Review: "A Novel Idea" from Tyndale House

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Hey guys!  So recently, I mentioned that I was reading A Novel Idea.  It was so good that I decided to write a quick review of it for you guys. 
Honestly, for the price ($4.99 from Christian Books plus shipping, but you can find it for even less on Amazon or ThriftBooks) it provided a lot more than I expected it to.  It is not your typical "how-to" book that provides ho-hum advice you probably already knew.  It provides an absolute dearth of information for writers of Christian fiction, and offers multiple perspectives from published, best-selling Christian authors including Terri Blackstock and Karen Kingsbury.

You'll read about everything from plotting and understanding your audience to learning how to speedwrite through your first draft and then flesh it out.  You'll learn about writing perfectly flawed characters, realistic scenarios, point-of-view (and what it is, as well as why it's important) and how to engage the senses.  Then you'll read about becoming part of a writer's community and the benefits of different communities you can join; how to work with a publishing team and accept rejections, how to format and submit a manuscript, work with an agent, and basically everything you'd ever need to know about the traditional publishing world!  Finally, you'll read about marketing and blogging tips as well as a how-to for your first writer's conference.

If you ever purchase any book on writing Christian fiction, this is the book you'll want to read.  It covers an incredibly broad spectrum, but it still covers the topics very well and often offers different perspectives on each issue, as told by each author that wrote the specific section.  The content itself is interesting to read as well, not just for the tips but simply because the writers put life into the posts.  They included their own perspectives and stories to increase understanding.  They also included a "Resources" section  in the back of the book for similar books on writing Christian fiction, and even included a link for a good website to look up names for characters. 

All in all, I'm glad I purchased this book.  I'm a tad wary of "how-to" books because most of the time, they're dry as the Sahara and only include information that I'm already privy to, since I've been writing since I was a little kid and already know what paragraphs and commas are!  However, since it was written by several authors rather than just one, I think it helped a lot, both for confirming strategies I use as well as giving me ideas for new ones.  I highly, highly recommend it; if I could give it more than 5 stars on Goodreads, I would!

Have you read this book yet, or are you planning to?  Have you read a 'how-to' book that was particularly helpful to you (or particularly unhelpful)?