Nail Your Novel


Review of

Nail Your Novel by Roz Morris

British author and writing teacher Roz Morris has a new book out just in time to help you with that first draft of your new novel. You know, the one you’re going to write in November for National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo.

Hiccups in your Confidence and Motivation

Morris writes with great wit and wisdom about the writing process, starting with those awkward moments when you actually admit, “Yes, I’m, uh, writing, well, you know, something a bit longer. Maybe, a, uh, a novel.”

Writing always begins here, by acknowledging the writer as a person with the usual insecurities. Morris address this directly by providing you with some structure. No, structure isn’t for everyone, but for beginners, structure can be a comfort and save them a lot of time. Her process involves a series of tasks, breaking down the process into smaller steps:

  • Task 1: Shaping your inspiration
  • Task 2: Starting this specific novel
  • Task 3: Focused research
  • Task 4: A structural survey for you novel
  • Task 5: Detailed synopsis
  • Task 6: How to free your muse and turn off your inner critic
  • Task 7: Before you look at your manuscript again
  • Task 8: The beat sheet game
  • Task 9: Revising your manuscript
  • Task 10: Your submission process

Help for NaNoWriMo writers

Authors embarking on the month-long adventure of writing 50,000 words in November will appreciate the first few tasks. Morris gives you direction on how to thicken the plot, find inspiration, decide what does NOT belong in the book, accept random input, and generally get the overall story thought out.

Research (Task 3) can flesh out details further:

“Research might throw up all sorts of interesting situations. For instance, I was commissioned to write a novel about people selling kidneys in India. Reading about the poverty in the villages inspired the start of the story – a young girl decides to sell her kidney to get her family out of debt. Of course, once she’s in the clutches of the butchers, she changes her mind, poor love. Meanwhile, her family are desperate to get her back.”

Overall, Morris’ experience enhances the book. This is a process she is intimately acquainted with and daily practices. Even if you’re experienced, I recommend the book as a review for concepts you already know. Because I think you’ll also find some unexpected nuggets. And for more nuggets, read Roz Morris’ blog, Dirty White Candy (Yes, a strange name for a blog, you say. Morris explains it on her home page). Example of her posts: How to Make Readers Root for Your Character

NYN-front2-little4 NaNoWriMo Special!
For three weeks, until 21 October, you can download the e-book of Nail Your Novel for 99p! That’s a whopping £2 off the usual price of £2.99. So if you’re preparing a book for NaNoWriMo this will help you firm up your plans, fill your plot holes – so you are ready to blast off on 1 November with confidence. Just click on the pic!

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