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 thoughts on “Book Review: The Novel Writer’s Blueprint”

  1. Speaking of fledgling, we watched the Decorah eagles this year. Raptor people in Iowa have a camera mounted on a nest. Viewers watch from the time the eggs are laid until the babies fly. You know you are hard up for TV if you watch birds sitting on a nest. A full two weeks before the fledglings flew, I’m saying, “Today is the day.” Eight years is a long time to work on a book, but I’m guilty of rushing things. I should have stayed in short stories a bit longer. And I should have laid my novel aside and read it again three weeks later. I kicked it out of the nest a bit too early. Does Kevin’s good looking book come with an egg timer?

  2. Actually, J.D., we offer a special edition bonus where I’ll personally come to the home of procrastinating writers and kick ’em in the butt until they get to work! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Kevin, don’t listen to a word J.D. says–he’s a prolific writer with a debut mystery publishing on Aug. 1. And from the first couple of pages I’ve read, its a good one!

  4. Suzanne Robertson

    Oh yes, I can relate. This looks like a great help. Esp the edition where Kevin shows up and kicks butt.

    Congrats on your upcoming book, J.D.! Thx for the review, Charlotte

  5. Great post. Love the comments.

    The only instructional “how to write book” I own is “writing about art history”. Which is another of my dreams.

    Lots of dreams. And dwindling time. Is there a blog post about that?

    JD- excited for your new book. Congrats on your upcoming publishing date. Does your mystery offer humor as well as intrigue? Because we see both here and it’s refreshing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Actually it is a bit dark for me, D. Sometimes I look at it and wonder who wrote it. There are parts of me hidden in the shadows. Maybe you will write an art history novel.

  7. My response to “lots of dreams and dwindling time” is stay in the moment as much as possible and appreciate each moment as it passes by. Something I’m always aspiring to do better. And get thee some writing instruction books–they are great inspiration. Email me if you’d like a list, besides Kevin’s, of course.

  8. My novel certainly could include some art history. Some well worn history at least, being it will take place in the south.

    I think every great author includes parts of themselves in their work. It’s how writing becomes genuine.

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