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Writing Your First Novel: A 60-Minute Masterclass (60-Minute Masterclasses Book 1) by [Weiner, Shelley]
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Writing Your First Novel: A 60-Minute Masterclass (60-Minute Masterclasses Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, 7 Jun 2014
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Length: 62 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2549 KB
  • Print Length: 62 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: The Guardian (7 Jun. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00KUPUOII
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #256,893 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Writing Your First Novel – a 60-minute masterclass by Shelley Weiner bills itself as the first book in the series, but I’m sure I’ve read and reviewed earlier ones, including one I thought was, in fact, the first in the series. But perhaps that was just my own incorrect assumption.

The book took me around 55 minutes to read from start to finish and, I believe, that this is the correct way to read it, doing the exercises at the end of most chapters as you go along.

These exercises are good in that they start with character, work through dialogue, setting, plot, viewpoint, tense and research, and culminate with the bones of a full novel that the reader can work on. The exercises are practical and they aren’t there for exercise sake, which I love.

Like her other book I read, she uses a lot of literary authors as examples, and I couldn’t help but think I should be so good each time she did. But there’s no saying that someone else’s book won’t be the next great literary novel, so perhaps it’s a nice ambition to strive for. It just doesn’t work for me.

The contents, with exercises, are as follows:

Introduction
Creating Believable Characters
- Exercise 1
Making Your Characters Talk
- Exercise 2
The Importance of Setting
- Exercise 3
- Exercise 4
Finding the Plot: Character, Place, Causality and Time
- Exercise 5
Who Tells the Story and How?
- Exercise 6
Now Settle Down and Make it Happen
Sustaining Your Momentum

There is the usual “the king died and then the queen died” story, but with an added twist that I haven’t seen in a lot of writers’ guides, and then there are notes and guidance on pretty much everything else you might need to know before settling down to write a novel. It’s another useful book to get you started, but I wish there were more modern examples used than the likes of Hardy and Hemmingway.
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At last, a book that says it all, and in a non-patronising, succinct way. This guide is logically set out and contains very pertinent exercises. Perfect for the beginner, but also an invaluable recap for the more experienced writer who might want to revisit the essentials of good writing.
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If you want to write a novel but don't know where to start, this book is great. It introduces the key elements you need to get sorted out: Character, Setting, Plot and Viewpoint. Each is explored, with examples from authors such as Henry James, Ernest Hemingway and JRR Tolkien. I found the exercises quite thought-provoking and the book made me consider the story I wanted to tell and how to tell it. Shelley Weiner is an accomplished novelist and creative writing teacher and it shows.
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