Lately I’ve been reading so much, and spending so much time working on my own novel, that my mind is everywhere… Reality has been pushed aside by the fictional world and my imagination has been running rampant. Add that to my every night dream-fest, and I’m waking up each morning wondering where I am and am in a state of disbelief that I have to do such mundain things as pay bills, go to the grocery store and do laundry. I’m not complaining a bit. For a writer, it’s amazing to be able to be completely immersed in that world of imagination and creativity.
Reading is inspiring when you’re writing. Some books are so bad that you can’t help but think “Mine is way better than that. I’m definitely going to get published!”. Others are so good that they push you to work harder and do better. Then there’s How To Write A Novel by Melanie Sumner. I received a copy for free through NetGalley in exchange for a review and am more than happy to do so… First, the usual description so that you know what the novel is about:
Aristotle “Aris” Thibodeau is 12.5 years old and destined for greatness. Ever since her father’s death, however, she’s been stuck in the small town of Kanuga, Georgia, where she has to manage her mother Diane’s floundering love life and dubious commitment to her job as an English professor. Not to mention co-parenting a little brother who hogs all the therapy money.
Luckily, Aris has a plan. Following the advice laid out in Write a Novel in Thirty Days! she sets out to pen a bestseller using her charmingly dysfunctional family as material. If the Mom-character, Diane, would ditch online dating and accept that the perfect man is clearly the handyman/nanny-character, Penn MacGuffin, Aris would have the essential romance for her plot (and a father in her real life). But when a random accident uncovers a dark part of Thibodeau family history, Aris is forced to confront the fact that sometimes in life—as in great literature—things might not work out exactly as planned.
Written from the perspective of a girl who’s 12.5 years old, and who is continually keeping up with the plan of writing a novel in 30 days, it’s a kick in the tookis, motivating me to work harder, faster.
Okay, so I know that it wasn’t actually written by a kid. And I’m sure it took much longer to finish than a month. But it’s still motivating.
This novel is all about characters. About the way they think and react to what life throws at them. It’s grounded in reality, what’s normal, what’s possible and what we do in response to life’s setbacks and challenges. And in that way, it’s universal. And it’s extremely well written – enough so that I flew through it in just a few days, even with real life intruding. It’s a fun read, but more than just mindless entertainment. It makes you think, and makes you feel for the characters, especially the 12.5 year-old narrator.
Now that I’ve finished it, I need to look to see what else this author has written. After all, we’ve got to support the talented writers out there!
But, first I think I’ll write a few hundred more words on my novel. I can’t let myself fall too far behind a non-existent fictional kid, right?
So…back to work!