This post is a LONG time coming (sorry Katie!), but I wanted to take a little more time and devote a blog post to the AMAZING book recently released by fellow author and friend, K.M. Weiland.
I just want to give a brief overview of the entire book, so you can get an idea of what you’re getting with it. You can decide for yourself what benefit(s) you can take from it, but I have a feeling you’ll be in good hands if you grab a copy!
The book is a nonfiction work that helps authors understand the necessity and the how-to of structuring a book. Structure, as opposed to outlining, is a general framework of a book’s content. Whereas I’ll outline my novel in order to know what section I need to write whenever I sit down at my computer, structuring is about the bird’s-eye view of a novel’s content — the characters, theme, plot summary, etc.
What does this really mean?
It means that whether you like to plan out your entire novel, complete with scene/sequel overviews, or if you prefer to “pants” it (write the whole thing from the seat of your pants), this book can help you get there. How?
For planners, structure is the first step in figuring out what in the world you’re going to write about.
…and for “pantsers,” structure is — also — the first step.
If you think writing “by the seat of your pants” is easier than planning at least a little of it out, I can tell you from experience that it’s not. Initially the lack of structure seems freeing, but when you get to that “muddy middle,” you’ll find that just a little structure goes a long way!
What’s in the book?
The book is split into categories, each answering some of these common questions (taken from the Amazon.com description):
- How to determine the best techniques for empowering your unique and personal vision for your story.
- How to identify common structural weaknesses and flip them around into stunning strengths.
- How to eliminate saggy middles by discovering your “centerpiece.”
- Why you should NEVER include conflict in every scene.
- How to discover the questions you don’t want readers asking about your plot—and then how to get them to ask the right questions.
I found that the book covered each of these sections in detail, and after finishing it I felt I was ready to take on the writing world. Structuring Your Novel really is a full-length writing guide that gets you from idea/concept to ready-to-write content structure.
What I love about the book is that Weiland goes into depth about one of my favorite writing techniques — scenes and sequels. When I started writing The Golden Crystal, I got stuck in the aforementioned “muddy middle,” and I had to turn elsewhere to find what I needed.
With Weiland’s book, now there are two amazing resources I can reference for information about this writing strategy.
Structuring Your Novel isn’t just theory, either. The book is full of practical, useful tips and tricks, from an author who’s actually made it in the competitive writing market. She hasn’t just read about how to do this stuff, she’s actually done it.
I do tend to prefer books and information that leans toward the practical, pragmatic advice, rather than theoretical, hypothetical information. I’ll take actual experience, knowledge, and proof long before educated guesses. I like information that is immediately actionable; stuff that I can use right away.
Weiland’s book is that sort of stuff.
Here’s a quote from a fellow reader:
“This book shows a writer how to structure their novel from beginning to end in a no-nonsense manner. It’s fast and easy reading, and MAKES SENSE!” — Carrie C. Spencer
It’s true. Whether you’re a seasoned writer or a newbie, this book is going to help you — it’s guaranteed to help you — finish your first draft. Still, even if you’ve finished your book, or are working on the second or third draft, this book can help you.
Give it a read; I know you’ll pick up some things. It might mean the difference between a published book or one that lives in your top drawer. Or, it might mean the difference between a self-published book that no one reads and one that sells a few (or a few thousand!) copies a month.
If you’re interested in reading more, check out K.M. Weiland’s website, where she has more information about the book, contests, and giveaways, and do check out her other books on Amazon!