I recently was told about Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook by Donald Mass and decided to order a copy and give it a shot. Wow! What a difference it has made in the way I approach a story. This book is a wonderful way to help work out the character and plot kinks of a novel, but it is also very helpful with short stories as well.
This book is sectioned off into three parts Part 1: Character Development, Part 2: Plot Development, and Part 3: General Story Techniques. Each part then goes into great detail about each element within the categories. I love that Donal Mass has included a little "lesson" and follows up with exercises where I can input my own information, depending on the story I want to work on.
I highly recommend this book to anyone serious about writing a novel, or writing period. I, for one, give it huge points just for helping me figure out the tangled weave that is my novel Blood Feud. Thank you, Donald Mass.
Note: This Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook is NOT the same as the Writing the Breakout Novel. I have yet to read the latter, but from reviews, the Workbook is geared more to actively working on the plot of a story. The Writing Breakout Novel seems to take a more academic approach.