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 The introduction is hilariously out of date (back in 2000 he didn't have much faith in e-publishing), but the actual tips for writing so far have helped me to figure out where I was going wrong.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.