“It’s your dream to be a novelist, to touch readers’ hearts and minds, to excite and wow them, to transport them.”
As lock-down rumbles on, are you revisiting a long-held dream of writing a novel – but, not quite sure where or how to start? Perhaps this book will indeed ‘get you excited to plan your novel’. Broken down into topics and designed as a four-week course, it has the huge benefit of not demanding hours and hours of time you don’t really have. Easy to dip in and out of, a single exercise could take as little as 15 minutes. Personally, I find that far more manageable than needing to carve out a couple of hours each evening – and thus, I’m more likely to give it a go!
The book is organised into four sections, with topics including creating your elevator pitch and synopsis, characters, plot points, and storyboarding.
My favourite section was getting to know your characters. It’s not ‘new’ information, per se, but it’s very well presented and very usable. In fact, I used it to sketch out my first ever D&D character – a new lock-down hobby 😉 – and it worked brilliantly. It really helps that everything is kept light and easy, so you can spend five minutes doing a rough sketch, or half an hour fleshing out more details, whatever suits your needs at the time.
The writing style is very chatty – perhaps a little too much at times, as the co-authors ‘handover’ chapters as if it were a powerpoint presentation, which felt a little odd in print! But still, I liked the laid-back, friendly approach. The ethos seems to be: have fun! Writing should be enjoyable!
Overall, then, I was pretty impressed and would recommend this especially for beginners. It’s quite a short volume, but there are plenty of recommended further readings, and an online workbook to further the exercises.
NetGalley eARC: 128 pages / 20 chapters
First published: 2018
Read from 9th April – 30th May 2020
My rating: 8/10