I don’t normally do reviews, but this book is certainly worthy of some attention. A couple of years ago I signed up for and started attending a writing course at a local college. What I had hoped to get was some specific instruction on structure, pacing, characterisation and the like. But while the course was pleasant enough, I couldn’t see any of what I really needed and dropped out.
I feel that I should have read this book three years ago. It explains exactly what I, and possibly most other wannabe writers should know and do.
There is a detailed breakdown into fifteen milestones, (she calls them ‘Beats’, I think in reference to the beat in music), each is explained, with reference to well-known books and one is further sub-divided into five mini-beats.
She also lists ten genres which are not the traditional type of genre such as mystery, romance, sci-fi, etc. but which are much more wide-ranging and which make a lot of sense, such as Whydunit, Rites of Passage, Dude with a Problem, etc. Three points are required in each of these genres and each genre is then explored with a specific novel that is exploded using the beats. A ‘Beat-Sheet’ is given so that you can see how other authors, from JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner, have created their masterpieces and match her template.
Jessica Brody, the author, writes in terms that I can understand, with multiple relevant examples, and walks the reader through the whole process of planning and creating a novel.