Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘My Favourite Writing Craft Book’ #amwriting #August2021 #BookBlogger

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

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

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.

Save the Cat: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need by [Blake Snyder]

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.

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: The Last Book On Novel Writing You'll Ever Need by [Jessica Brody]

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.

If you click on the image, you will be taken to my newsletter sign up page. Go ahead, make my day and sign up if you want to get news of special offers, new releases and updates on The Eyre Hall Series and all things related to Jane Eyre.  

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!

12 thoughts on “Insecure Writers Support Group #IWSG ‘My Favourite Writing Craft Book’ #amwriting #August2021 #BookBlogger

  1. I really like Save the Cat too! I haven’t read the one for novelists yet, but I really need to. I found a template online for Save the Cat for the different beats and have used that to plan and edit my novels.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Not heard of Save the Cat. I absorbed lots of guides at the start and however hard I’ve tried my attempts to produce story guides tend to fail miserably. That said I set myself the task of writing a trio logo and have finished two with the denouement looming. It feels like I need to try and plan it more this time, to ensure it remains coherent. After my son’s wedding, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I always plan now, although my plans tend to change a lot, especially at the before the end of my first draft. It’s exciting to feel the characters taking on a life if their own! But there comes a point when I have to say, stop!

      Like

  3. Hi Luccia, I have not read many books on writing but I always have the outline of my stories in my head before I start and I know the ending. My weakness is I don’t write it down, I keep it all in my head and just write it down as I go along.

    Liked by 1 person

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