling authors face every day. But where we might drop our heads and back of a story, Johnny and Sean show you that there is always a way. If they can birth an idea (or discover, as they might say), untangle plots and fight through a terribly weak ending to create an awesome one (seriously, i can't praise the final two chapters enough) then why can't anyone. I thought I was doing okay over the last year of writing. I thought I was improving. But this book, this gritty, real, behind the scene adventure, showed me what I think I need to get it done now. They didn't give me easy answers, just showed me my fears and encouraged me to fight through them. I need to stop taking my Crumble. (I would advise you to read the DREAM ENGINE first as it helps the middle section of FICTION UNBOXED make more sense)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leanne Hunt

    This book was a delightful surprise. I knew that it was about the guys’ attempt to write a full-length novel in thirty days in front of the world, but I didn’t expect the result to be so readable. I guess I expected a bunch of transcripts, but it certainly isn’t that. The book is written memoir-style, telling the story of how Johnny, Shaun and Dave came up with the idea to write and publish a book in record time, the process of preparation, the actual adventure of creating something out of This book was a delightful surprise. I knew that it was about the guys’ attempt to write a full-length novel in thirty days in front of the world, but I didn’t expect the result to be so readable. I guess I expected a bunch of transcripts, but it certainly isn’t that. The book is written memoir-style, telling the story of how Johnny, Shaun and Dave came up with the idea to write and publish a book in record time, the process of preparation, the actual adventure of creating something out of nothing, and the exciting events which took place after the launch. In short, the book captures the exhilaration and terror of the project in a most entertaining way. The other point which readers will find useful to hear is that the book is hugely motivational. As an indie publisher myself, I was torn between wanting to put the book down all the time to apply the learnings to my own story and not wanting to put it down because the content was so inspiring. I loved the funny way Johnny describes his collaboration with Shaun, and the amazing way the two manage to come up with the most incredible ideas on the fly. Truly, such an artistic team has much to teach the rest of us about taking risks and letting our imagination run wild. This is a worthy successor to the fabulous “Write, Publish, Repeat” and an apt precursor to “Iterate and Optimise”, and I highly recommend reading it in the Audible version with Simon Whistler as narrator.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    I picked up Fiction Unboxed after finishing Write. Publish. Repeat.. While the book isn't a direct follow up, it felt like a spiritual sequel. The book is a narrative explanation of how they approached building and running their Kickstarter campaign, and then an explanation of how they produced a book in 30 days. This isn't a how-to book. Like much of Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant's non-fiction, it's more of a peek behind the curtain. The authors don't delve too deeply into the process of I picked up Fiction Unboxed after finishing Write. Publish. Repeat.. While the book isn't a direct follow up, it felt like a spiritual sequel. The book is a narrative explanation of how they approached building and running their Kickstarter campaign, and then an explanation of how they produced a book in 30 days. This isn't a how-to book. Like much of Sean Platt and Johnny B. Truant's non-fiction, it's more of a peek behind the curtain. The authors don't delve too deeply into the process of writing (there's a lot of talk of polishing and parallel editing, but there's not any discussion of how that works), but they do present a philosophical overview of what how to approach a Kickstarter campaign. That's not an entirely bad thing. Writers need to find their own way through the indie publishing route, and Platt & Truant's non-fiction books are a great help in that way. The book is breezy, which makes it a perfect companion to Write. Publish. Repeat.. If you're still working out how you want to approach indie publishing, you won't find better than these books for readability, content, and direction.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary Pat

    Crazy Guys Commit to Write a Novel in Public in 30 Days ... Succeed I've been listening to the Self-Publishing Podcast for months now and it's valuable and fun ... but I couldn't quite see what I'd learn from reading about how Johnny and Sean wrote a novel in 30 days because I would never do that. I was curious though, and it paid off. No, I don't see myself writing that fast and furiously, and yes, I learned nifty useful things about the writing process I can apply to my slower solo work. These Crazy Guys Commit to Write a Novel in Public in 30 Days ... Succeed I've been listening to the Self-Publishing Podcast for months now and it's valuable and fun ... but I couldn't quite see what I'd learn from reading about how Johnny and Sean wrote a novel in 30 days because I would never do that. I was curious though, and it paid off. No, I don't see myself writing that fast and furiously, and yes, I learned nifty useful things about the writing process I can apply to my slower solo work. These guys are honest. What they say about writing matches my experience, even when what they do doesn't work for me. Having detailed examples lets me see and extrapolate, and their overriding advice is to find what works for you (me, in this case). You might not like this if you don't like the voice, or find the premise crazy, but that's personal. Johnny, Sean, and Dave are crazy, but they are hard working, enthusiastic, creative crazy, and that's worth reading.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ray Edwards

