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Nail Your Novel: Why Writers Abandon Books And How You Can Draft, Fix and Finish With Confidence

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  252 ratings  ·  47 reviews
This book is used by award-winning authors and university creative writing departments.

Are you writing a novel? Do you want to make sure you finish? Will you get lost and fizzle out? Will you spend more time reading about how to write than actually getting the words down?

Most books on novel-writing will make you read hundreds of pages about character arcs, inciting inciden
ebook, 180 pages
Published July 15th 2012 by Smashwords Edition (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 665)
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Benjamin Newland
A short book, which I think is a good sign in a writing craft self-help book. I picked this up last year on the recommendation of Jason Black, a Book Doctor I worked with on my novel "Magic Bullets". I got a few pages in and gave up because it seemed like I'd have an easier time taking her advice about a new novel instead of an existing one.

So, back into it I go as I prepare to write the next novel! I blasted through the book and am now going back to use her step-by-step process for preparing to
Nail Your Novel is a book I've returned to time and again. It's packed with a ton of practical advice - from the initial brainstorming to structure to focusing your research and fleshing out the story, Roz Morris covers all the essentials for successful novel writing.

Roz offers tips for planning your novel, using a series of simple, yet effective exercises. There are games for overcoming writer's block and advice on how to keep your butt in the chair and writing on the days when you just don't
Roz Morris really hit the nail on the head as to why novelists don't complete their novels and elaborated beautifully on how to pick up the process towards completion. Even for those who don't have an incomplete MS, this guide also illustrates how to begin and follow through with writing a novel. Very well-written and encouraging. I found the explanations and expansions to be very helpful, especially with the advice given on how to comb through a former MS with a beat sheet for flow, continuity, ...more
Victoria Mixon
Roz Morris is an experienced ghostwriter who chose to self-publish her handbook on the craft of writing. But the techniques and advice in this book would do well for any publisher. Morris knows her stuff.

The wish-not list.
The hat game.
The cards game.
The beat sheet game.
How to manage the internal critic every step of the way.

Throughout her book, Morris simply and succinctly provides original, concrete methods for turning an amateur daydream into a professional novel. She's warm, open, and enterta
Dean Winstanley
If you're stuck in a rut and not getting anywhere on that first manuscript this book offers great advice that shows you were you're probably going wrong. It's a good length too, sticking only to the vital points which are written in a clear and honest way.

Anyone who's started a novel will relate to the problems which are pointed out in this book and the author offers great advice to get around those issues and to get your manuscript to its final stages before publication. Great read.
A surprisingly good read. This little book focuses less on craft and more on the process of banging out a first draft and then rewriting. It assumes you already understand the basics of plot, dialogue, discription, etc. It's a very quick read with some interesting ideas I hadn't seen before.
Katrina Sizemore
I love this book. Roz Morris' strategies are liberating and easy to follow. I've revisited this book a number of times while struggling to work through my current novels. This is a definite staple on my writing craft bookshelf.
I’ve been reading writing craft books for years. In fact, one could say that I’m a writing craft book junkie. Yes, the support group will be starting shortly.

My approach in reading these books is to adopt those parts of the writer’s process that make sense to me and my ever-evolving process. I cherry pick, experiment, and incorporate as appropriate.

I would characterize Roz’s approach as organic, that is, her plotting activities arise naturally from the journaling, research, and gestation that mo
M.G. Edwards
I decided to read Ms. Morris' book to help revive a stack of old books and stories I never finished writing. The pile is rather large, and I hoped that the book would give me the tools I needed to finish and publish them. Sadly, it didn't work for me. I believe that the target audience for her book is writers who have one or two manuscripts in rough form that need a nudge to get them done. It's not for those whose writings are so fly-by-the-seat-of-one's-pants or deeply muddled that they need a ...more
L.A. Nicholas
Working on my first novel, I was looking for a book that would help me with the whole writing process. I'd read books about various areas of craft and technique, many of which were helpful but, as I passed the halfway mark on my first draft, I was looking for something that would help me through the revision process. Roz Morris's Nail Your Novel proved to be just the ticket.

