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Book in a Month: The Fool-Proof System for Writing a Novel in 30 Days 42179th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 77 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 003-5313641053
ISBN-10: 1582974861
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Victoria Schmidt (www.charactersjourney.com and www.charactersjourney.blogspot.com) is the author of Story Structure Architect and 45 Master Characters. She is a graduate from the prestigious film program at UCLA, holds a master's degree in writing from Loyola Marymount University and is currently finishing her Ph.D. in traditional psychology. She is a member of the Golden Key National Honor Society, Women in Film LA, The National Writer's Union, and Romance Writers of America.
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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Writer's Digest Books; 42179th edition (2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1582974861
  • ISBN-13: 978-1582974866
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #150,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. Wishart on February 3, 2008
Format: Spiral-bound Verified Purchase
I've been waiting for this book to be published for the last couple of months. And I was so excited to finally get it in the mail yesterday.
The actual product is even better than what I expected. I have looked at Victoria Schmidts other books and Story Structure Architect was interesting but too complicated for me.
This book is a workbook. You write in it - but its not one of those complicated workbooks that make you write backline and huge character outlines and then piece them all together later. Instead it walks you through the process of writing a novel on a daily basis. It's not a book about writing - its a book for writing. As Schmidt says in the intro "You cannot read a book on writing and then poof become an author (though books are great guides)No you must experience the act of writing to be an author...the only way you can do this is to write, from beginning to end a story. And then do it again and again. Then you will have the experience. Then you will be an author."
What differs this book from other book in a month style books is the structure. Its easy to follow, the daily tasks are manageable, it follows the classic 3 act structure. It's basically a template for writing the book you want to write. Plus it has online support if you want to be part of a community.
Writers Digest did a GREAT job in the layout and design of the book so you can write directly in it and it has a ring binder so you can lay it flat while writing.
I wanted a book to jump start my writing again as I have been out of practice. This is exactly what I needed. I know I will buy a new copy each time I write a book.
I used to buy screenwriting books to study story structure. Finally thankfully books on the craft of novel writing are focusing more on story structure too.
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Format: Spiral-bound
Well, I got this book 3 weeks ago because I was finally going to bite the bullet and power through writing a book and I needed the tight deadline and accompanying rigid discipline something like this demands.

My first impression: It's fantastic, exciting, and exactly what I was looking for. The book and it's author Schmidt give quite a lot of inspiration with an angle only a book like this can have. Really, all writer-motivating books promise some sort of personal fulfillment through writing, but this is the first one I've read that puts that goal solidly within reach (30 days out). Plus, the book is meant to be a structuring guide through the process, with places to note things like subplot ideas, character sketches, story outline as well as day-by-day exercises meant to take you closer to your goal.

The difference between this BIAM and the NANOWRIMO one is that it's intended to give you something incredibly solid and usable by the end. Baty's NANO is more about an explosion of creative productivity and this one is about ordering chaos. Both lead you to a "book" in 30 days. Schmidt's makes sure your book has a solid 3 act structure that adheres to the most successful conventions of storytelling.

Why only 3 stars? Well, I'm now on day three and I haven't been able to force myself through one page of the workbook section. I read the inspirational lead in (about 64 pages), got caught up in the NANOWRIMO excitement, and now I can't stop writing long enough to follow the exercises and fill in the blanks in the book. It frankly scares me too much with it's structure and guidelines. I don't want to direct my novel-writing energy to filling out its worksheets and answering its questions.
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17 Comments 158 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Spiral-bound
I got this book on almost a whim because I was struggling to get to the first 100 pages of my project. I was surprised to find that it motivated me and made me see some things I didn't see.

What I like about it: It really did get me out of eeking out a few hundred words and into writing much more. One of the most eye opening things was that I didn't need to do the first draft with subplots and could work them in later. I also liked the outline format because it didn't go a standard outline route that's always hung me up in the past.

What I didn't like: Some things weren't explained and left me confused. Someone else mentioned setting, but I also wanted to see an explanation of a temporary triumph.

I'm having a hard time understanding why the author didn't put the forms up on her Web site to be downloaded for reuse. Instead, we're told to buy another version of the book just to create a second project. At $22, that's expensive for a set of forms--and small forms at that.

It's a good book to use if you want to learn how to write faster, but expect to be confused by some one of the questions.
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Format: Spiral-bound
Book in a Month is a very useful tool for writing a book in a short period of time. The format is excellent and, if you have trouble pacing yourself or even knowing where to start, this book will provide short activities for each day of the month to help keep you focused and on target. The activities she provides helps fool you out of any resistance or writer's block you may be having.

My only reservation about the book is that some of the questions Schmidt uses in some of her activities use terms that are not defined elsewhere in the book. For example, on Day 3 the prescribed exercise is to create an outline. In the questionnaire portion of the exercise she asks the writer to describe the "setup" but does not define the term. I suppose if you've purchased many other writing books or some of Schmidt's previous books, you may be able to use those as references to figure it out. This is irritating but does not diminish the usefulness of the book overall.
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