    Inspiring. Practical. Challenging. I first discovered these three through their podcast, The Self-Publishing Podcast. I enjoy that show quite a bit, and find it to be entertaining and filled with actionable information. This book is no different. It chronicles their "stunt" of writing a novel publicly in 30 days, from idea, to first draft, to finished & published book, complete with a professional cover. As with their other book, "Write, Publish, Repeat" (which I also gave five stars and Inspiring. Practical. Challenging. I first discovered these three through their podcast, The Self-Publishing Podcast. I enjoy that show quite a bit, and find it to be entertaining and filled with actionable information. This book is no different. It chronicles their "stunt" of writing a novel publicly in 30 days, from idea, to first draft, to finished & published book, complete with a professional cover. As with their other book, "Write, Publish, Repeat" (which I also gave five stars and highly recommend), my only real complaint is the profanity. There's not a lot of it, but I feel it is an unnecessary detractor from work. They would, no doubt, differ from me on this point. Regardless, my advice is that if you are offended by this kind of language, simply ignore it and take the book for the valuable teaching guide it is. It will inspire you, it will instruct you, and will challenge your paradigms about how much you are capable of as a writer. Loved this!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Luke Chmilenko

    Great help for my book and my growth! I originally wrote my first book as a web serial and was fortunate enough to have it take off, to which I then managed to get it published here on Amazon to great success. But afterwards, when I started staring at book 2, I stalled. How the hell did I do it the first time? Completely felt different this time around. Two months of slow struggle later. I found the precursor book, Write. Publish. Repeat. Then quickly moved into this one burning through them Great help for my book and my growth! I originally wrote my first book as a web serial and was fortunate enough to have it take off, to which I then managed to get it published here on Amazon to great success. But afterwards, when I started staring at book 2, I stalled. How the hell did I do it the first time? Completely felt different this time around. Two months of slow struggle later. I found the precursor book, Write. Publish. Repeat. Then quickly moved into this one burning through them both in no time flat, and finally getting all those little writing things that I'd been grasping at distantly, but couldn't quite articulate. Now on the other side of both books, I've revitalized book 2 and started on a completely new series because I finally managed to get my thoughts on order. Words are coming easier now and the hesitant fear is gone. Thanks so much for the book, definitely helped me find my stride again.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Joe Barlow

    Here's the second-most indispensable book about writing that I own, after "Write, Publish, Repeat," by the same authors. This pseudo-sequel chronicles Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt's successful Kickstarter campaign to "give a concert for writing" by conceiving, outlining, writing, and editing a novel from start to finish in only 30 days, as the world watched. All story meetings were recorded and streamed, Each day's raw words were shared with their fans, along with the revised text. Story Here's the second-most indispensable book about writing that I own, after "Write, Publish, Repeat," by the same authors. This pseudo-sequel chronicles Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt's successful Kickstarter campaign to "give a concert for writing" by conceiving, outlining, writing, and editing a novel from start to finish in only 30 days, as the world watched. All story meetings were recorded and streamed, Each day's raw words were shared with their fans, along with the revised text. Story problems were encountered, and brilliantly solved. Despite being a backer of the original Kickstarter, this behind-the-scenes chronicle taught me a lot about the power of creative collaboration. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to tell stories.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Blake Atwood

    The story that Fiction Unboxed unboxed didn't grab me (what became The Dream Engine), but the story behind the story did. The Self-Publishing Podcast trio deserve much credit for tackling an immense project in such a short amount of time. Many writers will be inspired by their dogged pursuit of creating an entire world within the confines of an incredible deadline and the scrutiny of at least a thousand people watching their every word and thought along the way. Getting a glimpse into their The story that Fiction Unboxed unboxed didn't grab me (what became The Dream Engine), but the story behind the story did. The Self-Publishing Podcast trio deserve much credit for tackling an immense project in such a short amount of time. Many writers will be inspired by their dogged pursuit of creating an entire world within the confines of an incredible deadline and the scrutiny of at least a thousand people watching their every word and thought along the way. Getting a glimpse into their creative process helped this writer face his fear of penning fiction. If you've ever doubted your own creativity or have feared that your one good idea may not lead to another, read Fiction Unboxed.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Obed M. Parlapiano

