OK, here goes! You’ll forgive me for a less than complete review. I have attached some summary notes that I prepared for myself covering the core of his method. (I have not included these because I won’t present Manning’s work, even in summary form — I don’t own rights to it. — Holly Lisle) I think you will understand the gist of them. Basically his approach is a combination of speed writing in 5 minute chunks plus a method to produce a detailed outline or blueprint as he calls it.
I had many of the concerns raised in your article BEFORE I purchased and certainly didn’t pay the full price on E-bay. I guess my overall
conclusion is that I don’t think he is entirely a charlatan, because the materials have been an important part of writing my first ever novel in less than four months – OK, not two weeks!!! I understand that the previous owner also used the materials to successfully produce a non-fiction book, which I suspect would be rather easier than fiction with his method.
Some random thoughts:
1. Did I write entirely as in his method? No, but I did use my own variant – e.g. using mindmaps and more than the prescribed three words for the ‘5 minute’ chunks – which were at least 10 or 15 minutes for me! I also used aspects from a separate software package and ‘The Writers Journey’.
2. The video tape, although poor quality, looked like a genuine presentation to around 50 lawyers, of basically the materials in the pack. He was a decent speaker and they gave him quite a good reception.
3. The 14 days is a NO NO as I soon discovered. Firstly I can’t write sense anywhere near as fast as he suggests – but then it was my first attempt… Secondly the 14 days doesn’t include the detailed blueprint which took me a number of weeks. Thirdly it is only for writing a first draft…
4. There is good advice about research and editing, but again the claims for how long it takes are ludicrous. E.g. he says editing takes 20 minutes per chapter (maximum) and then piles in with advice that would take many multiples of that time period to complete.
5. A lot of the written material is VERY badly edited with misspellings and other errors throughtout. Oddly, most of the errors were in the second half of the manual, otherwise I would have probably given up on it.
Finally, on the plus side, I have to say that the materials were motivational and contained a lot of good advice in one comprehensive package. I have spent quite a bit of time looking at books on novel writing, as well as searching on the web, but couldn’t find anything as comprehensive in terms of method.
I paid about $100 and, on reflection, would probably do so again. Then again, I’m not poor…
I would be happy to answer any specific questions that you might have.
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