Tag Archives | write a novel

Book Review: The Novel Writer’s Blueprint

Paperbackbookstanding-226x300I've got a new book for all you fledgling novel writers out there.  

It is called The Novel Writer's Blueprint: Start Writing Your Novel Today, by Kevin T. Johns.  I discovered the book when Kevin emailed me a wonderful query asking if I'd be interested in reviewing it. Since I'd just published a rant post about how often I got approached by people with terrible queries, I leapt at the chance.  

Kevin sent me the book, I read it, and now I'm reviewing it.

I like this book quite a bit.  It lays out in five steps the system that Kevin believes will allow you to write your novel.  (The genesis of the five-step system was Kevin's own struggle to write his first novel.  It took him eight years–and he swore he would not let that happen again.  Can you relate?)

The five steps are as follows:

1. Genre Selection–Learn to harness the power of genre.

2. Story Structure–Select a story structure already proven to work with readers.

3. Puzzle Work--Piece together your scenes into an indispensable beat-sheet.

4. Preparatory Regimen–Sharpen your writing skills.

5. Running the Marathon–Implement protocols to stay on track and beat the biggest challenges.

Not mentioned in this rundown is his introductory chapter, which has a lot of good information in it as well.

My favorite chapters were #2 and #4.  I love #2 on story structure, because I'm a story geek, and Kevin has a film background so he's well versed in various structures and he presents them clearly.  Chapter #4 covers a good collection of tips for writing, such as timed writing, mind mapping and brainstorming.  Kevin also mentions a technique called "Writing Down the Page" which it turns out I do all the time, but didn't have a name for.  It's when you write a sketchy outline of your chapter so you have the general flow down.

This book is perfect for the first-time novelist who wants a picture of the road ahead before launching onto the journey.  And seasoned novelists will find a few tips of use as well.  Check it out, guys.

Do you have a favorite book on novel writing?  Please share! 

11

Nanowrimo Commitment (With Full Confession of Intention to Cheat)

I've made a commitment to do Nanowrimo again this year.

With a huge caveat.

I've actually already begun my novel, and written a chapter and a half of it.  So I won't be competing to write a whole 50,000 word novel during the month of November. 

I will, however, be using the collective energy that occurs each year around this event to set a regular writing schedule and stick to it.  Currently, I'm getting up and working on my novel about twice a week, sometimes three times.  I want it to increase to five times a week and I want to get up earlier and have a longer writing session every morning.

A brief aside about getting up early.  Last night at my regular writing group, we set writing goals for the rest of the year.  And we talked about the difficulty of holding to a schedule for any kind of creative writing, with the pull of family and career.  One common thread among us was the issue of creative energy and head space.  All agreed that writing in the afternoon or evening is often impossible because our heads are so full of the daily business of life.  And thus the best way to get words on the page is by getting up early.  One man in the group routinely rises at 5:30 AM to write before he turns to the work day.  And another–wait for it–gets up at 3:30 AM or 4 every morning to work on his memoir.  So I can damn well get myself out of bed a half an hour early.  How about you?

I've written about Nanowrimo before in numerous posts throughout the years.  Here's some of them, and check them out, because they've got good solid info on getting ready for it.

Nanowrimo Prep

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Nanowrimo

It's Nanowrimo, Day One, Do You Know Where Your Words Are?

Writing Inspiration, Whether You Are Nanowrimo-ing or Not

I'm publicly stating my goal so that you guys can hold me to it.  And in return, if you're onboard for Nanowrimo, note it in the comments and we can all support each other.  So how about it?  Are you with me?  Let's do it!  Chime in below and we'll write together during November.

5