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The Weekend Novelist

3.6 of 5 stars 3.60  ·  rating details  ·  325 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Who doesn't dream of writing a novel while holding on to their day job? Robert J. Ray and co-author Bret Norris can help readers do just that, with this practical and accessible step-by-step guide to completing a novel in just a year's worth of weekends. THE WEEKEND NOVELIST shows writers at all levels how to divide their writing time into weekend work sessions, and how to ...more
Paperback, 266 pages
Published April 1st 2005 by Billboard Books (first published December 1st 1993)
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Community Reviews

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I have this book five stars because, in addition to the original edition of this book, it is the reason I made my first sale. Even if I hadn't, the technical craft of my writing has made leaps and bounds and it would only be a matter of time before I became published. It only makes me want to write more, and work the system again and again. I actually work the character development exercises first, then plot, but the system is easily adaptable to your writing needs. You can certain finish in way ...more
My writing group and I read this over about five months. We read a chapter a week, trying to follow the advice the author gives for someone writing a novel in a year using only weekends. But we used the book a little differently. Many of us had already written a good part of our books and were using "The Weekend Novelist" as a way of helping us edit them.

The author has a lot of great ideas that I think are helpful. He suggests various ways of drawing diagrams as a way of planning out your story,
Kimberly [Come Hither Books]
The Weekend Novelist outlines a systematic, analytical approach to harnessing ideas and turning them into a novel. I thought that would suck the creativity right out of the process, but it manages to find a good balance.
Some of the sections weren't useful for me, particularly some of the character exercises. The plotting section, however, streamlined my path from idea to complete draft, and has completely changed my approach to writing. The section on chapter building was excellent too, and so
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 14, 2007 Kenny rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone writing their first novel
Shelves: writing-craft
Ray's book is, bar none, the very best resource for the person who is just starting to write their first novel. The book takes as its premise that while you desire to write a novel, you also have a life that requires your attention, hence the title, the "weekend" novelist. Saturday and Sunday are spent working through the exercises in the book, writing sample chapters, and at the end of 52 weeks, lo and behold, you have a complete novel. I used this marvelous book as an aid to write my first nov ...more
Mr. Ray's Weekend Novelist is an excellent reference book. However, I wouldn't necessarily use it as a template for writing a novel . . . unless you plan on writing novels similar to Mr. Ray's or to Ann Tyler's "The Accidental Tourist", the novel that Ray uses as an template throughout citing it as a perfect example of a well written novel.

For those new to the daunting task of writing a novel, this book can pigeonhole you into thinking this is the only way to tackling writing. I came across tha
This book is very different from the typical "how to write a novel" book out there.

I do not recommend it for beginning writers; it's a bit too stuffy and academic at times. For a somewhat experienced non-beginner who is interested in things once taught in middle school -- theme, plot, verbs/verbals/adverbs, repetition, description -- etc., this is probably a great book.

The first 70 pages or so are pretty useful, especially giving good ideas on getting started, and initial development of characte
Laura Bernardino
I got the original edition and I thought it was absolutely magnificent. I haven't use the book as a guide to write a book, instead I read it all and once I finished I had a clearer idea of what writing would mean. Although I am not following it to write every single thing I found it very useful for building my characters.
One of the greatest things of this book, for me at least, is that you don't have to read it at once. You can read the chapters about characters and weeks later come back to it.
What I like about Ray's book is that it's actually about writing a book as opposed to publishing a book. If you just want to write a damn book, this resource rocks.
Interesting guideline for a beginning writer, presenting a concrete program to practice producing a novel.

Restart reading this after abandoning it for some time. Now I know why I abandoned it in the first place. Some of the practical tips could certainly be useful to plan and organize your work.

But honestly, the technicalities really sucks the fun out of it. The diagrams are stiff and formal, would have been better presented as sketches of handwritten ones than with the computerized lines a
I've been working on several story ideas for nearly half my life. I never really got any of them promisingly completed. One of my New Year's resolutions is to get ONE Of them completed into either a novel or, preferably, a screenplay.

