Wednesday, May 19, 2010

How to Write the Perfect Novel, for $7.99 and Free Shipping

Don't forget to check out Check out Danyelle Leafty's post on her "A-ha" moment in writing. And if you missed it, last week I posted about Upping the Stakes in your plot. Last week was by Laura Diamond, and next week will be Zoe Courtman!

Okay. On to today's post!

I know there are methods D-Z folks. Cut me some slack. I can only make the picture so big.

Personally, I fall smack into Method C category for novel writing. But there are so many books out there touting how to do it, and do it well, or get on the best-sellers list, etc.

Heard of these?

Stephen King's On Writing. Part autobiography, part lessons on writing.

Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel. Some swear it's the Bible of novel writing, others think it's churning out author-bots.

Thomas Monteleone's The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing a Novel (Not to be confused with the Partial Idiot's Guide to Writing Half-Baked Books)

And there are so many more out there. I've learned a ton in the last year or so about writing novels. And if every gem was contained inside one single book, I would have bought it.

Did you use any books to help you learn the process? If so, please share!

And don't forget, there are two days left to enter my 150 Followers Giveaway!


Anonymous said...

Yeah, maybe I should try a different method, LOL! LOVE this post, Lydia! :D

Unknown said...

I'm a method C writer for sure. I've looked at "how to write" type books and I always find them boring. I don't want to read about writing, I want to write.

Dara said...

The Writer's Digest series books are pretty good. I liked Nancy Kress' Character & Viewpoint, James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing.

Creepy Query Girl said...

I kind of used the second method. I wrote the book and I didd reference 'the IDIOT's guide to Writing for Young Adults' afterwords but I mostly used internet sources on revision and my critics group.

Munk said...

Method C for me, partially organically systematic.
Then I watched how people reacted... does rewriting ever end?

Unknown said...

I'm feeling my way in the dark with MS #1, but I have enjoyed sparks of illumination from Roger Ingermanson's Snowflake Method.

Hopefully, by the second time around this crazy block, I'll have a better answer :))

Ann Marie Wraight said...


Loved the post!

I definitely fall into CATEGORY B -
Write I have to find a book on how to write one and then RE-WRITE....EASY-PEASY


Unknown said...

I love this post. Great diagrams.

I'm at:
Read a book about writing.

Write a novel.

Realize I have no idea what I'm doing.

Read 5 books about writing.


Diane said...

Great links. Thanks! :O)

Unknown said...

I fall squarely into the "Method B" category! I love reading about people's writing methods and hearing what exercises, etc, have helped others so I like reading method books. But of course every advice tome should be taken with a grain of salt.

Anonymous said...

I'm a mix of Methods B and C -- I'd seek out writing advice online, hoping to get better, but they're mostly helpful for revisions.

A book that's very helpful to me at the moment is SELF-EDITING FOR FICTION WRITER. The authors' advice is to use the book after the first draft, for revisions. I agree. However, just reading through it during the first draft stage has helped my writing subconscious immensely.

Unknown said...

I'm baaack! (I'm not sure if that sounds as spooky here as it does in my head!)

I've got something on my blog for you today. :)

Christina Lee said...

I read during the process of my first one--and of course I can't think of names right now, but Maas and King were in there!

Lydia Kang said...

Thanks everyone for the responses! Let's see, here's a summary of the other books people mentioned:

-Self-Editing for the Fiction Writer
-Roger Ingermanson's Snowflake Method (not a book, but still a useful method)
-Idiot's Guide to Writing for YA
-Nancy Kress' Character & Viewpoint
-James Scott Bell's Plot & Structure and Revision & Self-Editing.

Keep them coming, or at least, let me know what method you are!

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I just read MAKE A SCENE by Rosenfeld. It's very good. I'm doing my first mg using the scene technique.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the links. I'm learning how to write so people will read!!

Anna Staniszewski said...

BIRD BY BIRD didn't necessary teach me how to write a novel, but it's such an inspiring book that it gave me the confidence to try it. I also love James Scott Bell's books on craft, as well as Orson Scott Card's.

Samantha Bennett said...

Can you be a B/C method writer? If so, ding ding ding! That's me. A few books that have helped me are Les Edgerton's Hooked and Jack Bickham's Scene and Structure. Great post!

Tana said...

I think I used every book. But honestly? There are SO many more I want. I'm buying The Art of War for writers by James Scott Bell next.

notesfromnadir said...

I fall into the C category also!

I just read the books that I want to read and then go off and do my own thing. Very scientific!

But I'd suggest for those who want to write YA or fantasy or romance or sci fi, etc., read plenty of books in that genre.

No how-to titles come to mind, other than Strunk & White Elements of Style.

Unknown said...

Lydia once again another fabulous post! I learned so much from Stephen Kings On Writing! It was incredible, it's a book I'll keep on me for awhile!

Lola Sharp said...

I love writing books. I think I have them ALL.
You're right, if there was one book that gave us everything, I'd have bought it.

I LOVE Anne Lammot's Bird By Bird.

Happy Weekend!

kanishk said...

I read during the process of my first one--and of course I can't think of names right now, but Maas and King were in there!
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Gary P Henderson said...

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I recently see the guides in which I must examine and set off and also carry out my own, personal factor. Extremely technological!
Yet I'd personally advise for many who desire to compose YA or perhaps illusion or perhaps relationship or perhaps sci fee, and so forth., Furthermore examine a lot of guides because variety.
Simply no how-to games one thinks of, apart from S trunk & White-colored Components of Type.

Donald C Palmer said...

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