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One-Year Adventure Novel Review by Hayden Fletcher

By Daniel Schwabauer
PO Box 62
Olathe, KS 66051

The spy crept across the opening to the small window of the shack. Sliding it open as silently as he could, he snuck in through the small opening. He pulled a large black revolver from his back pocket and loaded a few bullets into the cartridge. "I'll only need a couple slugs for this job," he said quietly as he slammed the cartridge into the gun. He then moved into the house, all the time keeping an eye out for any would-be assailants.

Adventure. That word always makes me think of the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark and Indiana Jones, the hero, swinging into a river then swimming toward a seaplane as South American Indians fire blow darts and throw spears at him, each one conveniently missing the bullwhip-cracking, fedora-wearing, girl-snatching hero. But it's precisely that type of action that makes us love adventure stories. And whether it's Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne or Tal in Frank E. Peretti's This Present Darkness, an awesome hero always turns a good adventure novel into a great adventure novel. This is one of the things that the author of the One-Year Adventure Novel curriculum shows his students, and it is one point that I, as an amateur author, have taken to heart.

This is the second curriculum I have tried that leads one through the process of writing a book. And from my point of view, this is definitely the better of the two. There are two main things that lead me to this decision. First, the One-Year Adventure Novel is not only a textbook, but a DVD as well. This really gives the feeling that the teacher, Daniel Schwabauer, is there to teach the student, not just write a textbook for you to read. The DVDs include lessons that correspond to the lessons in the book, some of which include video or text segments from other adventure novels and movies (including a black-and-white 1950s version of Cyrano De Bergerac). The author also explains some of the key concepts from the textbook in more detail, in case they were not fully understood.

Secondly, the curriculum is laid out in a very easy-to-follow and even fun format that helps the student quickly and easily decide the main elements for his novel. After identifying the main points and characters of the story, the student proceeds to pinpoint the main characteristics and actions of the characters (names, physical attributes, etc.), along with some specific scenes that could be included. The student then lays out the main plot and subplots for their novel, which involves such things as choosing "Someone to Care About" and "Something to Suffer." There are pages dedicated to "chapter sketching," in which the student labels the main events for each chapter of the novel. All in all, this is a very good format, and one that has helped me a lot in writing my own fantasy adventure novel.

There was, however, one thing I found difficult about this curriculum. It is written for a student who is just learning to write. Having had some writing experience, I found this rather crippling as I went through the curriculum. Thus, I would recommend it more for beginners rather than experienced writers, though I do think it is still a great tool for any author.

The One-Year Adventure Novel was one of my favorite subjects this year, partly because I love to write and partly because of the ease of using the curriculum. I highly recommend to any beginning author, and would definitely offer it to my novel-writing friends as a great curriculum to help strengthen their work. All in all, I give the One-Year Adventure Novel two thumbs up.

Product review by Hayden Fletcher, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, May 2009