I found that this book does not simply duplicate the tips I'd gleaned from other books, but gives me different ways of thin
Robert Scanlon
Whether you are a seasoned writer or a beginner, this book will do more than help you 'nail' your novel, it will help you make it magnificent!

As a beginner novelist, but an experienced writer in many other areas, I have been looking for shortcuts to learning the basics ... and I'm a great believer in 'getting inside the heads' of people who can already do this, or do it for a living. Model success and make your own path require less effort.

Roz Morris has exceeded my expectations in this very ric
M. E. Hearn
I ordered Nail Your Novel when I had almost finished my first novel and was feeling unsure of how to finish strong and also fix all the little holes and weak spots I knew were there. Nail Your Novel not only helped me feel much more confident as I revised and polished, but also provided great guidance for approaching the first draft that I found helpful when I started working on my second novel. All in all, this book is a good resource for any working writer's library.
While most 'writing' books focus on the craft - how to build a story from characters or plot, what defines a plot, what defines a character - Nail Your Novel sets itself apart. It is the writing book I have long dreamed about, a book that teaches you how to identify structural and logic problems in your plot and eliminate them.

Morris' voice is authoritative and confident throughout the book. She's written enough novels - ghosts and as herself - to be able to preach what she practices. It's a dif
Sharon Hughson
Morris is a professional who can distill her methods for drafting and fixing a novel into an easy to follow instruction manual. At some point in the future, this book may get as dog-eared as my "Plot & Structure" by James Scott Bell.
After reading her section on the synopsis, I almost looked forward to tackling the writing of one for my current novel. Almost.
A quick and easy read-through that will be an important reference manual on any novel writer's resource shelf.
Rebecca Bradley
I loved this book. It's straightforward and easy to follow. Morris' idea's make complete and utter sense and I can't wait to get started implementing them, especially the cards one.

You can use this book whether you are just starting a novel, thinking about a novel or wanting to redraft your novel. You'll wonder why you didn't read it sooner.
This is a great little book with some really useful tips for any aspiring writer. It will be useful even if you are not writing a full novel; if you are dabbling with short stories, novellas, fanfiction or indeed any other form of fiction, you will still find a lot of useful advice to apply to whatever your creative side is attempting to produce.

From dealing with writer's block to killing your 'darlings' and squeezing a 'lemon' (Hollywood speak for a potentially exciting dramatic situation), thi
Dave Jacques
Very good book on how to edit your novel and also how to keep track of your novel evolution through the writing process
Johnny Graber
It’s a good book on how to edit your novel or book project. There are no genuinely new ideas, but the collection of many helpful tricks makes it a read worthwhile.
Found this book very helpful.
Eliza Baum
So often books on writing talk in obscure and philosophical terms about finding ideas, learning how to develop your writing voice, etc. I found those useful a decade ago, but I'm way beyond them now. This book gives a purely practical approach to writing a novel and working your way through problems along the way. This is exactly the sort of book I've been wanting to own. Next time I get stuck, I know where I can go for ideas on how to jolt myself into the next stage.
Roz Morris
Feb 11, 2011 Roz Morris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
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Have to give it 5 stars because I'm its mummy.
I found this book very useful. As a writer who flies by the seat of my pants I've been looking for insights into planning and how best to do it. Having read this book I think I'll probably still not plan but certainly some of the author's ideas for sorting out a manuscript are very valuable. At the price I think it's great value for money and it had many interesting bits of information and ways of assessing a WIP that planner or pantser could well find worthwhile.
Ileandra Young
I've never read a book of this kind before. A 'how to' book. For my first one I'm really pleased and I can see several tips in there that I know I'll try. In fact I already have the buzz to start something new, though it would make more sense to use the ideas laid out by Roz to tackle my current WIP. I feel that using her beat sheet and methods to tackle editing I'll come out with a much stronger book.

