Becoming an Every Day Novelist by J. Daniel Sawyer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have a few novels under my belt, but I'm always interested in what other writers have to say about the writing process. You never know when someone else is going to come up with some tricks, tips, or points of view that might come in handy, or make you think about something in a new way. And sometimes, even when you already knew something, hearing it restated can make you take another look at it, or just remind you of something you haven't thought about for a while.
There's a lot of that in Dan Sawyer's Becoming an Every Day Novelist.
The book is organized as 30 days' worth of advice, with the idea that you'll be writing a novel in 30 days. You might be doing NaNoWriMo, or you might be doing your own personal novel-in-a-month challenge, or maybe you just want some help getting your head down and developing the work habits and work pace that'll give you a shot at becoming a full time fiction writer. However you're coming at this, I think you'll find a lot of value in how Dan presents the material.
Each day's advice is tailored to where you probably are in your novel, if you're reading along as you write. There's info on how to get started, what elements you need (beginning with the "a character, in a setting, with a problem" approach), how to handle sections that are often problematic (getting through the middle, powering up to the climax, finding your ending), and discussions on how to carve out the time to write every day, what to do when life prevents you from writing for a while, and how to keep your writing habit from destroying various parts of your body.
[There are some minor glitches here and there, some spellcheckitis, and one really obvious formatting oops, but nothing that makes a line or paragraph hard to understand, which is what's really important. Not enough to deduct a star for.]
There was a lot here I was familiar with (Dan and I have some of the same mentors) but reading it was valuable anyway, and I expect to reread this at least once or twice. Good stuff -- highly recommended.