How To Write a Good Novel: The Crisis Is the Key

The CrisisIf you really want to learn how to write a good novel, there’s one essential element that you must consider as you begin developing your story idea.  If you do this right, it will drive your novel forward with power and make your novel come alive in your imagination.  The key element that can make or break your novel is this: it must include a compelling crisis that sparks the action of your novel and forces your main character to take decisive action to solve the problem the crisis creates.  It needs to be a novel-sized problem; that is, it needs to be difficult enough that your readers feel it will take the whole novel to overcome.

The Three Keys to a Great Crisis

Novelist and literary agent Evan Marshall has defined three key criteria that you should follow to set up a truly compelling crisis that will move your novel forward and give it the juice to be a powerful page-turner.  Here they are:

1.  First, the crisis should be genre-appropriate.  For this, you need to know what genre you want to write in and make the crisis appropriate to that genre.  For example, in a romance novel, you probably don’t want the initial crisis to be a bomb discovered on a bus.  Instead, perhaps your lead would receive a letter that indicates that she has to find a husband in two weeks or she will have to leave the country.

2.  Next, the crisis has to really turn the main character’s life upside-down.  It can’t be just a mild annoyance, it has to be something that your lead can’t ignore and has to do something about right away.  This is what hooks your readers in and makes them want to keep reading.  Can you see why it’s so important to get your readers interested by giving your lead a big crisis to deal with?

3.  Third, the crisis must capture your imagination as the novelist.  It has to be a situation that you want to explore, something that you care about and are interested in.  You want it to be riveting to you personally.  It has to be compelling to you or you’ll have a hard time engaging your readers.  This is the situation that will propel your novel forward and give you the inspiration and energy to finish your novel and see it through to the end, helping your character to come through on the other side.

What’s Your Lead Going To Do About It?

In response to this crisis, your Lead character will decide to solve this problem no matter what it takes.  This decision creates your Lead’s story goal that will guide him through your novel.  Evan Marshall also defines four key elements that must be part of this story goal:

1.  The goal either involves wanting to gain possession of something or seeking relief from something.

2.  There will be terrible consequences for failure.

3.  The main character has a positive, worthy motivation that makes him or her appealing to readers.  The goal reveals your lead as heroic in his own way, worthy of admiration, and essentially honorable at his core.

4.  He must face tremendous odds… it must feel almost impossible for him to succeed.  Raise the stakes until you get there.  When you do, you’ll feel the increased energy and power it gives your novel concept.

Evan Marshall’s system for novel writing guides you to create a powerful page-turner and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for some clear direction to help you write your novel.  If you would like to learn more about his step-by-step system that shows you how to write a good novel with best-seller potential, check out my blog post here:  Marshall lays it all out for you and makes the process of writing a novel feel much more understandable and doable.

Laura M. McKenna loves to write about fiction and novel writing and has contributed frequently to various websites including She is currently blogging about her experiences using the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing software to develop her novel idea at

Fiction Novel Writing: How to Get Started Right Now

Writing a novelFiction, and novel writing in particular, can seem like a daunting task unless you have a clear plan to follow.  There are so many pieces to keep track of: characterization, dialog, plots and subplots, multiple points of view, and more.  It’s important to start things off in the right way because everything else you do will flow from that.

How to Get Started Right

In this post, I’m going to give you what you need to get started on writing your novel today.  From my experience, it’s the first step that’s the hardest.  Once you’ve got the first step down, you get excited about writing your novel and you have a better feeling for where you are headed so each step after that will be easier.

Step 1:  What Do You Want To Write?

The first step in the process is to decide what you want to write.  There are so many possibilities, so how do you decide?  The answer is simple: write what you love to read.  What kind of books do you love?  That’s what you should write.  Here’s why:

1.  Since you’ve read a lot of novels in this genre, you are already very familiar with the way these books are written.  As you’ve been reading, you’ve been automatically absorbing the structure of the stories, the kinds of conflicts and crises that come up in this type of fiction, and you know for sure what works and what doesn’t in this genre.

2.  Since you love reading this kind of novel, you will love writing this kind of novel as well.  And the enthusiasm and enjoyment you feel as you write will translate into your writing, making it fresh, vibrant, and real. characters

Step 2:  Who’s the Lead of Your Novel?

