However, this book reinforced so many of the lessons she taught.
"The Mind of Your Story" is a mix of personal narrative and authorial advice from Lisa Lenard-Cook's experiences. It would be fine as a supplemental resource though, and one could find a helpful bibliography of the books on writing, fiction resources and non-fiction that Lenard-Cook references in the back of the narrative.
Do not read this book.The advice is sound, but nothing new. The truth is I simply create my characters differently; the character development I'm suggesting you do on paper instead takes place in my right brain--at the same time those fictional seeds are germinating." (18) Note: I am not pulling out every line and aside that irritated me. All I could think reading this was-- (1) watermelons are not pink; (2) good for you for knowing the origin of the mountains' name. The next bit came after a friend rejected the author's advice: "I still smile when I think of this wonderful, stubborn friend and her equally stubborn narrator--along with her book, which could have been something if she'd wanted to invest more time in it." From the section on pov: "Finally, please understand that I personally adore writing multiple-limited point-of-view novels. But because I understand the above limitations, I've tried to use the method in ways that haven't (to my knowledge) been tried before and to create fictions that are surprising and new." Chapter 6: "So affecting was this character that I suggested she try writing a novel from his point of view. I've been working with this group a long time and such suggestions don't terrify them as they might students less familiar with my workshops." At one point she wrote a sentence that was intended to be difficult to understand and abstract: "Linguist S. I do not recommend that you read the book to find the rest, however. There are so many other books on writing out there; avoid this one.
And while the author is very clear about her opinion that her methods won't work for everyone, she nonetheless spends a great deal of time getting into the specifics of her methods for writing a novel. So specific does she get, in fact, that at times this reads more like an author's memoir than a reference for writing. (King did a better job of this in his own book, On Writing.) All and all, some practical advice for beginners here and there in the first third to half. (Which the author clearly disdains, without shame.) Unless you have been writing a while and want to try a whole new approach to creating your next fiction, I don't think this book is a good place to start.
To help with this process, Lisa Lenard-Cook has written The Mind of Your Story: Discover What Drives Your Fiction, an informative and well-written guide to help a beginning novelist find their way into the writing world or a published author find the missing key in their latest novel. Lenard-Cook has such a distinctive voice, and her passion for writing helps this reference book not seem so much as a guide but more like a story on how she found her way to discovering this tried and true method of building a novel. (The first is not necessarily a problem but more of a warning, per say) Although this book is very detailed and Lenard-Cook does a wonderful job explaining the writing process from a successful authors point of view, it may seem intimidating to the weak of heart; not realizing how much goes into a novel.
Writing is an obsession and requires hours, and hours, and hours of dedicated work.
Her process for revising was interesting, but again completely different to how I work.