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The Novel Project: A Step-by-Step Guide to Your Novel, Memoir or Biography

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‘Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ Variously attributed to Thomas Wolfe, Paul Gallico and Ernest Hemingway, the quote portrays writing as mysterious, romantic and, implicitly, unteachable. This book is about another approach, based on established theories of creativity and design—and on the exp ‘Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ Variously attributed to Thomas Wolfe, Paul Gallico and Ernest Hemingway, the quote portrays writing as mysterious, romantic and, implicitly, unteachable. This book is about another approach, based on established theories of creativity and design—and on the experience of authors who have adopted a more structured and reliable process. It’s aimed at those who want to write a book for publication, or at least one that others will want to read. It could have been called What They Don’t Teach You in Writing School, because its focus is on the writing process as a whole: it treats writing a book as a step-by-step project. Easy to follow, practical and highly entertaining, The Novel Project is the inside scoop from an author who started his writing career at fifty and whose novels have sold millions of copies around the world. It will help you craft the best book you’re capable of—no blood on forehead required.


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‘Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ Variously attributed to Thomas Wolfe, Paul Gallico and Ernest Hemingway, the quote portrays writing as mysterious, romantic and, implicitly, unteachable. This book is about another approach, based on established theories of creativity and design—and on the exp ‘Writing is easy: all you do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.’ Variously attributed to Thomas Wolfe, Paul Gallico and Ernest Hemingway, the quote portrays writing as mysterious, romantic and, implicitly, unteachable. This book is about another approach, based on established theories of creativity and design—and on the experience of authors who have adopted a more structured and reliable process. It’s aimed at those who want to write a book for publication, or at least one that others will want to read. It could have been called What They Don’t Teach You in Writing School, because its focus is on the writing process as a whole: it treats writing a book as a step-by-step project. Easy to follow, practical and highly entertaining, The Novel Project is the inside scoop from an author who started his writing career at fifty and whose novels have sold millions of copies around the world. It will help you craft the best book you’re capable of—no blood on forehead required.

42 review for The Novel Project: A Step-by-Step Guide to Your Novel, Memoir or Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Graeme Simsion

    I'm the author (and of course I'm giving it five stars - I wouldn't have let them publish it if I hadn't been happy with it), chiming in with what I hope will be helpful background if you're wondering whether this book is for you. I wrote The Novel Project because so many people - established authors, aspiring authors, wannabe authors--have asked me how I go about my work, and if there's any advice I'd give. That used to happen in my previous profession as a data modelling specialist, and in that I'm the author (and of course I'm giving it five stars - I wouldn't have let them publish it if I hadn't been happy with it), chiming in with what I hope will be helpful background if you're wondering whether this book is for you. I wrote The Novel Project because so many people - established authors, aspiring authors, wannabe authors--have asked me how I go about my work, and if there's any advice I'd give. That used to happen in my previous profession as a data modelling specialist, and in that case I wrote a book to save repeating the same stuff, and to ensure that 'same stuff' was as complete and consistent as I could make it. I'm a process guy: I'm conscious of how I work; I keep diaries / logs of my work; I reflect on what works and what doesn't and update my process accordingly. This book describes that process in a way that I hope is not too prescriptive: I encourage you to tailor it to your own needs. But it's about process with tips for each stage, not about writing beautiful sentences - go elsewhere for that. If you don't believe in having a process, if you're a hard-line 'pantser' (writing by the seat of your pants) then this book is probably not for you (unless you're open to conversion). There are preliminary chapters about structure, the writing life and creativity - which is something I've studied formally, so not just 'do what I do.' If you've got a friend who's trying to write, this wouldn't be a bad book to point them to - especially if they're stuck. Hope that helps. And good luck with your writing. Graeme