Next, you decide on the main character for your novel.  Just the basics to begin with: decide on the gender, age, and name of your Lead to help make them real to you.  Follow the expectations of the genre you chose in step one as you decide.  For example, if you’re writing a romance novel, you’ll generally have a women as the Lead.

Step 3:  What’s the Crisis?

Every novel has a major crisis that the Lead has to face early on in the story.  Evan Marshall, the literary agent and author, points out some key characteristics that your crisis should have to ensure that you come up with a great basic premise for your novel:

1.  It should be appropriate to your genre

2.  It should turn your Lead’s life upside down

3.  It should capture your imagination and make you want to know more

Step 4: What’s Your Lead Going To Do About It?

In response to this crisis, your Lead has to decide how they will solve this problem.  They set an overarching story goal that they will pursue throughout your novel, but not achieve until the very end.

I like the following four criteria for this goal that Marshall suggests.  Working within the expectations of your genre, he recommends that your goal should be about:happy writer outside

1.  Trying to get something that your Lead really wants or getting relief from something they really don’t want.

2.  High stakes: there should be terrible consequences if they fail.

3.  Your Lead’s motivation must be worthy and admirable so your readers like them and are rooting for them to succeed.

4.  Impossible odds: the problems should be so difficult that it should seem almost impossible for your Lead to succeed.

If you develop your novel idea using these guidelines, you are sure to come up with an idea that inspires and engages you.  That’s the most important step.  This basic story idea will carry you through plotting and writing the rest of your novel.  If you take the time to come up with an idea that you love, it will be the seed from which your wonderful novel will grow.

More Tips For Novel Writing

Evan Marshall has developed a great system for fiction novel writing that guides you step-by-step through the whole process of writing your novel from start to finish.  If you’re interested in writing a compelling, powerful page-turner with the potential to become a best-seller, I highly recommend that you check it out.  You can learn more about his system through this link: Marshall Plan novel writing.  His system will really help you enjoy the process of writing your novel.

I think you might also be interested in my blog about how I’ve been using the Marshall Plan Novel Writing software to develop my novel idea.

Getting Started With the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Software

getting started with the Marshall PlanSo, I’ve started using the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing software and I’m really having fun with it so far.

Getting It All Set Up

After downloading the software, I went through the quick process of installing it.  It was really easy, quick, and self-explanatory so I won’t go into how to do it here.  Then, I clicked on the desktop icon for the program, entered my name as the author, and found myself on the main template page of the program.

 Getting Oriented

I clicked on the How To Use This Program button at the top and read through the instructions.  It’s nice because the program gives you a quick overview of the Marshall Plan system and how things work, but it only takes a few minutes to read through.  This is one of those learn-by-doing programs (with lots of help along the way, of course) and I like that.  It would also be a good quick refresher for people who are familiar with the Marshall Plan from the books.  So, I’m ready to jump in and get started.  Fun!

Do What You Want To Do

The instructions let you know that you can jump in where ever you want to in the creative process according to your own inspiration for that writing session.  However,  they also give you suggestions for walking through the process step-by-step if you prefer that.  Since I’m new to the program and this system of writing, I’m going to go through each step as Marshall recommends.  To do this, I just click on each of the tabs positioned across the top of the page.

 Defining the Initial Crisis

Tab 1:  First, you click on the Story Idea tab.  Here, you read a bit about the importance of the initial crisis and how it lays the foundation for your whole novel.  You then define the gender and age of your lead character.   Then, you click the next subtab…

Deciding On the Story GoalCB030341

As a result of the crisis, your Lead character decides on their story goal.  This is what she will be working to achieve throughout the novel although she won’t succeed until the end.

The Suppose

Next, based on the initial crisis and the goal the Lead sets in response, you devise what Marshall calls “the Suppose.”  It’s phrased in this way: “Suppose this big crisis happened to my Lead and in response, she decides that she must achieve this goal.”  The Suppose  defines this crisis that will drive your story forward and the software goes over the key criteria it must meet to make your story truly compelling.  There are lots of good tips here.  For example, Marshall emphasizes how important it is that this Suppose actually intrigues you as the writer so you want to write about it and so your writing will reflect that enthusiasm.

So, I defined the sex and age of my lead and I’ve got an intriguing crisis, goal, and Suppose drafted.  I’m ready to move on to the next Tab: Working with Sections and Genre/Length.

