Enlist …and finish that book NOW soldier (and soldierette)!

The moment you realize you were born to tell stories and create fictional characters that will last a lifetime, is an exciting thing. Getting started is also very exciting and scary.

There is so much to learn about plot, structure, conflict and characters. And we mustn’t forget what seems to be (at least initially) the bane of every writer’s existence–the insanity of point of view (POV).

It’s enough to make you want to quit. However, if you’re like me, and most writers I know—there’s no way you will. If anything, you’ll be voracious in your attempts to learn everything you can about the craft and business of writing.

The first book I bought on writing was, “Novelist’s Boot Camp,” by Todd A. Stone. In this book, you’ll learn the basics on how to revise your first draft and look for inconsistencies. Todd also detailed a 9-step revision process that makes revising a little easier to stomach.

I attended one of Todd’s Novelist’s Boot Camp mini workshops, at a conference some years ago, and he was wild (in a good way)! He taught the session dressed in a red plaid kilt, with Army fatigue socks and boots.

In a brief, but intense 50-minute workshop, he gave the group of 20 or so writers, from all levels, an overview of plot, structure, and revision as well as exercises on how to “enlist your cast,” and stay motivated to write. I’ll never forget him belting out drills, “Attention, Fall In and At Ease, writers!”

I bought his book and started working on my novel using his techniques. One of 9-steps for revising was how to triage your first draft and break it into sections, “Keep, Save and improve,” and “Eliminate.” (Forgive me, I may be paraphrasing here. It’s been awhile since I triaged my novel.)

However, this step was invaluable to me during the first revision and four months later, I finished my manuscript. Wow …not bad, you might think. Don’t congratulate me just yet! It took me another two years to revise it.

Why? Because each time I learned something new about character development, structure etc., or attended another writing workshop, I revised it! It was an arduous (but rewarding) learning process and five revisions later, I had a final manuscript that I was willing to claim.

If you’re starting your novel and/or need a good revision process, I recommend Todd A. Stone’s book, “Novelist’s Boot Camp.”

Although, I must admit that buying craft and how-to books is highly addictive. (I have more than one hundred on that subject alone.) However, you’ll want to learn all you can about writing, and IMHO that in itself makes the addiction acceptable.

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