Book Review: “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing”

It’s been a long, long while since I last wrote any kind of book review. Figured it was long since time I dug out this one and wrote up my thoughts on “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing”.

“The Marshall Plan to Novel Writing” was actually the first book I bought to help me figure out exactly how to wrap my head around the process of writing an novel in the first place. I was completely and utterly clueless, though I’d written short stories and children’s books before I’d never once tried my hand at writing a novel and it looked like a daunting task from my perspective. I wanted something that would really get down into the  P’s and Q’s of it all, I wanted exacting details and formulas for everything.

I found all of that in “The Marshall Plan” and more. Curious about how many pages a book for a specific genre should be? There’s a formula for that. Want to know exactly what makes up a good chapter? There’s a formula for that too. Plus a bunch of worksheets for how to build characters and scenes and – well – every thing.

Which was great! At first.

It was everything I’d ever wanted to know about how to get through constructing a novel, in exacting detail – everything I’d ever wanted. Except I’m a pantser. I knew that going in and I knew at some point of working my way through carefully structured form after form, I’d throw away the book and play it by feel.

Which is what I did and still do, the book has been sitting dusty on my shelf for a good long while. It was a great help getting me started but in the end it was too constrictive to keep up with and didn’t match my writing style very well. But if you want structure in your books on writing, if you really truly need a lot of step by step hand holding, I’d say “The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing” is your book.

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