One thing I love about being editor of iHubbub is receiving excellent writing books! As an aspiring novelist I soak up all the knowledge a good writing reference guide can offer.
Three valuable reads on the craft of writing are shown here in the Write Great Fiction series from Writers Digest Books along with other excellent books to help you write your novel - you may even get it done in 30 days!
Let's find out how ...
Write Your Novel's First Draft In 30 Days
Many aspiring and experienced novelists throw out hundreds of pages (and waste valuable time) before they have a workable first draft of a novel. With 'First Draft in 30 Days', those days are over.
But that doesn’t give you a good picture of what you’re getting with Karen’s MUST HAVE book for every aspiring novelist. The back cover tells you how this book will save you time and reduce rewrites with a ‘sure-fire system’ for creating your first draft.
Although it doesn’t have to be actually 30 days – it could be whatever time allocation you want it to be, I found Victoria Schmidt’s writing reference guide shows you how to create an outline so detailed and complete that it really does become your first draft.
Her system is flexible enough for you to customise it to your way of researching, planning, plotting and writing.
When you first open the book you may think ‘Mmmmm, I don’t wanna be tied to any writing formatting system, thanks.’ But once you actually start working through Karen’s ideas, chapter by chapter and if you DO follow her guidance you will be amazed, no astounded, no stunned, no bowled over … oh, you get the picture … by this revolutionary way to write your first draft.
Using your own approach and style you will ease into Karen’s way of thinking pretty damn quickly and with her interactive worksheets, in no time at all you’ll have your own process.
If you’re the kind of writer that I am, flying on the seat of your pants and allowing your fictional characters to speak to you and dictate what happens next, go right now to Amazon and buy this book.
I am warning you that if you don’t you will never know how much your writing can and will be improved. You see this way of working not only improves your plotting and structure, but more so your actual writing.
Because when you apply this system to your manuscripts or novel ideas you will see something amazing happening – your writing tightens up, your story drives forward at a rapid pace and
If you think you don’t need an organising structure, , especially if they have never done it before, you actually do – you just don’t know it until you get to grip with Karen’s steps to write the first draft of your novel.
Along with plotting your novel, you’ll see that Karen teaches you how to brainstorm all possible angles for your story and organise the mountains of ‘stuff’ you could gather during your research and planning.
If you are still resisting, do me a favour, just read three to five chapters and then tell me you still don’t agree. At that stage, I will concede that you may be a writer who simply gets a kick out of organised chaos and will manage to get your book written under your own cluttered steam. But if you do give it a go, you may be like me and find that you’re way ahead with your creative outlines than you ever were before, without them.
Without a doubt as someone who has written for most of my life and yet to get a book published, Karen’s First Draft in 30 Days was massively inspiring, downright feet-on-the-road useful, and so far has helped me to create a novel that is probably my best work yet. A piece of fiction that I am now more determined than ever to get published. Watch out for our Self-Publishing coming soon.
When I am finished my new novel based entirely on Karen’s guidance – and get it published as a bestseller (!), I intend to go back over my previous novels and use the same principles to
If you can only afford one of these great books above, start with this one!
You WILL not be disappointed. I cannot recommend the book enough for new writers starting out on their novel writing journey!
|Digital Issue: Writer's Digest Write Your Novel in 30 Days|
|WRITE YOUR NOVEL IN 30 DAYS LAY THE GROUNDWORK How You Can Write a Book in a Month By Victoria Schmidt It's not impossible...[Read More]|
Your Novel's Plot And Structure
Next up is James Scott Bell’s excellent Plot and Structure, which helps aspiring novelist like you and me with techniques for crafting a plot that grips readers from start to finish.
How does plot influence story structure? What’s the difference between plotting for commercial and literary fiction? How do you revise a plot or structure that’s gone off course?
James Scott Bell gives you techniques for crafting strong beginnings, middles and ends with easy to understand plotting diagrams and charts. He explains how to brainstorm to be sure you write original plot ideas and able to fix plot problems as and when they arise in your novel.
I won’t spoil this for you and tell all, but it is an interesting way to ensure your story is always driving forward and not flagging in the doldrums. James also gives you 20 ways to get 100s of plot ideas. I currently use a few of them but will be trying out the others when I need more plotting ideas.
Writing Novel Dialogue
Another great book to learn the craft of fiction writing is Dialogue by Gloria Kempton.
How do some writers craft conversation so authentic that it feels as if they've been eavesdropping? What's the secret behind getting characters to talk to each other? How can writers make their dialogue sing? Answers to all of these questions and more can be found in this in-depth look at this crucial component of fiction.
Now that you have created fictional characters, you need to establish when they should talk, what they should say, when they should say it and how they should express themselves.
Gloria will explain how you know if dialogue is dragging down your scenes and how to fix the way a character speaks.
Mostly, as a novelist, you should create dialogue that drives your story forward and cunningly weaves dialogue through your action and narrative. It should pace your story not slow it down with mundane nonsense we real humans natter on about.
And most importantly, you should have unique dialogue for each of your characters – something that distinguishes them for anyone else in your story so the reader immediately identifies who is speaking from their manner and tone of the dialogue you create for that story person.
Gloria’s point of letting your characters be who they are and let them start doing the talking is a nugget of advice. If you are basing your characters on the Enneagram, this writing tutor also gives the reader examples of dialogue that the different archetypes would say. Read this and absorb dialogue ideas based on your character types.
Lastly, for a story to be successful, your character's dialogue must come alive on the page.
Writing Description And Setting
With 'Description & Setting', writers will learn how to make every detail count as they create believable people, places and events.
How to you do this? By creating a believable world, which includes places where your fictional characters wonder around.
But just how important is setting to your story? How much description is too much? And in what ways can you as an aspiring novelist use setting and description to add depth to your story?
In the Write Great Fiction Series of writing books to improve your craft of writing, Description and Setting by Ron Rozelle you’ll find practical exercises at the end of each chapter.
How To Write Fiction Without The Fuss
Now that you have several books to help you write that novel, here is another starter guide for getting your fiction book finished.
'How To Write Fiction Without The Fuss' takes you through all aspects of the craft of fiction writing and gives you a clear understanding of the fundamentals, along with tools and tips to enhance your writing skills.
Lucy McCarraher will teach you how to:
* Structure a classic plotline to keep your readers gripped
* Create believable characters with original voices
* Use settings and themes to give your story depth
* Understand your genre and integrate your research
* Write like a professional and lose the amateurish gaffes
* Edit and format your manuscript to attract agents and publishers
Lucy has divided the book into preparation, writing, reviewing and editing and getting your book published.
With that in mind you can dive into the book at any section that you need. However, as this book is handy for new writers it is best to start at the errr ... beginning and plough your way through it. You can only learn more tricks to becoming a fiction writer and getting your novel completed.
I thought the section on structuring sentences and using punctuation was useful as even well established authors can fall down on getting their apostrophe's in the right place. Lucy stresses that if you don't want to be seen as an 'appie' writer and show professionalism in your fiction, you need to write tighter.
A great little book for any aspiriting writer or novelist to pop in their handbag and devour at every spare moment in their day. Read it to improve your own writing!