Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vacation Learning Curve

The vacation has been great! Still on vacation, but thought I'd take some time to write a little about what I'm reading. I found out about two books that are really good for those writing novels. They are really geared for the screenwriter, but are excellent for authors of novels, as well. So I go one from the library and bought the other. I also found a third book at the library that I really have found to be useful. I thought I'd write a little about all three of them. In no particular order, other than how I just plucked them off the table.

The first book is "Save the Cat! Goes To The Movies" by Blake Snyder. His theory is that a movie is made up by fifteen "beats." He gives a definition of each of the fifteen beats and then gives examples. He gives several example of movies already out in each of the nine different genres. I went through and found the genre and a movie within that genre that I could most relate my story to (really I'm not sure what genre mine would be focused mostly in) a I created my own beat sheet using his formula. It actually took me several days to complete this task. I had to totally rethink my approach to a novel that was pretty much finished. I realized that there are several things I could do to change this novel to make it much better. I also realized that if I want to make it a young adult novel I really should have my character still in high school, like I had originally intended. Somewhere along the way my character aged and I never was truly happy with her being older. I'm glad I decided to make her younger again. This beat sheet workup really gave me a more focused approach to my novel. I knew once I read this book that I needed to rewrite my entire novel if I want to get published.

The second book I have been looking at is "Write Great Fiction: Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint" by Nancy Kress. I have been looking for this one at the bookstore, along with the first one, but have yet to find them. I think I'll have to order them both when I return home from vacation. I really have enjoyed this book as well. I have yet to finish it, but what I have read really has changed my approach to my characters. They have all started to become more three dimensional as a result. I also think that they are coming more to life in my mind than they had previously. Before reading this book I only had a good handle on my protagonist and a couple others she interacts with. Now the whole cast of characters are becoming more tangible. Things I never thought about are presented in this book and have really helped me out. Things such as different characters might call the same person different names. I really need to finish reading this book before I complete my cast of characters.

The third book, and possibly best, is "Story" by Robert McKee. This book is also meant mainly for screenwriters, but it has to be one of the best I've seen in the way of helping focus writing a novel.I have been not only reading this book, but I have been studying it very closely. I have started keeping notes in a spiral and highlighting the book. I love this one! It goes way more in depth than the first book does, so naturally it will be the most helpful. I am addicted to it once I finish reading this book, which will be a while, I will need to look at my beat sheet and reevaluate it once again.

Hopefully, all three books taken into consideration, I will have a best seller on my hands. Hopefully! Fingers crossed! Not only have I started thinking more in depth on this book I have also started to think about the whole series. Yes, this book I am currently working on was meant to be part of a series. As a result of the books I am reading I have found that rather than having this a seven book series. We'll see; I'm still working on that angle.

Either way I have found that I need to restart my novel almost entirely. That's fine with me, so long as it's for the better.