I am prepping for NaNoWriMo 2016. This, in English, means I have joined thousands of authors around the world to prepare to write a novel, start to finish, during the month of November. Read more about this yearly challenge at the National Novel Writing Month website - nanowrimo.org
Here's a list of 5 how-to write a novel books I found helpful while writing my first novel, Helping Each Other - a Native Romance and a few that I purchased to prepare for my second novel. I'm sharing the list here in hopes it will help some of my fellow participants in this exciting challenge.
My problem with many how-to books is that they are too often written by someone who is an expert in writing how-to books - not in the actual field. Well, there's no question Stephen King knows how to write a novel. Here he shares his writing habits and motivation. It is a classic, must read for all aspiring writers and an interesting read for his fans in general.
Subtitled as the fool-proof system for writing a novel in 30 days, I just had to buy this when I saw it last month. It looks perfect for the NanoWriMo challenge. There are guides and worksheets and even a 30 day calender to help pace and ensure you are covering the essentials. Prep work includes the usual character sketching, 3 Acts, etc. I especially like the Setting Goals and Trusting Yourself chapters. As in this quote - "The first step in choosing the right project is to figure out who you are as a writer and what kind of project you want to work on. This means figuring out what you're most passionate about and working that passion into your story.."
Robyn Carr, author of gazillions of books, is definitely an expert on how to write popular fiction. This book stresses the requirements of genre fiction. It goes into detail on exactly how to show instead of tell what you need to in each scene. I would not attempt to ever write a novel without this guide by my side.
I bought this book recently and haven't even finished it. There is so much material, with practice exercises, that it feels like a graduate level course in writing. This book defines the 3 Act novel concept very well. My favorite exercise was to brainstorm what do you want the reader to have experienced by the end of each act. This is really helping me define my book on a higher level, knowing what the purpose of various scenes will be.
Romance novels are a special genre. This book is a great guide (and one of the few) to the unique challenges of writing a romance. It breaks down the formula and the types of scenes that are found in every romance novel. Romances are all about the characters and this steps you through creating strong characters. It even shows how subplots are managed.
Let me know in the comments below if this list helps you and if you have any favorites to add to it. Good luck on writing your novel! #nanowrimo