Book Review: "How to Write a Novel in 90 Days" by Conrad Jones

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I don’t think there is a reader who hasn’t thought at least once of writing his/her own novel. I know I’ve given writing a lot of thought… and who knows? Maybe one day I’ll just sit down and do it. Until then, I’m trying to learn as much as possible about the craft and about marketing a novel, so whenever I come across a book related to writing, I have to read it and see if I can learn anything new. “How to Write a Novel in 90 Days” sounded like an interesting, fast read.

There were some things I already knew because they’re both pretty logical and they can also be found in just about any book on writing. But there were also some great tips that could help anyone get to work. I think the hardest part isn’t to come up with a good idea or likeable characters, but to actually sit down and put the story on paper. This is why the system Conrad Jones explains sounds helpful and efficient if you stick to it. It’s simple: you set a target, say a full length novel of 90k, and then you write 1500 new words a day, 5 days a week. The most important thing is to rewrite those 1500 words before starting to write the next ones. This way you also edit while writing, making sure that you use all the character’s five senses, thus improving your story. Anyway, the system is a bit more complex than what I’ve explained here, but you get the idea. The author insists a lot on rewriting, which is good, I guess… given the fact that after writing the first draft, the second hardest task is to start editing and rewriting it. The good part is that 1500 words a day is really not a lot, and if you add more words while editing what you’ve written the previous day, you might even surpass the initial target.

The author also talks about hooks and how important the first pages of your book are. I think that last part is true, because with so many books out there, readers surely feel overwhelmed, eager to get to as many as possible, and if a book doesn’t grab their interest from the first few pages, they might put it down and pick up the next one in their endless TBR pile. However, even though Conrad Jones suggests starting your novel with an action scene, I’m not sure how I feel about that. Personally, I like a bit of description and some time to get used to the setting and to know the characters. I’ve read books that start with a powerful action scene, and I must say it was quite annoying because I had to try and understand what was happening, and who the characters were, and why they were reacting the way they did without having too much information to work with. But this might be just me, and most readers probably prefer a lot of action from the very first paragraph.

All in all, I found the information Conrad Jones offers useful. It still doesn’t sound easy to write a novel in only 90 days, but I guess it’s not supposed to be easy. If I try his system, I’ll let you know if it works.