But First… Give My Novel a Title

To save my novel file, the program requires me to enter a working title in the Title tab section, so that’s what I did.  I tested it out and I can change the title later if I like by just entering another title in this tab.

Next up is learning about the building block of my novel: what Marshall calls sections and deciding on my genre and target word length.  I’ll do that in my next post.  See you then!

(Click to learn more about the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing software)

What is the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Anyway?

Before I really begin Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Softwaremy blog series on using the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing software, I thought I would give you an overview of what the Marshall Plan is about so you’ll know what I’m talking about as I use this system to develop my novel idea.

There are a lot of writers who have read the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing books by Evan Marshall and have found this system really helpful in developing a compelling roadmap for their novels.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with the system, read on.

Gives You Everything You Need to Craft a Compelling Novel With Best-Seller Potential

The Marshall Plan for writing novels guides you to develop a powerful novel idea based on a specific system for developing characters and plot.  The plot is driven by an initial crisis that motivates the Lead character to focus on achieving an important specific goal throughout your novel.  Marshall emphasizes that this must be a compelling and formidable problem that will keep the reader engaged throughout the story.

The Basic Building Block to Writing a Page-Turner

The basic unit of plotting for the Marshall Plan is what he calls the section. laptop Each section generally consists of the point-of-view character working to achieve a short-term goal, often being challenged by another character, and then failing to achieve the short-term goal.  Alternately, the character may succeed at the end of the section but discover an even bigger problem in the process.  This system of plotting builds tension and suspense, compelling the reader to want to read just one more chapter to see what happens.

This is true for all characters but the one Marshall calls the Opposition Character, also known as the antagonist of the story.

The Bad Guy Always Succeeds… Until the End

This is one of the insights of the Marshall Plan system that I found very helpful.  At the end of the sections which feature the Opposition as the POV character, the Opposition always achieves his short-term goal.  This serves to increase the stakes and the challenge to the Lead character, thus increasing the tension and suspense of the story.

Finally, Success! 

During the end section of the novel, the Lead character faces the Opposition and endures his Worst Failure.  He then experiences a Point of Hopelessness where he feels he will never succeed.  At this point, he has an all-important insight, and as a result implements his final Saving Act which leads to his ultimate success.  Of course, at this point the Opposition fails.  This suspense-building structure provides readers with a satisfying payoff for the Lead’s repeated failure throughout the novel and leaves them feeling good about your novel.

That’s What Makes It So Goodhappy girl reading

This is what makes Marshall’s structure so good at helping novelists create such compelling page-turners.  Throughout the novel, the Lead goes through a series of attempts to achieve his goal and is continually thwarted and challenged further as the novel proceeds.

Add to that the multiple point of view characters and subplots that the system requires and the reader is left on the edge of their seat, anxious to know what happens next and how the Lead is ever going to succeed at this seemingly impossible task.

The System Tells You Just What To Do To Keep Them On the Edge of Their Seat

In order to achieve this tight, compelling structure, Marshall gives you step-by-step instructions on how to write your novel.  His system lays out specific guidelines to follow when it comes to the following:

  • key details and goals for the Lead and the other characters
  • the number of sections to have
  • how many POV characters to use
  • how to weave subplots together
  • where and how to introduce powerful suspense-building surprises into your plot
  • the specific order of sections to begin and end your novel

All of these guidelines are carefully designed to help you hook the reader and keep them engaged until the very last word.

Here’s Where the Software Comes In Handy

It’s a great system, but that’s a lot of stuff to keep track of.  That’s why users of the Marshall Plan asked Evan Marshall to develop a software program to help them implement the Marshall Plan system.  And that’s just what he did.

I’m going to be giving the software a test-drive over the next few weeks with my own novel idea and I’ll let you know how it goes right here.  Fun!

Lots of Great Guidance For the Whole Process

Beyond character-development and plotting, Marshall gives you lots of specific guidelines to help you with writing, editing, and sending your manuscript out to publishers and agents as well.  He covers the whole process with specific, practical guidance at each step.

The Big Advantage: Never Get Lost In the Woods Again

treesHave you ever found yourself deep in the middle of a novel wondering what in the world are you supposed to do now?  Have you ever written yourself into a dead end and had to toss big chunks of writing… a lot of it that you loved?  Well, if you follow the Marshall Plan, that just won’t happen.  Before you even begin the actual writing, you’ve got it all worked out.

