- Paperback: 246 pages
- Publisher: Rosethorn Books; 1 edition (October 28, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0987720651
- ISBN-13: 978-0987720658
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,407,341 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Page-Turner: Your Path to Writing a Novel That Publishers Want and Readers Buy 1st Edition
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About the Author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Barbara Kyle is the author of the acclaimed Thornleigh Saga series of historical novels and award-winning thrillers, with sales of over half a million books. She has taught writers at the University of Toronto and is a popular presenter at international writers’ conferences. As a story coach, she has launched many writers on the path to published success, including bestselling mystery author Robert Rotenberg, debut novelists Marissa Campbell and Nancy Raven Smith, YA author Mary Ann McGuigan, and Oregon’s former Federal Public Defender Steven T Wax with his award-winning memoir. Visit www.BarbaraKyle.com
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Seriously, this is a terrific, accessible manual that offers a wealth of wisdom and practical tips for emerging or first-time novelists like myself. The book is intelligently yet warmly written without sounding condescending, is beautifully organized and easy to follow. It’s thorough in addressing not only the “basics” but also some of the more subtle nuances (e.g., “deep genre”) of the writing craft, and it's well-rounded with many examples across different genres from both both male and female authors. The author's (Barbara Kyle's) vast experience as actor, author, and writing teacher/mentor really comes out in a unique way that adds immense credibility and vitality to her writing — (e.g., her insightful explanation of the differences and similarities between what a novel writer vs. a screen actor needs to convey to their respective audiences.)
I especially liked the “organized template” that the book offers, not only for helping an author think through the novel conceptualization and initial drafting stages, but also for aiding and guiding the author’s follow-up discussion with a professional reviewer/mentor as well as steering the creation of subsequent drafts.
One of the additional indirect benefits of “Page-Turner” (especially as I get into later drafts of my first historical novel) is that it reminds me to keep checking myself on my overall “societal” goals for writing a novel in the first place …
- How do I want my readers' thinking to be changed as a result of reading my novel? (What Barbara refers to as the novel’s “deep genre” aspect)
- Who am I primarily writing my novel for? (target audience: e.g., more scholarly military/religious history-lovers? Christian community vs. broader commercial fiction market?)
- What “benefits” am I most eager for my novel to provide to my target audience? (entertainment? artistic/aesthetic pleasure? historical learning? Inspiration through important social or “faith” messages?)
“Page-Turner’s” last section on marketing considerations also raised a vital question for me … do I really want to take my first novel through the traditional publisher agent-seeking route, or do I go self-pub and accept possible limitations/challenges on distribution? In any case, I’ll want my novel to be the best it can be so I’ll be at peace knowing I’m putting out the very best of which I’m capable from a craft standpoint. “Page-Turner” will no doubt help me in this process.
I can safely say many of the concepts presented in this book are going to have a significant and positive impact on the next (hopefully, getting towards final!) draft of my first historical novel, and can't wait to get started.
I've been a fan of Kyle's instruction in the past, and I continue to be today. This book joins my favorites on the craft of writing and will take its rightful place on my desk with the others. I highly recommend it to all authors, no matter what stage of writing they’re at.
She doesn’t tell you what to do, she tells you what works. Principles versus rules, she explains, an approach that lets you as creator put those principles discussed in Page Turner to work for you.
Ms. Kyle gives you a look inside a story. At one glance, you see all the structural and moving parts; character, story structure, setting, dialogue, each performing its task and all working toward the same end.
Then she shows you how those parts are engineered. And Page Turner is an engineering manual, something I realized as I read her discussion of Empathy versus Sympathy and her Five Tips for Building Empathy for your characters.
Page Turner inspires and encourages, but it doesn’t let you think that a novel springs full grown from some bubbling inner fountain of creativity. Ms. Kyle stresses that it takes work, discipline, and knowing the craft, and why you must develop your own approach to facing the task you’ve set before you.
With so much to cover, it would have been easy to overwrite Page Turner. But she doesn’t. Her writing is focused and lucid, as all good writing is. (You won’t realize how much you are learning, not on your first reading.) But all the essentials are there, each examined and its relation to the others explained. Page Turner is economical, comprehensive, and all the while easy to understand—not a simple trick to pull off.
In any profession, it’s easy to pick up bad habits and to forget the fundamentals. That’s why you’ll want to take Page Turner from the shelf and read it again, maybe once a year or just before you begin a big project. I’ve read any number books on the writing craft, and good ones too. But this is one to keep on your desk while you work.
Ms Kyle is author of 7 Elizabethan-age novels, as well as a mentor of new writers.
Three nuggets of wisdom I appreciate most:
1. Not just "writing what you know" but "writing characters you care about." Excellent reminder.
2. Storylining/Outlining. This tends to challenge me at times, no matter how often I look through writing aids. Ms Kyle uses one of her novels to give example of this process. I think I may finally get it.
3. Challenges of writing in one of many Points of View.
I heartily recommend this book.