First-time novelists sometimes struggle with the prospect of writing a book. There are so many decisions to be made, and without a plan, it’s easy to get bogged down and overwhelmed. Fortunately, Before You Write Your Novel: Essential Skills for the First-Time Novelist addresses these questions and help authors stay on the right track.
In a step-by-step manner, James McCreet walks first-time novelists through the creative process. First off, he asks how ready the author is – if he has the necessary skills and determination to complete the work. Then he looks at the idea – is it enough to carry a whole novel or does it need to be fleshed out a bit more? Story building, plots, subplots, narrative approaches, and other construction elements are covered, as McCreet dissects a few sample novels. Finally, he pulls this all together in an overview of the novel outlining process.
Those who like to work with outlines will find McCreet’s approach extremely helpful, as he lays everything out for the author to follow along. Those who prefer the “pantster” approach will probably find this information more useful at the time of revision. No matter which camp you belong to, this is a great how-to book for any author to add to his writing toolbox.
Reviewer: Alice Berger