This really helps when it comes to overcoming writer’s block as well… you know just what you’ll write as you sit down to work on your novel each day.

But What About Going With the Flow?

Some writers may hesitate to follow guidelines that seem so structured.  They have the idea that they prefer to sit down in front of a blank page each day and see what happens.  Well, here’s what I think: if they’ve found their own way to finish a novel that they feel good about, that’s truly a great accomplishment and I’m happy for them.

But Then Again…

However, if you haven’t found a way to really finish your novel and feel goodYour Finished Novel about it once it’s done, I encourage you to give the Marshall Plan a try.  See how it works for you.  Don’t judge it until you try it yourself and see what happens.  I think you’ll find it to be an empowering system that results in a well-crafted, compelling novel… one that is fun to write and just what publishers are looking for.

It’s Worth a Try, Don’t You Think?

If you do give it a try, a few months from now, you could have a finished manuscript ready to send out.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

On To the Software… Fun!

Well, that gives you an overview of the Marshall Plan and how I feel about it.  I’m excited to be starting this process of developing my novel idea with the Marshall Plan software and I’m looking forward to sharing my experiences with you.

Don’t Forget To Subscribe

To be sure to get notified of new posts as I write them, you can subscribe to my blog by clicking on the little orange icon at the bottom of the screen.  Thanks and I’d love it if you would comment and let me know what you think!The Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software

Trying Out the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing Software Myself

I had a really fun and exciting idea recently.  I decided that I would write aMarshall Plan for Novel Writing Software series of blog posts about using the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing software to develop an intriguing new novel idea that’s been simmering at the back of my consciousness for a while now.

I’ve always loved writing.  I wrote a novel through the second draft a number of years ago, but over time I could tell that the basic premise didn’t feel right to me so I put it away in my file drawer until I could figure out what it needed.  I loved the characters and much of the story, but there was definitely something else that needed to happen to make it really work.

Meanwhile, my life went on in the usual way.

Then A New Idea Hit Me

One afternoon a few weeks ago, as I was washing dishes and daydreaming, I suddenly had an idThe Lightbulb Went Onea for a very interesting spiritual adventure novel come to mind.  I get these fun ideas periodically, and usually I just jot them down on a piece of paper, set them aside in a pile, and go on with my life.  However, this one sort of lingered at the back of my mind and began to work its way into my imagination.

I had been wanting to try out the Marshall Plan software for this blog and this seemed like the perfect idea to use for my test-drive of the software.  So, that’s what I’m planning to do over the next few weeks.

If you’re interested in finding out how it goes, please subscribe to my blog (click the little orange box at the bottom of the blog) so you’ll know when I post each update.  This should be a lot of fun… I hope you’ll join me!

P.S.  If you’re not familiar with the Marshall Plan for Novel Writing, please check out my next post where I’ll give an overview of how it works.  I’d love to hear your ideas and comments as I go along, too.  See you soon!

Writing Is Our Own Hero’s Journey

The Hero's JourneyAs writers, we are called on to actively take steps along our own Hero’s Journey with each word we write.  We begin each day’s writing session with the courage to take one more step along the unknown journey of writing our novel.  We set our egos aside and let the creative ideas unfold on the page.  And no matter which direction we take, no matter whether it takes us down an unknown garden path or through the dark forest, it will ultimately take us one step closer to fulfillment of our own Hero’s Journey.  We step past our fears and into the stream of inspiration and creative flow and we feed our souls as we do.

The Marshall Plan Novel Writing SoftwareAs we help our characters find their way through the labyrinth of the Hero’s Journey, we find the courage to move forward in our own lives.  Out of the confusion and limitation we may feel at times, we find the path that resonates for us and us alone.  We walk that path and face the challenges along the way.  We allow the support of wise mentors and friends in the form of our own inner wisdom as well as the people we meet who can help us.  In the process, we find the courage within us to go forward toward what we truly want, living from a new level of authenticity and meaning in our own lives as we do.

 We remember that each difficulty our character faces is a necessary rite of passage for him to grow and develop as a human, to become the person he has the potential to be.  As we do this for our characters, we do it for an aspect of ourselves as well.  And our writing helps our readers to believe that perhaps they too can succeed if they take the leap of faith and reach for what they have always wanted.

