by Sue Viders
Pick a Number – Start a Story is both a DIY workbook for aspiring writers and a reference book for any writer who might need a couple of suggestions and ideas for their novel.
For a long time I had wanted to write a workbook to help my students with the basics of creating some sort of a beginning outline for their novels. I finally settled on developing the nine components or elements that are needed in a story because so many beginning writers tend to only concentrate on character, plot, and setting.
As I worked to develop these nine elements, I watched thousands of movies trying to find different films to illustrate these missing components, such as a great ending, or a satisfying theme, or even an arresting conflict.
A funny thing happened when I finally finished this new workbook for writers. I realized that not only had I created a novel workbook for these beginning writers that would help them put together a great story, but I had also created a second book — which is a unique resource for all writers.
• Book one: a DIY workbook for anyone who wanted to start a novel
• Book two: a reference book for writers who had hit a writer’s block and needed a few new ideas to get their story going again.
My plan for book one was to use movies as examples to show how writers could use the various film ideas and scenarios as concepts for their own stories. I wanted to make it an easy to use workbook that anyone could follow, and I even included simple outline sheets at the end. My students loved the book!
Book two: However, I didn’t anticipate how some of my more advance students would also use the book. One writer told me how she loved the book with all its various references. References? I didn’t understand. She told me that she when she was almost finished with her novel, she wasn’t sure of how she wanted it to end. So she picked up my book and went to the ninth section on endings, where I had listed sixteen different types of endings, each with four movie examples.
It was an eye-opener for her, and she quickly realized which ending would work best for her story. So, suddenly this DIY workbook became a reference book for any would-be novelist. Not sure how much setting you need to use? Just flip to the Setting section where there are sixteen different ideas each with its four movies illustrating how that movie used the setting.
I would love to hear from any writer who has used the book and ask that you share with me how you find it helpful. Please, take a minute and send me a short note at sueviders@comcast[dot]net or visit writethatnovel.net.
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