Monday, January 25, 2016

Write Your Novel in a Month, Walkthrough: Introduction

A few weeks ago, I told you all that I got some sweet writing resources from my SO and family at Christmas. One resource has inspired a few posts on setting and such, I decided that I wanted to do a mini-series over the whole darn book.

That is why I am doing a walkthrough of Write Your Novel in a Month.*

I reached this decision after the planets aligned, so to speak. Every time I open Gerke's book, I find something new and exciting that I want to apply to my own writing. In addition, I am on the way to finishing the first draft of my WIP. These things in conjunction with my recent re-connection with the world wide web (via free wifi at my local eatery) has sparked my desire to share this information with you all.

Today I am going to give you a general overview and cover the introduction of Write Your Novel in a Month by Jeff Gerke.
* This blog uses affiliated links. Learn more below.

First, a little bit about Jeff Gerke:
Gerke helps novelists through his publications with Writer's Digest, his digital program Fiction Academy, teaching at writers' conferences, and freelance editing. Gerke is also the founder of Marcher Lord Press, a publisher of Christian speculative fiction.
Now, about the book

I really like the way Write Your Novel in a Month (hereafter referred to as "WYNM") is set up. It has three distinct parts: Planning Your Novel, Writing Your Novel [Fast], and Publishing Your Novel.

Part One (Planning Your Novel) focuses on the general "ground work" you need to cover before you actually start writing your novel such as creating your characters, choosing a plot structure, choosing a genre, establishing a setting, crafting your villain, etc.

Part Two (Writing Your Novel [Fast]) is a collection of Gerke's tips as well as tips he gathered from colleagues on how to get your novel down on paper (or screen) quickly.

Part Three (Publishing Your Novel) is the section of WYNM dedicated to revision and writing finesse as well as how to go about the the initial stages of publishing.

As Gerke says, writing a novel is in and of itself a major victory. The book focuses on the smaller victories that one make have along the way to completing the first draft. Each chapter is titled as a "victory," which further emphasizes Gerke's tone of success and encouragement throughout the book. Clocking in at 275 pages from Introduction to the Final Word, WYNM is great as both a fast read and a quick reference book.

The Introduction
"One of these days, I'm going to sit down and write that novel. . ."
These are the first words of WYNM's Introduction and serve as a means of connecting the reader with the information Gerke is about to lay down in the rest of the Intro. The line really resonated with me because I kept pushing back my personal deadline for my WIP, always putting my book on the back burner in favor of "more important things" (working late, studying for university exams, engorging myself on the new season of The Walking Dead on Netflix . . . ).

The first part of the introduction does a good job of saying, not in these words at all, "Hey! You! I see you there, with your plot outline that you have been tweaking for seven months as an excuse to not actually start writing. Sit down and get your butt in hear." Gerke lets readers know from the get-go that many writers have the same start-fast-and-finish-slow mentality.

He establishes that the purpose of the book isn’t to help you write a stellar draft in 30 days; instead, the purpose of the book is to help you knock out that first draft in 30 days and then use the other tools and resources in the book to polish, revise, and pitch it to publishers.

In the introduction, Gerke sets a 50K word goal for his readers, making this book a great complimentary resource for those people who participate in NaNoWriMo where the challenge is to write 50k in one month.

The rest of the introduction focuses on the "nitty-gritty" of writing a novel. Gerke makes it clear to the reader of WYNM that writing is hard work, and throwing together a novel in under 30 days is exceptionally difficult. He tells the readers things established writers know and new writers will come to learn: writing can be discouraging; you are going to want to quit; you have to push yourself through the first draft. But even though he is up-front about the trials of being an author, Gerke does a phenomenal job of balancing reality with humor and wit to encourage the reader.

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Interested in Write Your Novel in a Month yet? Stay tuned for more posts.

Can't wait? Pick up your copy of Write Your Novel in a Month here.*

*This blog uses affiliated links to keep the laptop charged and the word juices flowing. Don't know what affiliated links are? Click here to learn more.


felix jarikre said...

Reading your post is quite educative and motivating. Writing is hard work, and any resource you can lay your hands on to help the process should never be despised. I am reminded once again I should excusing my procrastination in the name of careful planning, and attack the writing of that novel I'd put off for so long!

felix jarikre said...

Mean to say I should stop excusing my procrastination...

Majesta Miles said...

Felix, I am so excited that you find the walk-through helpful! I plan on posting again soon, but until then, I strongly suggest you get a personal copy of Gerke's book. It was definitely a game changer for me!