  2. 5 out of 5

    Text Publishing

    The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of The Novel Project: 'In this hands-on, practical guide to crafting a novel, Simsion takes the reader methodically through each stage of production from developing a concept and finding a structure to brainstorming the story and refining each draft.’ Age/SMH ‘[Simsion’s] tone is encouraging, and he shares fragments from early stages of his own development process, which demonstrate how much these ideas can grow and change The following book reviews have been shared by Text Publishing – publisher of The Novel Project: 'In this hands-on, practical guide to crafting a novel, Simsion takes the reader methodically through each stage of production from developing a concept and finding a structure to brainstorming the story and refining each draft.’ Age/SMH ‘[Simsion’s] tone is encouraging, and he shares fragments from early stages of his own development process, which demonstrate how much these ideas can grow and change over time for any writer…This book would best serve those who might already feel comfortable with the creative elements of writing—generating ideas, crafting sentences—but who are looking for direction on structure, or on time management when approaching a longer project. Possibly the neatest thing The Novel Project achieves, by the end, is making writing a novel seem—if not easy, or fast—achievable.’ Kill Your Darlings ‘If you’re one of the many people wondering if they have a novel in them, but feeling overwhelmed by the process, then Graeme Simsion has written the book for you. The author of the internationally bestselling Rosie trilogy will lead you step-by-step through it...[The Novel Project] is uplifting and encouraging.’ ArtsHub ‘Eminently absorbing, encouraging and inspiring for the novice…Simsion is sometimes disarmingly candid about discovering what worked and didn’t work for him…[He] says the writer must move from seeing creativity as unpredictable magic to seeing it as an aspect of thinking that can be managed, if not always summoned at will, and he has practical suggestions for summoning it.’ Jane Sullivan, Age 'Simsion takes pains to ensure that the reader is on the path to success, explaining the theory behind some of the more popular structures of writing...Overall, this is a helpful, clear and effective guide to the writing process.’ NZ Booklovers

  3. 4 out of 5

    Tania Chandler

    Not just another ‘how to write’ book. 'The Novel Project' offers new ideas and unique insight into story creation, which will appeal to both plotters and plot-curious pantsers (those who write 'by the seat of their pants'). As a teacher of creative writing, I’m always looking for great books on craft to share with my students — 'The Novel Project' is now at the top of my recommendations. Not just another ‘how to write’ book. 'The Novel Project' offers new ideas and unique insight into story creation, which will appeal to both plotters and plot-curious pantsers (those who write 'by the seat of their pants'). As a teacher of creative writing, I’m always looking for great books on craft to share with my students — 'The Novel Project' is now at the top of my recommendations.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    One of the most helpful 'how to' write a novel books I've read. ONE warning though is that if you haven't read all The Rosie books and don't want to be spoilt for any of Graeme's novels, I would avoid reading this until you do. While it's helpful to read so many real life examples of how Graeme writes his novels, he mainly uses the third book in the Rosie trilogy as the key example. I would have been annoyed if I'd picked this up and not realised it would be full of spoilers for his fiction work One of the most helpful 'how to' write a novel books I've read. ONE warning though is that if you haven't read all The Rosie books and don't want to be spoilt for any of Graeme's novels, I would avoid reading this until you do. While it's helpful to read so many real life examples of how Graeme writes his novels, he mainly uses the third book in the Rosie trilogy as the key example. I would have been annoyed if I'd picked this up and not realised it would be full of spoilers for his fiction works. I loved reading Graeme's diary entries while he was writing The Rosie Result. Although my favourite book in the Rosie trilogy, it's comforting to read how there were several times when he wasn't happy with his manuscript, but he kept pushing through the whole process and ended up writing one of his most successful books.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kanako Okiron

    Handy guide for the new or experienced writer, nothing more, nothing less. Can’t say that I’ve read The Rosie Project so therefore it was a little difficult to navigate through the chapters about the book, although I understand if it was providing as an example for writing. I daresay it is quite offensive for Graeme Simsion to mention about him having an editor who “doesn’t read synopses”?! Name drop her, please and thank you if you are going to include that piece of pride in!!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mupsqual

  7. 5 out of 5

    William Thygeson

  8. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Elizabeth

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  10. 5 out of 5

    Chris Reed

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deb Gunnarsson

  12. 4 out of 5

    Pedro

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mike O'Reilly

  14. 4 out of 5

    Gabriella Pasztor

  15. 5 out of 5

    Leah

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gabriela

  17. 4 out of 5

    Rouleauville

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stella

  19. 4 out of 5

    K

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  22. 5 out of 5

    Megan Royals

  23. 4 out of 5

    Neel Joshi

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nensi

  25. 4 out of 5

    Lois Klassen

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tamara Hajdu

  27. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve

  28. 5 out of 5

    Hallie Sawyer

  29. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jen Williams bannister

  31. 5 out of 5

    Shannon

  32. 5 out of 5

    Meg Dunley

  33. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  34. 4 out of 5

    Summer Wick-Featonby (summerkathleenreads)

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey Mahoney

  36. 5 out of 5

    Gracie T.S.

  37. 4 out of 5

    Rosie

  38. 5 out of 5

    Ashleigh

  39. 5 out of 5

    Jo Calliss

  40. 5 out of 5

    Darvey

  41. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

  42. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Green

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