Back in January I told you one of my goals for 2016 is to work on my novel. I achieved this to some extent. I took a class and have the first and last chapters written. I also have several scenes sketched out and different pieces written here and there.
But the reality is this: writing a novel is HARD. My struggle is two-fold: making the time to write and figuring out the “guts” of the story. I know how it starts and how it ends, but I’m kind of missing that big chunk that’s required for storytelling. The good news is I’ve come across some great resources to help me focus. One of those is Author in Progress: A No-Holds-Barred Guide to What it Really Takes to Get Published.
Author in Progress is the first book by the editor and team at Writer Unboxed, which is hands-down one of my favorite websites for writing advice. If you are not reading Writer Unboxed, go over there now and subscribe.
The book guides writers through the process of creating a novel — covering pre-writing considerations, and working through each of the most critical stages before reaching the end (and even beyond the end). It’s designed for all writers interested in producing the best book possible while evolving their own work habits, craft, and goals for themselves.
There are three main things I loved about Author in Progress. First, it covers the entire process. So many writing books focus on one specific angle (e.g. character development, starting the novel, plot, etc.). But this book covers it all. The entire first section is devoted to starting and coming up with the idea. Then there are the chapters devoted to the writing, revising and the actual book release. For me, this is all really helpful because all the resources are in one place.
The second reason I recommend Author in Progress is the variety of topics covered. I already mentioned how the book covers the processes of writing a novel. But it also contains these great point-counterpoint chapters titled “Debatable” that discuss “controversial” (dare I even call them that) topics in writing. Examples of these “Debatable” chapters include: “Do You Need an MFA?,” “Plot or Pants It?” and “Do You Need a Professional Editor?”
The third reason is the variety of voices included, with some of my favorite writers contributing chapters. My “real life” friend and wonderful writer Margaret Dilloway contributes a chapter, as does Erika Robuck, Jane Friedman, Julie Munroe Martin, Lisa Cron (I’m also reading her amazing book, Story Genius), and so many others. Do you see what I mean? These are actual, published authors who know what they’re talking about. And you get a multitude of different voices and expertise.
So if you’re even thinking of writing a novel — or perhaps you’re already working on it — I highly recommend ordering yourself a copy of Author in Progress. You won’t be disappointed!
I received a complimentary copy of Author in Progress to review for this blog. However all opinions are my own and I only endorse books I am comfortable recommending to others.