how to write a novel

How to Make Writing Your Career: Word Cafe Interview with Yours Truly

Word Cafe author interview

Just for the record, the lace doilies were not my idea. Now you know.

Hey, this is cool. Join me over at Word Cafe for an interview where I reveal everything I know about:

• Building a full-time career around writing, as a novelist and a copywriter — and what a copywriter does, exactly.

• How my first book from a New York publisher actually started out as a short story — and how I grew it into a novel.

• The pros and cons of being a hybrid author (both traditionally published and self-published).

• What my fiction writing process looks like. (It’s both crazier and more straightforward than you might think).

• And, of course, my top piece of advice for writers.

Read the complete interview here. >

P.S. Also, I’m giving away a few autographed paperback books to my newsletter subscribers. Don’t miss out. Click here to subscribe to my author newsletter. >

Categories: how to write a novel, The Writing Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Podcast: making The Leap to full-time writer

Listen to my interview on The Leap podcast, where we talk about making major life changes, being creative, conquering fear, and striving for the life you really want to live.

Here’s an excerpt:

THE LEAP: Laurence, what can you tell people about making the leap themselves? What should they look out for? What should they avoid?

LM: I would say the number one thing is to trust yourself. Have faith that you know what you need to do.

I would also say: go ahead and break some rules. Go outside the box. Do things that people think are not necessarily the way you should do them.

Do something a little bit crazy. But not so crazy that you expose yourself or others to great harm.

In other words, don’t go all in. Don’t say, ‘Oh, I’m going to write this book, or do whatever, and if this fails, I’m done.’

Go in knowing that you’re going to learn the skills that you may not have today. Don’t be afraid to fail.

Emphasize to yourself that you need to go and learn how to succeed. And then go out there and put massive effort into it.

And when you start having success, give something back. Start telling other people how to do it. Just like we’re doing on this podcast today.

It’s important to connect with other people who are trying to do the same things you’re trying to do, and be positive about it.

Listen to the interview here. >

 

P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for my author newsletter for freebies, sneak peeks, and a chance to win my new book. >

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Self Help | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 Keys to Writing Irresistible Plots

Flaming Horse of Doom

Why? Because, hey, Flaming Horse of Doom! That’s why.

If you’ve ever tried to write a book, you’ve probably struggled with plotting.

Plot is more than just what happens in the story. There’s a bigger structure to what happens, and when, and why.

Do it right, and you’ll create a gripping story. But do it wrong, and your story will get nothing but yawns.

Want to know the secret to writing irresistible plots?

Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

11 Tips for World-Building in Science Fiction and Fantasy

How do authors create an imaginary world from scratch? This weekend, I’ll offer writers some world-building tips at MileHiCon in Denver.

Can’t make it to the convention? No worries. Here are the answers to eleven of your burning world-building questions.

MileHiCon: How do authors go about building a world?

World Building, World Destroying Ray Gun

Don’t “zap” your story with world-building mistakes!

Laurence MacNaughton: Personally, I immerse myself in the strangest real-world research I can possibly find.

My novel The Spider Thief sprang from a real-life case of amnesia, a real lost city in the Amazon, a frighteningly real tarantula migration, and a scientific mystery about a real-life toxin that can steal your memories.

Truth is, of course, stranger than fiction. So the most interesting place to start a story is with the truth.

MHC: What are some mistakes other authors have made, and how do you avoid them?

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Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Short, Sad Saga of Mississippi Jones

Don't eat me!

Scary. Freakin’. Fish. That is all. Move along.

Some names stick with us.

Bridget Jones, Holden Caulfield, Nero Wolfe — these names are all indelibly stamped into our literary consciousness.

Those names are evocative. Memorable. Unique.

Some writers are incredibly good at coming up with names.

I am not one of them.

Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Uncategorized, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Top 3 Questions of Aspiring Writers

Thriller Author Interview

with Yours Truly

I’m always happy to answer questions from aspiring authors. This week, I got some tricky ones:

Q: How do you know when to end one chapter and start the next chapter?

A: You end a chapter as soon as the lead character either achieves their goal or fails.

The best place to end a chapter is immediately after you raise a new question in the reader’s mind. The desire to answer that question will make them turn the page. Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Uncategorized, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

12 Bestselling Authors Taught Me This

The light bulb moment

The light bulb moment for me was meeting an African storyteller and learning the universal truth of story.

Over the years, I’ve interviewed dozens of bestselling authors — and they all had the same advice.

I’ll tell you what it is in this interview at the Littleton Writers Critique Group.

I’ll also reveal the surprising advice my literary agent gave me . . . the “old school” trick to stop procrastinating and get more done . . . and the secret to writing every day.

Plus, I’ll talk about the African storyteller who taught me the key to writing a good story.

And I’ll even share the hidden formula to every story ever told — no kidding.

Click here to read the interview on the Littleton Writers Critique Group website >

What was your “light bulb moment”? Leave a comment!

Don’t forget to join my mailing list — you’ll get free e-books and other cool stuff in your email. Just click here.

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

How to Outline a Novel (Even If You Hate Outlines)

how to outline a novel

Outlining a novel is kind of like building a wall — one brick at a time. Flying monkeys optional.

Getting overwhelmed at the prospect of starting (or finishing) your novel? Feeling the pressure of hundreds of blank pages staring at you, waiting to be filled?

No sweat. Planning out a story is like building a wall:

You just do it one block at a time.

Just like a towering brick wall is made up of individual bricks, your manuscript is made up of individual parts.

You just have to break it down into small, easy-to-handle chunks, and then build it up from there. Here’s how.

Continue reading

Categories: For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing, writing a book, writing a novel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Art of Getting Things Done

Sun Tzu Ruined My Life

Don’t make them get medieval on you!

Sun Tzu ruined my life.

Don’t get me wrong, “The Art of War” contains some gems of insight for anyone engaged in a difficult struggle, like running a business.

(Or fighting a war with chariots and spears.)

But the problem is that Sun Tzu puts a great deal of emphasis on lightning-fast strikes intended to leave the enemy off-balance and lead to a swift victory. He recommends avoiding a prolonged conflict at all costs.

And he makes some good points.

But sometimes, you can only win the battle — or write a book — with a slow and steady application of force.

Continue reading

Categories: book business, For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why You Should NEVER Carry a Notebook

Levenger Index Card Holder Pocket Briefcase

Don’t carry a notebook in your pocket. Instead, carry index cards!

For many years, I carried a writing notebook with me everywhere I went. That’s what all serious writers do, I’ve always heard. But in truth, it’s a terrible idea.

Here’s why.

  • First, when you write in a notebook, your notes are locked in rigid sequential order. If you tend to think of things randomly (and who doesn’t?), you’ll spend a lot of time flipping back and forth through your pages to find something.
  • Second, it’s difficult and time-consuming to transcribe your notes from your notebook into the files for each project. I suppose if you’re the sort of person who only works on one story, ever, then this isn’t such a big deal. But I’m always working on a huge list of projects.
  • Third, notebooks get gnarly quickly. They get creased, folded, bent, ink-stained… It’s not pretty.

The Un-Notebook Solution

The secret is deceptively simple:

Continue reading

Categories: book business, For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel, writing | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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