Posts Tagged ‘joseph bates’

As someone who’s been writing stories, poems, and even books since I learned how to read and write, and as someone who one day would like to be a published novelist, I found The Nighttime Novelist by Joseph Bates to be a very useful resource.  When I saw that the book is subtitled “Finish Your Novel in Your Spare Time,” I thought it would come in handy.  (I finished what one might call my first book when I was in junior high, and while I probably still have a copy somewhere, I still cringe when I think about it.  Contrary to what I might have said at the time, it wasn’t really a novel, as it was only about 50 pages long.  Worst of all, it was so cheesy!)

I’ve been working on a novel for several years now, mostly planning out the plot and subplots and developing the characters, and recently I started seriously writing it.  However, with a full-time job, a 3.5-hour round-trip commute, and a 10-year-old daughter, I often don’t get a chance to sit down and write until I really should be getting my beauty sleep for work the next day.

Enter Bates to the rescue with The Nighttime Novelist, which offers mini-lessons that take only a few minutes to complete but have a huge impact on your work.  While I read the book, I highlighted things I thought pertained to my novel-in-progress and took notes throughout.  Although much of the advice I’ve heard before — either in college-level creative writing courses or the many issues of Writer’s Digest I’ve collected over the years — it’s nice to have it all in a single book.  And Bates puts a new spin on these old tips with mini-lessons for writers pressed for time.

The Nighttime Novelist is divided into three parts.  Part 1 is devoted to Beginnings and covers such things as developing ideas and characters, plot planning, fleshing out subplots, choosing a point of view, and writing an attention-grabbing opening scene.  Part 2 focuses on Middles and tackles the use of dialogue to increase tension, the use of backstory to create well-developed characters, and plot pacing, among other things.  Part 3 is all about Endings, of course, and touches upon such things as the completion of the character arc, filling in plot holes, and revising the manuscript.

Bates includes “coffee breaks” after each part, which feature questions to answer about your own book that help you apply what you learned in the previous chapters.  At the end of the book, there are 27 worksheets devoted to everything from character descriptions and tracking subplots to writing the closing scene.

My only complaint about The Nighttime Novelist is that it’s spiral bound like a notebook.  While I like the way it looks, a couple of pages at the beginning ripped even though I turned them as delicately as I could.  But that’s only a minor complaint because the book is filled with useful information.  The Nighttime Novelist has become my writing companion, and I probably will refer to it often as I complete my novel.  Wish me luck!

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Nighttime Novelist from FSB Associates for review purposes. I am an Amazon associate.

© 2010 Anna Horner of Diary of an Eccentric. All Rights Reserved. Please do not reproduce or republish content without permission.

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