The Worlds of R. A. Hortz
Book in a Month
Book in a Month
The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days
By Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.
Writer's Digest Books, 2008
Reviewed by Herbert White - Posted July 28, 2012
Can you write a book in 30 days? Well I did, following the plan delineated in Victoria Lynn Schmidt's new book, Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days. This marvelous writer's reference provides a succinct and easy to follow plan that walks you through the steps of writing a novel in a mere thirty days!
Now before you start crying out that this is not possible, let me explain what this book does, and does not, do for you. This is a book that is designed to show you how to write a first draft of your novel, from beginning to end. It is not the intention of this program that you have a complete, polished, and ready to publish novel at the end of the thirty days. Rather, you'll have a complete draft of your novel. Granted, this will be a draft that will still need a lot of work, but it will have the basic form and shape of your completed novel. Most important, by completing this draft you will not only have a solid draft to work from, but you'll also gain the undeniable knowledge that you can indeed write the novel you've always wanted!
Rather than a book just to read, Book in a Month is a workbook filled with numerous charts and worksheets and exercises. You'll use this book everyday and because you'll be writing continuously in the book. You might want to buy a couple of copies so that you'll have a new copy on hand when you start your next novel - as you'll be wanting to use it over and over again. The book is spiral bound, so that the pages will lay flat to more easily fill out all the worksheets and charts. Most important, this is not a book on how-to write a novel (although you'll find plenty of how-to writing tips in the book), rather it is about actually putting pen to paper and writing day in and day out until you reach your goal.
Schmidt's directions are clear and realistic, and she breaks down the writing process into manageable steps. Her program is flexible, allowing you to take more, or less time, to complete your draft, as your own needs require. In addition, she has provided a plethora of worksheets to help you on your way, as well as practical scheduling advice that will keep you on track. This book will help you to make a realistic assessment of your writing goals, and help you to achieve those goals.
Schmidt's writing program is based upon the classic three act novel with a concrete beginning, middle, and end. She provides advice on how to proportion your story into these three acts and how to maintain the momentum of your story throughout. Most important, she provides advice that will help you to maintain your own writing momentum and keep you focused on your own personal writing goals.
Schmidt is the author of Story Structure Architect (one of my favorite writing guides) and 45 Master Characters, among other books. In addition to being an author and writing instructor, she is also a psychologist, and she brings many of her psychology skills to this book offering advice on how to overcome the boogeyman of all writers - procrastination, as well as tips on overcoming writers blocks, managing your time, and the myriad of other stumbling blocks that all too many writers use as an excuse not to write. To be candid, I was one of those excuse ridden writers - but no more. I have a complete draft in hand thanks to Book in a Month, and the motivation to finish polishing my manuscript until it is of publication quality. If you are serious about writing a novel but did not think that you had the time, or the will-power, get a copy of this book. You'll be amazed at how much you can accomplish in a month.
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