So as I said I would, here is a review for the latest reference book that I've read. Before I got this book, I of course read all the reviews on it that I could find, and although I read a lot that were very positive, I also read a lot that said this structure was very rigid and stifling, so I was a bit worried after I ordered it in. However, I feel that it really was worth the money that I spent on it.
The book is broken down into sixteen very easy steps. It starts out determining genre and then idea, moves into the lead character, romantic involvement and the lead character's confident. After fleshing out characters, the book moves onto the steps involving plotting. Marshall uses 'Sections' to make up his novel. The amount of sections used for each the beginning, middle and end are calculated through a table. How to plan and write these action and reaction sections come next, including how to connect them into one.
The book also gives valuable information on how to create a professional looking manuscript, a title page, synopsis and query letter as well as information about agents and how to find one. I loved the overall structure of this novel and the way it gave information in a clear and easy to understand way.
I have definitely seen a change in my writing since reading this book. I have been able to look at my writing and see some of the things that have been making it drag a little. Though it may not be for everyone, I recommend it to anyone who is interesting, there is a lot that can be learned from this book (such as editing, etc), even if you don't follow the structure that Marshall sets up. I found it very helpful and it will definitely be one of the top reference books on my shelf (right beside Techniques for the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain and Self editing for writers by Renni Browne and Dave King)