Book Reviews

Book Review: Nail Your Novel series by @Roz_Morris #bookreview #writetip

Writers regularly talk about their favourite writing books. I thought I’d share reviews on mine from one author.

Troubleshooting your fictional characters? Inventing a new person for your novel? This on-the-go checklist will help you hit the ground running. More than 100 master tips from an expert editor, fiction ghostwriter and writing coach whose sales exceed 4 million copies.
‘Nail Your Novel is like a personal session with a writing mentor.’

What makes a reader fall in love with your book? Whether you write a story-based genre or literary fiction, it’s the characters. So how do you create fictional people who’ll keep readers hooked? How do you make them plausible, chilling, imperfect, lovable, intriguing, tormented or misunderstood? What if their lives are totally unlike your own? How do you write the opposite sex, historical characters, enigmatic characters who give little away? Villains?

This book is a super-zipped digest of tips for creating irresistible characters, extracted from the tutorials in Writing Characters to Keep Readers Captivated (Nail Your Novel 2). Use them as a handy checklist to create and deepen your fictional people, a guide for self-editing, or a prompt for discussion in your writing group.

See it on Goodreads.

My Review

A great gem to quickly look if your characters are fascinating enough – and how to fix the problem.

I’ll keep this on-hand for when I’m editing, especially when I look at my characters.

This book is perfect if you just want to quickly brush up on your character skills without having to do exercises and whatnot – if you want more, check out the other Nail Your Novel books.

What keeps a reader curious? It’s the story. You might have a dazzling prose voice and plausible characters, but if they don’t do anything, the reader is likely to lose interest.

So where do you find story ideas? How do you make them into a captivating read?

Do you know what genre you are best suited to write? What is literary fiction and how do you write that? How will you give your book depth without seeming preachy or bringing the plot to a standstill?

What are the hidden patterns that ply the reader’s emotions, regardless of your genre or style? How can you use them with originality? If you want to write a story that breaks the usual conventions, how do you do it?

Whatever type of novel you want to write, this book will show you, in down-to-earth tutorials, games and exercises.

Use it before you write and when revising, to diagnose your story’s strengths and weaknesses, to decide how to begin, what to put in the middle, how it should end. If you’ve had feedback from critique partners and editors, use it to decode what’s really wrong – instead of what they think might be.

Most of all, use it to find out where you already have spellbinding plot material. Discover where your best ideas are hiding and how to tell stories with drama, depth and heart.

See it on Goodreads.

My Review

“This is what I must do to kidnap the reader from real life and keep them with me.” – p138

This line really captures what this book is trying to teach you.

Explanations of what “show not tell” really is about (emphasis on story) and when to use both has really cleared up that muddle for me. I can now discern the difference in my prose and use it to great effect.

Roz explains how to make your readers feel, how to make them stay for the whole story, and how to leave them hungry for more.

I can go on and on about how marvellous this book is – but why don’t you just do yourself a favour and get your own copy? I definitely recommend this to all authors at all stages of the writing journey. I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the “Nail Your Novel” series.

This book is used by award-winning authors and university creative writing departments.

Are you writing a novel? Do you want to make sure you finish? Will you get lost and fizzle out? Will you spend more time reading about how to write than actually getting the words down?

Most books on novel-writing will make you read hundreds of pages about character arcs, inciting incidents, heroes’ journeys. It’s great to know that – but while you’re reading about it you’re not writing your book.

And what these books don’t tell you is how to use this learning and get the job done.

Nail Your Novel is a writing buddy – and mentor – in a book.

In 10 easy steps it will tell you:
*how to shape your big idea and make a novel out of it
*how to do your research and how to use it
*how to organise your time
*how to plot and build characters
*when you’re going to hit problems and what to do about them
*how to write on the days you don’t feel inspired
*how to reread what you’ve written and polish it.

Along the way, Thumbnail Notes give tutorials about storytelling and storycraft – strictly when you need them. The author has written nearly a dozen novels that have made it into print – and this is how she did it.

You don’t even need to read the whole book before you get started. You read a section, then do as it says. And, once you’re finally satisfied, Nail Your Novel will tell you how to sell it to publishers and agents.

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

This is an excellent guide to get you from forming ideas to the final version of your story – and beyond.

The author has managed to convey different approaches to planning and plotting without saying “this is the only way”, which helped me to refine my own approach to planning and plotting stories.

“Writers write well when they feel confident and comfortable. But it also helps to know you can finish, and that when you encounter problems you can sort them out.” Love that.

An essential writing guide that I wish I had stumbled upon sooner.

How do you create characters who keep readers hooked? How do you write the opposite sex? Teenagers? Believable relationships? Historical characters? Enigmatic characters? Plausible antagonists and chilling villains? How do you understand a character whose life is totally unlike your own? How do you write characters for dystopias? How do you make dialogue sing? When can you let the reader intuit what the characters are feeling and when should you spell it out?

Roz Morris is a bestselling ghostwriter and book doctor, and a literary author in her own right. Her fiction for high-profile authors has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide. She has mined 20 years’ worth of writing, editing and critiquing experience to create this book. It contains all the pitfalls and sticky points for writers, laid out as a set of discussions that are easy to dip into. And it wouldn’t be a Nail Your Novel book without a good dose of games, exercises and questionnaires to help you populate a novel from scratch.

Whether you write a straightforward story-based genre or literary fiction, this book will show you how to create people who enthrall readers – and make you want to tell stories. 

Check it out on Goodreads.

My Review

Where has this book been my entire career? It’s that good.

Everything you need to know about creating memorable characters who don’t act like this lovely being surrounded by idiots (unless that’s what you’re going for). There are do’s and don’ts, exercises and tips on being a better writer.

An excellent resource that should be in every writer’s library.

Do you have favourite writing books? What do you think of this series? Have you read these books?

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