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!