Mr. Evan Marshall answered some questions about his book for me. Below, I share his answers with you.
1. There are many books on how to write novels. There are books that tell how to write novels in 30 days, books that do everything but guarantee if you write your novel the way told in the book, it will sell. How do you feel your book is different from these other how-to books?
Evan Marshall: The Marshall Plan® system was created to cut through the vague, hard-to-implement advice and tell writers how to conceive, plot and write successful novels. Our system offers a structured approach to novel writing within the dictates of existing genres. What differentiates it is that it tells you exactly what to put where in your story, depending upon your novel's target word length and decisions you make about your story. Other books don’t tell exactly what to do.
2. Did you write this book for seasoned authors or for those just beginning their writing career?
Evan Marshall: The book is intended for any writer who wants help with story ideas, plotting and writing, and who might be looking for an easier way to create a novel. We also often hear from experienced writers who use the system to solve problems in their stories.
3. What about authors who claim they write better without planning? How can they use your book?
Evan Marshall: For authors who don’t like to write outlines, we offer plenty of advice on how to write scenes, handle different viewpoints, create fast-paced dialogue, and master what we call the five fiction writing modes. There is also advice on marketing your novel and conducting a successful writing career.
4. In your book, you lay out a plan for how to write a novel. Are there any who feel that you have turned writing a novel into something mechanical, into something that takes away the spontaneity of writing? How do you feel about this?
Evan Marshall: I wrote the book knowing that many people would pooh-pooh it. People who criticize it are usually not familiar with it, because it provides a story framework but leaves plenty of room for creativity. It's simply not possible to write a novel using a formula. The best way to create a publishable novel is a nuts-and-bolts, no-nonsense approach.
5. How vital to the success of a novel are the action and reaction sheets? How hard would a good novel be to write without them?
Evan Marshall: Without action/reaction, there is no story. Good plotting consists of a main character striving to achieve a story goal. Action and reaction sections show how that character goes about attaining that goal in a logical way, with actions growing organically from what has come before. Take this structure away and all you have is words, not a real story.
6. Your plan for writing novels calls for each novel to be written from at least 2 viewpoints. What would you do if your novel only has one viewpoint character?
Evan Marshall: I get this question a lot. To have one viewpoint character, the writer should set up her sections as if she's writing the novel with multiple third-person viewpoints, except that (1) the lead is in every section; and (2) every section is written from the lead's viewpoint.
7. Do you feel that you have the qualifications and experience to teach others how to write? Why?
Evan Marshall: I worked as a book editor for five commercial publishing houses, I've been a literary agent specializing in fiction for 27 years, and I've written 10 successful novels of my own. Coming at novel writing from all of these angles is very helpful.
8. How many people has your book helped to be published for the very first time?
Evan Marshall: I don't have an exact number, but I have received many emails and letters from writers who used my plan to get their first novel published. Believe it or not, The Marshall Plan® system is big in Norway! A bestselling Norwegian thriller writer named Eirik Wekre (www.eirikwekre.no/) used my system to land a big contract for his first novel and mentioned The Marshall Plan® on a radio show. My book and software are still highly successful there. Below is a link to some comments by other writers who have used my system.
9. In my review I compared your book to an entire writing course. What encouraged you to include so much information in one book?
Evan Marshall: Authors are the ultimate multi-taskers. Not only do they have to create a well-written commercial manuscript, they have to get an agent, find a publisher, work with the publisher’s staff to publish the novel. Then they have to promote it. These are all areas I cover. I had read many books for novelists, and not one of them provided all of the information I felt writers should have--in one place.
Thank you, Mr. Marshall, for the interview. Below you will find the link to some comments by other writers who have used the Marshall system, as well as a link to buy the book from Amazon.