Our NovelAs we go through the process of helping our characters succeed on the Hero’s Journey, we see the value of courage and a willingness to face the challenges in our own lives with authenticity in the best way we know how.  We see that staying stuck and stagnating where we are despite our inner urging toward change is just postponing the inevitable Hero’s Journey that we all are on.  And so, we take the leap of faith and choose the path of growth.  Our character’s unique version of the Hero’s Journey gives us the inspiration that taking a step toward our dreams might just be the best thing to do.

We can see what’s possible for ourselves as we join our novel’s characters on the journey of discovering a new level of truth and satisfaction in their lives.  These are our Heroes and they hold out the promise that we can each do the same for ourselves.

Follow the Hero’s Journey to Write a Great Novel

Follow the Hero's Journey to Write a Great NovelEvery great story that has ever been told follows the basic mythological structure of what Joseph Campbell has called the Hero’s Journey.  If you look closely at some of the most popular and satisfying novels and movies, you can see for yourself that this is true.  This structure deeply resonates for all of us as humans because it reflects the inner process we all go through in our lives as we strive to be true to ourselves and create a life that is satisfying and fulfilling.

In this article, I’ll go over the basics steps of the Hero’s Journey that you can use to structure your novel so that the final result will be a story that feels satisfying and meaningful to you as well as to your readers.

The Steps of the Hero’s Journey

1.  Reveal The Ordinary World of Your Character.  Introduce your main character, the hero of your novel, and show us what his life is like at the beginning of your story.

2.  Your Character Faces a Challenge.  Something happens that forces the hero to make a decision that will change his life.

3. Your Character Initially Refuses.  Initially your main character resists this change and the difficulties it will entail and wants things to stay the same.

4.  You Character Decides To Change.  Often triggered by an outside event, he makes a commitment to changing his life.

5.  Your Character Gains Mentors and Allies.  As your story progresses, your character meets people along the way who offer help and support.

6.  Your Character Learns What He Needs To Succeed.  He takes action toward achieving his goals and acquiring the skills he will need along the way.  The stakes get higher as he proceeds.

7.  Your Character First Confronts His Deepest Fear and Fails.  He faces his greatest challenge but has not yet acquired the inner strength that is needed to succeed at his goal.

8.  The Dark Night of the Soul. Your character experiences self-doubt and fears that he will never succeed.  He is on the verge of giving up.

9.  The Leap of Faith.  Your character experiences a renewed inner commitment to his goal based on an inner faith that he can be, do, or have whatever he really wants.

10.  Final Climactic Confrontation and Ultimate Success.  Your character faces his biggest challenge and puts everything into achieving what he wants.  With this final powerful effort, he finally succeeds and gets what he has wanted for so long.

When you apply the structure of the Hero’s Journey to your novel, the process of writing becomes much easier and more inspiring.  It helps you to see where your main character needs to go and what he needs to face in order to make the story truly powerful and meaningful for you as the writer and for your readers as well.  When you feel stuck and don’t know where to go next with your writing, the structure of the Hero’s Journey will always show you the next step.

How to Start a Novel That Both Readers and Publishers Will Love

Start Your Novel Now

How To Start Your Novel

If you are really serious about wanting to write a compelling, well-written novel that will have the best chance of being published, there is one very important thing you must do to start your novel… before you even write one word.

Create a Compelling Vision

To start, you must first create a clear, step-by-step map for your journey through your novel.  It’s essential to go through the process of exploring and developing your initial ideas for character, setting, and plot.  By clarifying these key elements of your novel before you begin writing, you will actually be able to finish it without getting lost somewhere in the vast middle section wondering where to go next.  Everything will fit together in a unified vision that will inspire you to move forward and get your novel on paper.

Get To Know Your Characters

To start your novel, the first step in the process is to get to know your characters deeply.  You want to develop them from your vague initial ideas into rich, multi-dimensional people that live in your imagination.  You want to explore the essence of your characters so thoroughly that you and your readers feel genuinely interested in who they are and compelled to join them on the journey through your novel.  You can begin this process by asking yourself some basic questions about each character:

Get To Know Your Characters

Get To Know Your Characters

  1. Who are the key players in your story?
  2. What do they look like, how old are they, etc.
  3. What are their idiosyncrasies, habits, personality traits?
  4. Explore their background, family history, and defining past experiences.
  5. What do they love/hate/fear?
  6. What do they want most out of life and what is keeping them from achieving this?