    Great enjoyable-learning experience The book is all about the personal challenges, enjoyment, and ideas that went throught the authors heads in order to create their book "Dream Engine". Through this story Johnny (who is "speaking") shows all the problems they had, and how in the @#$& they managed to write a good book in 30 days.. Including of course the solution to each a a every problem. The point of the book is to show the world how, not writing a book, but telling a story is essentially Great enjoyable-learning experience The book is all about the personal challenges, enjoyment, and ideas that went throught the authors heads in order to create their book "Dream Engine". Through this story Johnny (who is "speaking") shows all the problems they had, and how in the @#$& they managed to write a good book in 30 days.. Including of course the solution to each a a every problem. The point of the book is to show the world how, not writing a book, but telling a story is essentially simple and an easy task, how any one can do it, and if you're a write then even better. For me, it was a really enjoyable book, I expected something else, more serious maybe, but it lighted up a spark in me, wanting me to write and write, and that is worth the reading.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jarkko Laine

    I was one of the many people who followed the guys through the Fiction Unboxed project back in June. It was a busy month for them with a lot going on, so despite my best efforts, I couldn't watch everything live as it unfolded. The book more than fills the gaps, telling the month long adventure in the form of an instructive story. While it's hard for me to know what the experience would be like for someone who didn't follow the live project, I feel the book not only captures the immediacy and I was one of the many people who followed the guys through the Fiction Unboxed project back in June. It was a busy month for them with a lot going on, so despite my best efforts, I couldn't watch everything live as it unfolded. The book more than fills the gaps, telling the month long adventure in the form of an instructive story. While it's hard for me to know what the experience would be like for someone who didn't follow the live project, I feel the book not only captures the immediacy and excitement of the project but adds to it. Sean and Johnny have had the time to think about the experience and the lessons learned. This book made me want to write more, and more importantly, feel like I might be able to do it!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Steven Barrie

    Makes writing fiction (magically) approachable This book, like WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT. before it, makes indie storytelling seem very possible to us mere mortals who have dreamt without doing. Being able to read about how Johnny and Sean wrote and revised THE DREAM ENGINE inspired me with practical advice to find my own process without proscriptively turning me into a clone of them. The only reason I didn't give FICTION UNBOXED 5 stars is because the extra matter linked to in the book is no longer Makes writing fiction (magically) approachable This book, like WRITE. PUBLISH. REPEAT. before it, makes indie storytelling seem very possible to us mere mortals who have dreamt without doing. Being able to read about how Johnny and Sean wrote and revised THE DREAM ENGINE inspired me with practical advice to find my own process without proscriptively turning me into a clone of them. The only reason I didn't give FICTION UNBOXED 5 stars is because the extra matter linked to in the book is no longer available on the Sterling & Stone website. I really wanted to see the artifacts of their process for that extra bit of vision into their magic. Even without the extra resources, FICTION UNBOXED is excellent.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Drew Butler

    Glad I found this I've been a fan of Sean Platt for a long time, ever since Yesterday's Gone first was released. Alas, I somehow missed the whole Fiction Unboxed campaign. Either way, Johnny's storytelling is fantastic. I tore through this and can't wait to get started using some of what I learned. I think the biggest takeaway for me was the use of beats to create a low cost outline of chapters before you start. I always try to start from scratch, but I sort of do the beats thing when I write Glad I found this I've been a fan of Sean Platt for a long time, ever since Yesterday's Gone first was released. Alas, I somehow missed the whole Fiction Unboxed campaign. Either way, Johnny's storytelling is fantastic. I tore through this and can't wait to get started using some of what I learned. I think the biggest takeaway for me was the use of beats to create a low cost outline of chapters before you start. I always try to start from scratch, but I sort of do the beats thing when I write blog posts, so I can't believe I never transferred it. Definitely worth a read if you're an aspiring fiction writer.

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