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Novel Writing: 16 Steps to Success

by Evan Marshall

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301605,362 (4.17)None
This text provides a methodical approach to planning, plotting, writing and finishing a novel. It shows the aspiring author how to lay the foundations for a novel, target a genre, and use guidelines to determine length and plot.

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This is a useful book for (not surprisingly) anyone who wants to write a novel. The sixteen steps approach is a bit too mechanistic for my liking but it is aimed at people who need walking through everything, like a bull led by the nose to slaughter. Saying that, it is useful to have all this detail to refer back to when it's needed.

The book offers a look under the carpet where editors and agents hang out; the view may not be what you expected. The concept of asking a publisher how many words they want in the story, and then hacking your masterpiece to fit it, seems pretty bizarre. The concept that you should set a goal to make your book the right size to fit in a box for delivery is repulsive. Still, the author does admit these pills may be bitter to swallow. It seems they are part of the dark grinding wheels of the publishing industry - the things that crawl beneath the damp carpet.

All these things aside, the book does provide useful information, particularly on synopsis writing, finding agents, and producing a book that from day one is aimed at being marketable. Some of the things it tells you to do, you may not like. Some of the things it tells you to do, you may not do. I suspect that with experience, much of this will be clarified into things for amateurs to worry about, but before breaking any rules, it's important to know what they are - and why you think you should break them.

This book shows one way to write a novel. Just remember it's not the only way.

Towards the end of the book is a section on editing and polishing your work. It lists a couple of pages of very compacted information that in itself is probably worth as much as the previous hundred pages put together. ( )
  peterjameswest | Nov 21, 2014 |
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This text provides a methodical approach to planning, plotting, writing and finishing a novel. It shows the aspiring author how to lay the foundations for a novel, target a genre, and use guidelines to determine length and plot.

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