This post was written in response to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group monthly (first Wednesday of every month) blog hop to where writers express thoughts, doubts, and concerns about our profession. By the way, all writers are invited to join in!
August 4 question – What is your favorite writing craft book?
The awesome co-hosts for the August 4 posting of the IWSG are PK Hrezo, Cathrina Constantine, PJ Colando, Kim Lajevardi, and Sandra Cox!
Let’s rock the neurotic writing world! Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG
My Favourite Writing Craft Book
When I started writing my first novel in 2013, I had read hundreds of novels and even taught literature to undergraduates, so I thought I knew all about writing. I had an idea, four main characters, a location in space and time, and I started writing ‘by the seat of my pants’.
Although I enjoyed the experience, I wasn’t able to finish the novel as I had started it, because I didn’t have a plan. I had no idea what a story beat was, or a character arc, etc. I had taught literature concentrating on style, themes, and context, not from the point of view of creative writing, so I didn’t have a clue.
I realised my handicap and started reading all manner of books on the art of writing, which you are all no doubt familiar with, and fortunately, one of them was Save the Cat.
I was literally awestruck by the simplicity and clarity of the proposal which was definitely life-changing for my writing career. That said, I confess I have never followed it to the letter, but it opened my eyes to the elements of a dramatic story and showed me a way to structure my novel, which had become a rambling mess, which I couldn’t finish.
In 2018, Jessica Brody wrote a fabulous follow-up called Save the Cat Writes a Novel, which is a far better manual for novel writers, because the original Save the Cat is aimed at screenplays. Jessica Brody, adapts Blake Snider’s proposal to the novel with invaluable examples, checklists, ideas and inspiration to help writers with their first novels.
I soon developed my own writing strategy which still incorporates some of Save The Cat’s structure as well as plenty of other great books I’ve read and podcasts and YouTube videos I’ve listened to.
I visualise the main points of my novel before I start writing. Then I jot down my ideas in a summary and continue visualising it for weeks, until the whole story takes shape in my mind, as if it were a film. That’s when I write the scenes on cards. The structure tends to fall into three acts. I order the scenes chronologically and check that no scenes are missing in the story flow. Finally, I rewrite the summary and when I’m satisfied that I have a complete story, I write the scenes which are most important and clearest in my mind first.
Although I would never call myself a pantser, the final version is rarely exactly the same as the initial summary. New characters and scenes often appear and others are deleted or changed. I have a plan, which I use to guide and help me. I do not allow it to constrain my creativity.
I made this banner for The Eyre Hall Series myself on Canva. It used to be a trilogy, but it has now become a series of six books. Book One, Blood Moon at Eyre Hall, is available for preorder and it will be published on 22nd August. And books two and three, All Hallows at Eyre Hall and Twelfth Night at Eyre Hall will be published the same week. Book four, Thunder Moon at Eyre Hall will be published in the autumn and Snow Moon and Midsummer in 2022.
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The Eyre Hall Series is the sequel to Jane Eyre. Especially for readers who love action packed, neo-Victorian romantic thrillers, with gothic mansions, evil villains, unforgettable main characters, lots of drama, and unexpected twists and turns, reminiscent of Victorian novels.
You can preorder Blood Moon at Eyre Hall here, or you can ask me for an ARC in the comments, or sign up for my email list by clicking on the image above.
If you’d like to read or reread Jane Eyre, I’m posting one chapter a week, every Friday, in flash fiction, directly from the original novel, for readers who prefer to read an abridged version, here, just click on the banner below:
Thanks for reading! And I hope you’re having a fabulous Wednesday!