The full title of this book is The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing: The 16-Step Blueprint to Take You from Idea to Completed Manuscript in 30 Days or Less. This book is so much more than a blueprint on how to write a novel. The section on how to polish your manuscript has a list of errors and how to correct them. Following that you are told how to market your novel.
According to the title, you should be able to go from idea to completed manuscript in 30 days or less. I should clarify this is an actual 30 days of working on your book. You may not have time to write each and every day. Things like jobs, housework, and taking care of your family, although necessary and enjoyable (most of the time), get in the way of writing. If you follow the blueprint given in the book, the 30 days you work on your idea and manuscript will be structured. You will get more writing done than if you attempt to write without any planning.
Evan Marshall, the author, has worked in the business of writing and publishing for several years. He is a published author, as well as a former book editor. For the past 27 years, he has been a literary agent specializing in fiction.
This book compares to a complete course in writing fiction. I have taken several different writing courses Ė the Comprehensive Writing Course through the Writerís Bureau, the How to Write Sideways Course by Holly Lisle, and the Writing for Children Course through Long Ridge Writing Institute. This book, especially when you take into consideration the cost, is a much better value. It covers just as much as these more expensive writing courses.
Creating a novel is work. Some authors claim to write better without any planning. Many times they end up with manuscripts needing help. The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing can be used to repair ailing manuscripts that have been written without any planning.
I decided the best way to review this book would be to actually test it out as I read it. I neglected to take into account my busy life. Taking the time to plan out a novel kept me from reading through this book as fast as I would have been able to do if I had been just reading and preparing a review. I realized it would take me far too long to write a book at the same time. At least I have a complete plan for a novel written out thanks to The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing.
First, you are taught how to take your idea and transform it into a story by dividing it into sections, units of action and reaction. Section sheets (you are provided with a link to them) are used to plan your sections out. You will use these as you come up with subplots and learn how to weave them throughout your main story line. You are also taught about plot twists and how to plot your novel so that its final sections have maximums impact on your readers.
This book tells how to determine the number of viewpoint characters your book will need. The art of viewpoint writing is discussed in length in the last half of the book. Blueprints are laid out for books have 2 or more viewpoint characters. This part confused me only because the novel I had planned out needed only one viewpoint character.
The fact that the book only discussed how to write books with 2 or more viewpoint characters and left out how to write them with only one viewpoint is my one complaint. Mr. Marshall did not hesitate to fill me in on how to do that, though.
I went to Evan Marshallís forum (http://marshallplan.proboards.com/) for this book and asked him what to do if you wanted to write the entire book with only one viewpoint character. He told me that the Marshall Plan can be used to write your book with only one viewpoint character. You need to set up your sections as though youíre writing the book with several third-person viewpoints, just make sure your lead appears in every section. When you are done, change every section so that it is written completely from your leadís viewpoint.
My recommendation would be to read completely through this book, then start work on your novel. Underline or highlight any important points you wish to refer back to while you are planning or writing your novel.
Once you are done writing your novel, the guidelines and mechanics of writing a synopsis are given. Mr. Marshall tells the benefits of having an agent and tells how to acquire one even if you have never published before. In case you decide you donít want or need an agent, an example of a query letter is given.
The PDF version of The Marshall Plan for Writing Novels was sent to me free of charge by the author. This book can be purchased from Amazon.com. I have provided a link below for your convenience.