I picked up this popular book in hopes of jump-starting a writing project that I had stewing in my mind. I wasn’t under any delusions that I might actually have a viable draft of a novel in only 90 days, and after reading this book I’m sticking with that thought.
The book is laid out with a lengthy discussion and an exercise for each of the prescribed 90 days. The author is very set on having a detailed outline prior to doing any actual novel writing, so the first 30 days are exploration exercises aimed at helping you prepare an outline. She recommends that you allot two to three hours per day to complete each exercise, but most of them are pretty in depth and would take much longer than that to complete. Not to mention that while I understand the benefits of having a good outline to begin your story, spending 30 days exploring that outline in such incredible detail seems a bit overkill to me.
That being said, the exercises are aimed at developing character, brainstorming plot, and creating conflict, which are all excellent areas to explore prior to writing a novel. I found the book most helpful in reading it straight through and bookmarking the helpful hints, rather than trying to follow it day-by-day as a guide to getting a draft completed in 90 days. It’s very detailed in the opening outlining stages and then gives less and less guidance as you move along.
What really bothered me was the overly upbeat, pep-talky tone that the author uses throughout the book. I know she means to be inspiring and helpful, but when I read the line “Get to it, buster!” I nearly abandoned the book altogether.
I don’t think this book delivers its promise of helping you draft a complete novel in 90 days, but it is full of thought provoking exercises and hints that might be helpful as you move along at your own pace.