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Read This eBook BEFORE You Attempt NaNoWriMo

by Jennifer on October 29, 2009

By Jennifer Blanchard

So it’s three days before the start of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. You have a plot in mind. You have characters in mind. You have your schedule all set to go on Sunday.

But before you take the next three days to rest, you need to read this:

Yesterday, best-selling author, Larry Brooks, made his new eBook, “Story Structure—Demystified,” available days before he was originally planning to. He did this, specifically, because he fears that NaNoWriMo is going to have most writers turning out first drafts that ultimately end up being unusable.

Last night I printed Brooks’ entire eBook out (because I have a difficult time reading on the computer) and read it cover-to-cover within a few hours. And you don’t, technically, even have to read every word—it’s set up to be scan-able so you can quickly find the information you need. (Though I highly recommend you read every word, as Brooks makes some excellent points throughout his commentary.)

And now, the reason why I am writing about this eBook—and why I’m writing a fourth post in one week on my blog, when I usually only write three: YOU NEED THIS EBOOK IMMEDIATELY, IF NOT SOONER!

There are no ifs, ands or buts about this one. You need it.

You need it if you ever plan on being a published author, and you definitely need it in order to write a NaNoWriMo novel that’s actually useable. Many, many NaNoWriMo-ers have said that, while writing an entire book in 30 days is a fun challenge, their previous NaNo novels have amounted to nothing.

And if you’re going to spend that much time and effort writing something, you should want to make it the best it can possibly be.

Here’s why Story Structure—Demystified rocks my world:

  • Brooks explains—in detail—word-by-word, WHY your story needs structure.
  • Brooks gives—in detail—everything you need to know about the structure of a story.
  • Brooks fills in the gaps that 99 percent of creative writing classes and workshops leave—the actual structure of a story.
  • Brooks proves that all successful published books and movies follow this specific structure.
  • Brooks gifts you everything you need to know to structure your novel.

He goes through—one-by-one—the nine parts all stories need to have to be successful and sellable:

  • Part one—The Set-Up
  • Plot point one
  • Part two—The Response
  • Pinch point one
  • Mid-point
  • Part three—The Attack
  • Pinch point two
  • Plot point two
  • Part four—The Resolution

He not only discusses—in detail—each of these nine parts, what they’re all about and how they work together—but he also tells you exactly WHERE in your novel each of these parts needs to be.

Also, he takes you through character arc and the four “personas” the hero/main character of your story must play throughout the book:

  • Orphan
  • Wanderer
  • Warrior
  • Martyr

I’ve written a lot on this blog about doing what works for you, and I still fully support that whole-heartedly.

But I also know what it feels like to have a first draft written and then have it sit there for a year because you have no idea how to fix it or even what’s wrong with it. This is the current state of my first novel…or it was, until yesterday when Brooks’ book changed my entire world.

This book is the gap-filler. It’s the one thing that’s missing from your writing education (whether that be formal or informal). It’s the one thing that will finally bring together everything you’ve ever learned about writing.

I’ve read hundreds—probably thousands—of books about writing. And none of them have helped me as much as Brooks’ book did. None of them. Not a single one.

Because while all those books were good in different ways, none of them addressed the one thing that truly makes the difference between a publishable book and a book that will always get rejected: Story structure.

Reading Brooks’ book will be that difference for you.

So what are you waiting for?!

 If you want NaNoWriMo to give you a first draft that is merely a polish away from being ready for submission to a publisher, you need to spend the next three days reading through Brooks’ eBook and re-doing your NaNo plan.

From now until Sunday, Story Structure—Demystified is only $10. Which is an extremely generous price (and discount), considering the depth of knowledge and information held within its pages.  It will be $14.95 after this weekend.

This book will SAVE your NaNo novel from being just another unfinished writing project.

And please, if you do nothing else, at least read Brooks’ 11-part series on Story Structure. Your NaNo novel (or any novel you write, for that matter) won’t survive without it.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year and would like help staying motivated throughout the entire challenge, be sure to sign up for my 30 Days of NaNoWriMo Tips for Procrastinating Writers e-mail newsletter.

About the Author: Jennifer Blanchard is founder of Procrastinating Writers. Be sure to follow her on Twitter.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Monica October 30, 2009 at 10:29 am

Thanks, Jennifer. I’ve already read his Story Structure Series – and it was immensely helpful. But I had told myself that was enough. You convinced me to get the book too. Although I don’t need convincing that story structure is needed nor that it is commonly used, I need the guide to how to build it in my story. And I need it now – and later. Thanks!

2 Kerry October 30, 2009 at 11:45 am

Thanks for reminding me about the novel in a month. I bought the “No plot No problem” book some time ago. I will leap in and join you! Good luck everyone!

3 Sandra S Richardson November 1, 2009 at 11:23 pm

I bought the book as soon as I saw it offered and it is wonderful. My problem is that I don’t have all of that stuff in my head for my story yet. It’s hard to plug into place when it doesn’t exist yet.

I’m planning to write first and then have to go through it all when it’s done and see if it fits the structure then fix what doesn’t fit. I realize that is opposite of what Larry is encouraging us all to do, but it’s the best I can do with what I have.

4 jblan November 3, 2009 at 10:04 am

@Monica Yes, even though he gave away the story structure series for free on StoryFix, the book is still needed. He’s added a ton of new content, which ties the blog posts together seamlessly.

@Sandra S Richardson You have to do what works for you. If writing the first draft, then going back and editing it into a story structure format is what works for you, I say do it. 🙂

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