Writing a novel is not an easy job. Marjorie Reynolds tackles one by one all the major stumbling blocks that might come in the way of you and your first novel. What seems to be closest to her heart is how to create subtext, but she gives expert advice with plenty of practical examples on everything from the story concept to structuring a scene and from dialogue to echo technique. Besides providing an abundance of tips, she kept me hooked by her alternating bad and good examples of the themes in question.
Author: Marjorie Reynolds
Publisher: Windstorm Press, 2017, Portland, Oregon US
Original language: English
Whether you’re a total novice or a professional writer, I’m sure Reynolds’ book will give you food for thought and valuable advice on how to solve problems in your writing. The most interesting topics in her book are (at least to me) subtext, echo technique and beat. These are not that often dealt with in other writing handbooks.
Although I have to confess I was a bit surprised to read that as a writing teacher, she has students, who struggle to master it even after years of practicing. Perhaps this technique comes more naturally to those that have an innate predisposition to irony, sarcasm and cynicism?
Reynolds also shares her experience on getting through writer’s block. She gives 10 tips to overcome it, but my personal favourite is the last: “If all else fails, eat chocolate. Studies show it prevents memory decline and believe me, dementia is a lot worse than writer’s block”.
Take Your Novel to the Next Level offers valuable information for all fiction writers despite the style or genre. For the next edition, I would hope a bit more examples and input in the chapters 3 Deconstructing Story and Plot and 23 Do you need a subplot?