So... bring it on!
Miss Chinaski
Roz Morris has written a gift of a book. It's as well-written as any great novel; it offers clear-cut instructions which hit home sure as an Olympic gold arrow. It gifts its reader laugh out loud moments. It's even taught me some valuable new stuff, and I've been writing (seriously) for 32 years.

If you're serious about your craft, this book is a MUST-have.
Phillip Berrie
I heard this author being interviewed on Joanna Penn's podcast 'The Creative Penn' and thought she spoke a lot of sense. So, I downloaded this book and finished reading it last night.

While a lot of what she said I have heard before, but it is good to have it all in one place.

This will probably be a book I will refer to over and over again.

One for the writers.
Grigory Ryzhakov
In this brief, straight-to-the point book on the craft of writing, Roz Morris gives us her own method of novel writing.
I believe that by following the work-flow suggested by her, one can save oneself a lot of time and avoid disappointments.
I recommend it to the newbie authors who are yet to find out what a hard-work it is to pull off a good book.
Kate Robertson
This is just the book I was looking for. I now know how to begin revising and old manuscript. Although much of the advice she gave was something I already knew I still liked this book. I do like having many new ideas and a plan to work on my novel with. I plan to try out the cards and the Beat Sheet techniques. It feels good to have a plan now.
Aug 08, 2012 Marni rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any writer who's stuck
I am a writer who has had my short work published professionally; I've also been nominated for an award. I've run the gamut of being slightly stuck on a work to drowning, in-over-my-head, should I even *begin* to try to flog this dead horse? And I've found this the best book of its kind I have ever read - HIGHLY recommended!
Nicole Evelina
A very valueable resource for writers. I wish I would have had it when I was writing my first book. It would have saved me a lot of time and, more importantly, angst. I look forward to using it as a guide as I make my way through my second book and beyond. Thank you for this great resource, Roz!
Deborah Biancotti
A nice constellation of some simple, pragmatic steps to finishing a novel. Includes ideas such as building a 'beat sheet' & taking multiple passes over your manuscript/scenes, each pass identifying a different aspect of the storytelling. Something some of us had to learn the hard way. ;)
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  • Story Engineering: Character Development, Story Concept, Scene Construction
  • Revision & Self-Editing: Techniques for Transforming Your First Draft Into a Finished Novel
  • Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success
  • Rock Your Plot: A Simple System for Plotting Your Novel (Rock Your Writing, #1)
  • Characterization and Sensory Detail (Writing Active Setting #1)
  • 2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love
  • The Plot Whisperer: Secrets of Story Structure Any Writer Can Master
  • The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great
  • Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One & Never Lets Them Go
  • Wired for Story: The Writer's Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
  • Plot
  • GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict: The Building Blocks of Good Fiction
  • The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller
  • Getting the Words Right
  • Writing a Novel with Scrivener
  • How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play
  • The Complete Handbook Of Novel Writing: Everything You Need To Know About Creating & Selling Your Work (Writers Digest)
  • How To Market A Book
What do I read? Fiction that cares about characters AND plot. Although I'm a sucker for beautiful language, I like a story too, dammit. I'm a slow reader because I'm easily trapped by lovely sentences and ideas, and when I enjoy a book I'm reluctant to leave its world behind.
I live in London with my writer husband, and our house is mostly decorated with bookshelves - so much so that different room
More about Roz Morris...
My Memories of a Future Life Nail Your Novel: Bring Characters to Life Lifeform Three Writing Characters Who'll Keep Readers Captivated: Nail Your Novel Writing Plots With Drama, Depth & Heart: Nail Your Novel

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“Just as all writers were beginners once, so were all novels. They all went through rough stages, even the ones by our most hallowed masters.” 9 likes
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