Thursday, September 13, 2007

How To Write A Novel

I’m fairly certain I’m not on my own when I admit to possessing shelves of ‘How To Write A Novel’ books.

I did this at university too: I thought that the more Greek and Roman history books I purchased, the more knowledgeable I would get. I failed to grasp the fundamental weakness in my plan because it never occurred to me that I had to actually read them… Perhaps I thought some kind of osmosis of information would occur, it didn’t and I got a fairly crappy degree.

Still, what I learned is that yes I do have to read the ‘How To Write A Novel’ books. And mostly I do – anything to avoid actually writing, eh? Many are excellent and some are decidedly average, but I’ve just bought one that’s actually helped concentrate my thoughts.

It’s called ‘Structuring Your Novel’ by Robert C Meredith and John D Fitzgerald and is published by Quill.

It’s not particularly easy to read, but it’s worth persevering with. Despite only being 20 odd pages in, I have written down concisely what I believe my intentions are for my novel. It has given me clarity in how to move forward with the writing.

You all know I’ve been running around in small circles sending myself mad but I don’t think I’d got a proper sense of what I want the story to do. It all felt rather aimless until now.

I’ve had a pretty social week but I’ve pencilled in some writing sessions for next week, and I’m hoping to get on with it.

Fingers crossed.


Lane said...

Glad you've found some 'clarity' and good luck with sessions:))

High Priestess of Punk-chew-ation said...

My husband (AKA Man 1 - see JJ's previous hilarious post on the 'Autistic Spectrum' - which is, btw, a great name for a band) also collects 'How To ..' books (How To Get Your Eng Lit Degree Without Reading A Book Other Than This On; How To Read All Your How To Books Without Reading Any Other How To Book etc). He talked me into buying him for his birthday - about three years ago - a self help book called 'Getting Things Done'. Since its purchase, it's sat on his shelf, gathering dust (may even be visible in some of the pictoral evidence submitted on the subject of autism). When asked why it hadn't yet been read, Man 1 replied that he hadn't yet got round to it. I don't think he was joking either.

Jon M said...

How to books can be good but if you read too many and they disagree and ...aaaargh!

liz fenwick said...

Yeah, I bow down to the how to books!

Lazy Perfectionista said...

Must admit to similar shelves being of the school of thought that believes 'If it's worth doing, there's a book to tell me how to do it right'. Must look out for this one. Also just ordered 'Solutions for Writers' by Sol Stein, though according to Amazon I won't be able to let you know how good it is until after 6th November. Argh.

JJ said...

Lane, thank you, I hope it doesn't evaporate the minute I get going again...

HPoP, still chuckling at that. Where does he hide them? I've never seen them.

Jon, I do read too many of them! But, some stand out, and I realise I've got to work out what works for me.

Liz, me too. Though I have a book which I really need to read called 'How to stop worrying and start living.' Husband says I need to get on with that one.

Lazy Perfectionista, rather predictably, I've got that Sol Stein one...


Rebecca said...

I know the feeling - when I've tried learning foreign languages I'd just buy book after book - tape set after tape set. I never actually opened the books or listened to the tapes - I think I also must of thought I'd learn by some kind of osmosis.

Didn't happen. :(

I haven't loaded myself up with writing books for some reason - I think it's because they really confuse me and I end up more paralysed than ever.