I've been working on this particular story, on and of, for about five years. Never once getting past chapter three. I'm hoping this book's guidance will help me get past that pothole and finish this book whilst I work and complete my Associate's Degree online. (As
Kristin Dow
Think this method either works for you or it doesn't. I didn't stick it out but found valuable lessons and insight into writing a novel. Ray helps to break down the fundamentals, tools to apply when faced with the daunting challenge of writing a novel.
A.K. Klemm
Good stuff. I write characters all day long, but he kind of helped me see things about plot and plot points that I already knew but haven't been putting to use in an efficient and practical way.
Misty Bledsoe
I own this book and it was the first of many I've read regarding writing a novel outside of your already full, packed stuff and exciting life. It provides greats information to keep you organized.
Brett Buckley
When I first read this I got a lot from it, especially diagramming and plotting ideas, well recommended.
Daniel Forsyth
Crap. One plot section was good, but otherwise not my cuppa tea.
Granted, this book isn't going to give you everything and I didn't read most of the books they were using as examples. But as a very organized person this book was right up my alley. It was as if someone tapped into the anal part of my mind and the creative part of my mind and said:
See, here's how you can do it!

I have not used this book from start to finish yet, like it was intended to be used, but it still has created incredible work volume and organization for me when writing.
James Heiney
This book was good as long as you take it with the caveat that your chances in using it to actually finish a novel in 52 weeks are slim indeed unless you are already accustomed to his 'system.' That being said, the book is full of excellent exercises to deepen many aspects of your writing. From character profiles, to themes, to plot and more, he's got many good tips to enrich a new novel or an old one that got a little stale on you.
I have a love/ hate relationship with this book. At times, I found its instructions to be completing frustrating. However, I think this book could be exactly what I need to plot a novel. This book really broke things down and helped me understand plot points. I'm curious to know if it would work for me.

Megan Anderson
A great book for the budding author with little time. Useful tips and strategies, and a plan for what to do each week to finish a novel. The only forseeable problem: only writing on the weekends! An incredibly useful tool.

5/5 on here, 10/10 for myself
Crystal Ellyson
This book is okay. It has some very helpful tips on writing novels. It also gave me some ideas for writing a novel one day
Dee Renee  Chesnut
May 19, 2010 Dee Renee Chesnut rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Dee Renee by:
What if you I started the suggested preparations from this book, 21 weeks (early June) before November's NaNoWriMo? What if you I use NaNoWriMo deadlines to write the discovery draft? Sounds like an excellent opportunity to me!
Cassandra Mortmain
A truly awful book, with stupid advices such as: "To explore ther power of scene-sequence, let's take a close look at one of the film adaptations of Jane Eyre."

How about just going straight to the original, you know, the NOVEL?
Dan Schwent
This is an okay book on writing but only writing on the weekend doesn't really work for me. There are some good tips inside but, again, they'd best be applied on a more frequent basis.
If you write every day, close your eyes, wrinkle your nose, turn around three times, wish real hard, and only do the first thing I said, you'll be a writer in (no - deleted) time.
Plenty of good info, but a dry read for me, very hard to get through. Still, well worth the techniques and hints and such to get through the book.
So far, this book seems to convey that plot takes the upper hand in importance in novel writing . . . Lots of exercises . . .
Mary Warner
I don't know why I keep trying to tackle this book. Whenever I do, something else catches my interest and I abandon it.
This edition (the first) has a different focus than the second edition. For myself this one seems to work better.
Have read this concepts in other books already. Kind of hard to read the same stuff a zillionth time.
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Robert J. Ray is the author of the writing guide The Weekend Novelist and eight Matt Murdock mysteries, including Murdock Cracks Ice.

He has taught college literature, writing, and tennis. He lives in Seattle.
More about Robert J. Ray...
The Weekend Novelist Writes a Mystery The Weekend Novelist Rewrites the Novel: A Step-by-Step Guide to Perfecting Your Work Murdock Tackles Taos (Matt Murdock, #6) Bloody Murdock (Matt Murdock, #1) Murdock Cracks Ice (Matt Murdock, #5)

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