This month I'm studying up on the art of novel writing. I have been struggling through a novel that I started last summer. I started it for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, hated the whole process and gave up after the month was up. I went back to it in October, and finished a first draft in December. Then, I hated it even more. It's not that the idea is bad, or the writing is bad, it's just the story. I'm all over the place with it. I really want to write this novel, but there was something fundamentally wrong with it.

I have been very reluctant to take outside advice on writing. "No one can tell me how to write my story", you know the whole deal. I knew there were things to learn, but I wanted to learn it by osmosis, I guess. Well, that wasn't working this time, and I knew I needed some help.

So, I bought Writing the Breakout Novel, by Donald Maass. I'm about half-way through it now, and I'm finding it very helpful. The introduction is hilariously out of date (back in 2000 he didn't have much faith in e-publishing), but the actual tips for writing so far have helped me to figure out where I was going wrong.

I'm also thinking of using Susan Kaye Quinn's process for brainstorming a book. I think it will help a lot. I'm not one for plotting out a book from beginning to end, but her process seems simple and vague enough to keep me from getting overwhelmed on details.

Between the book and the brainstorming, I hope to be on track again next month.


  1. Good luck with getting back on track.

  2. Those thoughts are so familiar! I'm reading a book on mystery writing and whenever I get to the "now you try" parts, I have been saying no. Maybe by the time I get to the end of the book, I'll be ready to do the exercises. Best of luck to you in your writing this year!

  3. I have to outline a bit before I can start just to know where I am heading. The thing is not to be married to that outline. I love it when the story surprises me with something I never saw coming. An outline just keeps me on task without taking away from my creativity.

    Good Luck!
    Leanne ( http://readfaced.wordpress.com/ )


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