Let yourself go deeper and deeper into your characters’ lives and passions until you have a real sense that you know who they are and are intrigued by them.  Then you’re ready for the next step.

Create Your Novel’s World

Next, you’ll want to take some time to decide on the key details of location and setting for your novel so that these, too, will come alive in your imagination.  Here are some questions to consider:

  1. Where does it take place: country, state, region?
  2. When does it take place: present, past, future?
  3. What are the key settings for the novel? the house, the business, the ship, etc.
  4. What season(s) will be portrayed?
  5. Are there important objects for the story?  Heirlooms, treasured gifts, magical talismans, etc.

Map Out the Journey for Your Novel

The next step in getting a good start on your novel will be to work out a tight, compelling plot and overall structure that flows logically from point to point and culminates in a page-turning climax.  The character work you did in step one will help you understand the basic conflicts and issues that your novel will address.  There are a number of helpful story structures that writers can use as a foundation for writing, but essentially these plot outlines help you clarify a few key questions:

Find Your Path Through Your Novel

Find Your Path Through Your Novel

  1. Where are your main character(s) starting from?
  2. What is their overall goal?
  3. What are the obstacles in the way of achieving this goal?
  4. How do your characters overcome these obstacles?

Often your character will have some initial success about a third of the way through the story.  Then, complications are introduced and things begin to fall apart about halfway through the novel.  Next, your character(s) will have an experience of failure or loss about 2/3 of the way through your novel.  This then leads to a deeper re-commitment to their goal and final push which eventually climaxes in the greatest effort and ultimate success.

It’s Really Worth It

Every great novelist knows that this process is really the place to start a novel that’s worth writing.  I really encourage you to take the time to create a detailed blueprint for your characters, setting, and plot before you dive into the vast sea of your novel.  Completing this essential first step will give you a reliable compass to guide you on the wonderful creative journey of writing your own novel.  You’ll know your characters deeply, you’ll be able to clearly imagine the details of your setting, and you’ll have a reliable map to follow that will give you peace of mind and inspiration as you begin to write each day.

For Step-By-Step Guidance

If you would like more guidance about how to go about each of these steps as you start your novel, there are many good books and novel writing software programs that will walk you through the process.  For a review of three very helpful novel writing software programs, please see my novel writing software review here at  The top three novel writing software options that I review for you there are all designed to help you develop a clear, easy-to-follow blueprint for your writing that will result in a compelling novel that is rich in character and detail.

Finally, let me say that the most important thing is to enjoy the process of writing your novel.  Taking the time to create a blueprint such as this will help you do that and you’ll end up with a novel that you, your readers, and your publisher will love.  Enjoy!

Compare Top Novel Writing Software: NewNovelist, The Marshall Plan Software, and Dramatica Pro Reviews

Novel Writing Software Review

Novel Writing Software Review

Novel writing software programs are a great resource for helping you turn your initial story ideas into a well-written, compelling novel.   The biggest advantage of the three I review below is that they will help you discover where you want to go with your novel and who your characters are so that when you sit down to write the whole process is much easier and more effective.  Each of these programs offer you a variety of different tools and advantages.  The main difference between these three software programs is how they approach the process of structuring your novel before you write it; I’ll go into that below.  The key is to find what works best for you.  Each of these programs has a money-back guarantee so you can safely try them out and return them if they don’t suit you.  Although ultimately it’s you that will discover what works for you, I’ll help by showing you the strengths of each software option below and you can take it from there.



Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software

BEST FOR: The writer who is looking for a program to help them quickly and specifically develop their novel ideas into a compelling and marketable page-turner using the structure common to most of today’s bestsellers.  Numerous writers have used this program to write a variety of popular published novels.  One of the strengths of this software is that it provides specific step-by-step guidance about how best to write a novel in a specific genre, i.e. romance, mystery, western, etc.  It guides you through structuring your novel using the suspense-building tactic of strategically revealing your story from multiple points of view.  Mr. Marshall developed this program at the request of readers so they would have an easy way to apply the suggested techniques from his best-selling Marshall Plan for Novel Writing book series.  You’ll learn all about his effective approach to novel writing as you go through each step of the program.

