Author: Mary Anna Evans
Publisher: Joyeuse Press
Mary Anna Evans, renowned writer of eight novels, two nonfiction books and a collection of short works, has written a step-by-step guide for the first time fiction writer titled Your Novel: Day by Day ~ A Fiction Writer’s Companion. It is a daily pep-talk, cheer/rooting instructional, how-I-did-it-myself compilation of three hundred and sixty five essays, meant to be read each day of the year.
This two hundred and eighty four page soft cover book has a colorful front jacket depicting four seasons and a synopsis and short biography with a color photo of the author on the back. As the writer mentions, there is no preface or forward but her other written works are cited along with acknowledgements at the beginning and reviews with a more detailed biography at the end.
No grammatical or typographical errors were found except one spacing issue. Surprisingly, since there are a few essays on punctuation, there was an overuse of ellipsis and parenthesis sentence structures mostly to state the author’s wit, humor, sarcasm or personal opinion along with repetitive exclamation points or question marks. The word “just” was sometimes used unnecessarily and there was redundancy in topics. The book appears to be in casual, not professional format, meaning numbers are not always spelled out, contractions are used liberally, and the word “ain’t” is stated at least twice. It is written carefree as if Mary Anna is discussing her writing with the reader over a cup of coffee, taking away some professionalism.
Evans gives the reader a daily “devotional” of how to write a novel, based on her own experiences. The day’s essay could be short one or two sentences to two or three pages. She mentions how she sits in a recliner to write, stops to pet her cat or has a chat with Corbin Benson, at times totally unrelated to the task at hand. In several essays, every starting sentence to her own novels and short stories, each character plot and all points-of view with her own writings are written. The reader learns Evans was a divorced single parent, has three children, compares Gone with the Wind to her book, was a fishing criminal, loves her large piano, etc.
The reader will glean important tips, tricks and ways to help write one’s own novel. This reader will now start noticing every mystery novel’s page sixty-nine for good writing validation. The last twenty to thirty pages concentrate on what to do after the book is written; this has the most value and is well-written.
For this reader, all reading was done over a few days, not daily for an entire year, thus altering the intention of Evan’s writing the book in this format. This could be why repetition was noticed but it may not be for the first time novelist who needs help writing.
Posted May 2012: