Great Resources: The Better Novel Project


I suppose that every writer has their favourite resources because every writer needs a place to turn for a bit of help from time to time. A great resource could be anything from a non-fiction book about writing, to a website or a novel (or series of novels) that you turn to for inspiration, to just about any other source under the sun. This post is the first in a series I plan to post about once a month giving you my resource top tips.

This past week I have turned my back on my WIP and turned my attention to my NaNoWriMo project. It is only just over a week to go, after all.

My 2016 NaNoWriMo project is a Young Adult novel. I had this idea a little while ago and it just works so well in the genre. The only trouble is that I’ve never written in the genre before and I don’t read that much in it either. I love The Hunger Games and Harry Potter. I’ve got a lot of love for Divergent too, but beyond that my experience is limited. A bit dismal really. But then I found The Better Novel Project.

The site is the brainchild of Christine Frazier. She studied creative writing at Johns Hopkins and then went on to law school. She combined her research and creative skills and the Better Novel Project was born. On the site, Christine deconstructs novels to discover common elements to help writers create better and hopefully successful novels.

So far, Christine’s research has focused on the trifecta of the young adult genre: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, The Hunger Games and Twilight. This makes the site the perfect resource for anyone working on a genre novel. There’s so much really useful stuff, a lot of which is grounded in established texts, such as Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

So where’s the good stuff? There are a couple of NaNoWriMo posts that are really useful and relevant for right now, but the most valuable thing on the site is the Master Outline. It’s a genre break down in three acts with sections for character, scene and plot development. This is a fantastic starting point, particularly going into NaNoWriMo. Even if I end up not using the outline, the fact that this is here for those days when I’m stuck for something to write (it usually happens somewhere in the second week when everything’s starting to get a little dull and flat) is a huge a relief. Don’t want to stick to the outline, there’s a very handy cheatsheet which provides a prompt for every day of November. Write 1,667 words for each one of those prompts and you’ll have a rough draft by the end of November. Say what!

Check it out. I hope you find it as useful as I have.


4 thoughts on “Great Resources: The Better Novel Project

  1. betternovelproject

    Hi KJ!

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am happy that you are finding my research useful! Good luck with NaNo!



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