Friday , April 19 2024
“In good writing, nothing’s easy.”

Book Review: The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing: The 16-Step Blueprint by Evan Marshall

Evan Marshall is well-known for his 2001 16-step plan to help writers finish a novel. This 2010 ebook version of The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing: The 16-Step Blueprint to Take You From Idea to Completed Manuscript in 30 Days or Less  will jump-start your stalled writing projects, if you have a little confidence and motivation.

The plan begins with step-by-step help to get you off to a good start, crafting your plot and polishing your manuscript. “Plotting” covers a thorough explanation of the road map you need before writing your story. Fiction is tricky though, and Marshall spends much of the book helping you work through dialog, action, and background before completing a good first draft.

To keep you on track Marshall Plan includes templates to ensure you plan your entire story, and follow the outline to completion. You may wish to use the companion software of the same name, with templates and charts, available at

Marshall Plan uses a formula to keep you on task, and measure your progress with a number of lines, pages, and words counted as you move along. Writing a novel is a huge undertaking, and this book is a huge help for novelists to avoid false starts along the way.

Housekeeping matters include a well-equipped desk and a writing schedule that works for you. Without blocking out specific hours or days, it’s not likely the final writing work will get done. Marshall emphasizes your need to “show up,” and work through your plot and section sheets to keep the manuscript moving along.

Since writing is such a solitary occupation, your motivation will get a boost if you take his advice to track your goals and celebrate your milestones along the way. And he gives it to you straight: “In good writing, nothing’s easy.” Once you accept that fact, you can begin to decide what kind of book you should write and forge ahead. Write what you love to read.

Marshall Plan is filled with revision and editing tips that could only come from a seasoned literary agent trained to spot both good and bad novels. He asks you to consider: Do characters’ reactions to one another make sense? Are their goals clear? Does time track correctly in your story?

Marshall also knows the reality of business. It takes equal effort in marketing, as well as in writing, to ensure a book’s success. Marketing starts with a stellar book proposal from the “hook” to “staying invisible” in a synopsis. This section will also prepare you to get in front of the best agent to represent your work.

Marshall’s is a formula you can use again and again as a seasoned novelist or a beginner. Follow The Marshall Plan to success.

About Helen Gallagher

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