Price: $149
Guarantee:  30 day unconditional money-back guarantee
Click Here to Check Out The Marshall Plan Novel Writing Software Yourself



Dramatica Pro 4

Dramatica Pro 4

BEST FOR: The writer who wants to develop a multi-faceted, well-structured literary novel in which all the elements contribute to an overarching theme.  Many published novelists as well as Hollywood screenwriters rely on Dramatica Pro to help them craft their stories with rich and varied layers of detail and meaning.  The program guides you through hundreds of questions about character, plot, and theme which help you shape your writing into a richly detailed novel.  It takes some time to fully understand the unique perspective and techniques that are the foundation of the Dramatica Pro method of writing.  However, as you go through the process of using this software to develop your novel ideas, it has the added benefit of giving you an in-depth education about how to apply literary theory to your writing.  When you’re done with the process, you may feel as if you’ve received an MFA-level creative writing degree.  Plus, you’ll have a firm grasp of your story which will make the writing of your novel flow easily from your outline.  It is the most expensive option and has a fairly steep learning curve, but many users feel the improvement in the quality of their writing makes this program absolutely worth it.

Price: $229.95
Guarantee:  30 day unconditional money-back guarantee
Click Here to Check Out Dramatica Pro 4 Creative Writing Software Yourself



NewNovelist Novel Writing Software
NewNovelist Novel Writing Software

BEST FOR: Writers who want help structuring their novel using the archetype of the Hero’s Journey, a structure which resonates for readers because it reflects the essential human journey toward growth as we move through life.  It is also helpful for writing in various genres (romance, fantasy, mystery, etc.) and gives you guidelines for structuring each within the overall context of the Hero’s Journey.  It is the only one of the three programs I review here which offers a word-processor that will keep all your writing ideas, character sketches, and notes in one place for easy access.  You can easily jump around and work on whatever section of your novel inspires you each day and the program keeps track of it all for you.  It has the ability to propose first lines for you and will even read back your writing to you if you like, a nice feature.  It’s a great choice for writers who

UPDATE: There have been a number of changes to this program and the management of it recently which make me question the current quality of this program.  I’m in the process of updating my review here so please come back and see that soon.   Thanks!

Price: $54.99
Guarantee:  30 day unconditional money-back guarantee


Whichever program you choose, it will help you to write your novel with the enthusiasm and peace of mind that come from having an inspiring, overarching vision of where you are headed.  Best of luck to you and have fun writing!

Review of Novel In a Month Course

Write Your Novel in 28 Days!

Write Your Novel in 28 Days!

Have you always dreamed of writing a novel? Just imagine the wonderful feeling of creative ideas easily flowing onto the page.  And then see yourself holding your own published novel in your hands. Then one day, you walk into a bookstore and see your book on the best-seller table.  Can you even imagine yourself sitting at a table signing your book for a grateful reader?  Well, you can do it. With the right guidance and focus, you can write your own wonderful novel. The Novel In a Month Course will give you the support and guidance you’ll need to write your own compelling novel now.

My #1 Choice For Novel-Writing Books:

The Novel In a Month Course

What if I told you that you could write a really good novel in just one month? I know it sounds a little crazy, but many famous novelists do this all the time. Barbara Cartland wrote 623 best-sellers in her life, and sold over a billion books. And think about Stephen King, another super-successful and very prolific novelist. With good advice and specific guidance, you can do it, too. Dan Strauss’ Novel In a Month Course shows you the secret to writing a compelling, well-written novel in just 28 days.

The Novel In a Month Course shows you a whole range of special techniques to help you stay on track and finish your novel faster than you could have imagined.  It shows you how to develop strong, interesting characters.  It guides you step-by-step to create a best-selling plot.  You learn awesome techniques to keep the story intriguing and keep the tension building as you move forward.  And you’ll discover how to write an explosive ending that your readers won’t be able to put down until the last page.  Most amazing of all though, he shows you how to do all of this in just 28 days, writing just 40 minutes a day!

 Cost: $49.95

Guarantee: He’s got a great guarantee: Try the Course for three months. If you haven’t finished your novel and published it by then, he’ll give you a full refund. You really can’t beat that … it’s a no-lose situation for you. It’s worth a look, don’t you think? I mean, a month from now, you could have a finished novel!

To check out this amazing course for yourself,  visit the

Novel In a Month Course website here.