Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lynn Viehl's The-Novel-Notebook

At this year’s Missouri Writers’ Guild Conference, I attended a breakout session by Shawntelle Madison, author of Coveted, one in a series of urban fantasy/paranormal romance books from Ballantine Books featuring a New Jersey werewolf with hilarious hoarding tendencies. Her session focused on creating a synopsis that can help sell a story to an agent or publisher. I’ll write more on that later, but for today, I want to focus on an online source she mentioned called The-Novel-Notebook, by Lynn Viehl (you can Google it). This terrific aid can assist anyone who writes fiction.  

I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I use outlines of all sorts and sizes. The-Novel-Notebook is like an extensive outlining tool that helps writers plan their stories, visualize settings and bring characters to life. The 48-page Novel-Notebook features a series of worksheets for anyone who wants to keep track of everything that happens in his or her book or story. I’ve always found that answering specific questions and filling out worksheets is easier than trying to keep everything in my head.
Some of the topics included in The-Novel-Notebook include writing about the premise of the novel, and asks writers to describe the story in a short paragraph, and challenges them to reduce that to 25 words, then 15, then 10 (think elevator pitch).

Another section covers setting, which includes space to write about climate/season, population, government and landmarks. Individual character worksheets keep track of names, physical descriptions, birthdates, families and personality traits. Time-period sheets prompt the writer to include specific details about culture, entertainment, transportation and clothing pertinent to the era.
Following the pdf sheets available for downloading, Viehl shows us how she used them in her own work, which gives writers insight into how she created the worlds featured in her books. Thanks, Lynn Viehl, for sharing this valuable tool with other writers, and thanks, Shawntelle Madison, for telling us about it!

Write soon,                 

1 comment:

  1. Mary--I love your version of "Sincerely." It serves as a gentle reminder for us.

    I won't say I'm going to check it out right away, since I'm not a novel writer, but perhaps if I do NaNoWriMo again, I will.

    As always, Mary, thanks for being so generous with information and good advice.