how to write a novel

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.

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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:

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

Arnold Schwarzenegger Can Pump Up Your Writing

Hear me now and believe me later:
Arnold Schwarzenegger’s rules of
success can help you write a novel.

by Laurence MacNaughton

What could Arnold Schwarzenegger possibly teach you about writing a novel?

A lot, as it turns out.

Schwarzenegger likes to talk about his “6 Rules of Success”. Believe it or not, these rules just might hold the key to your success as a writer. Continue reading

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

How to outline a novel – 3 things you need

By Laurence MacNaughton

Dear Laurence: What do I need to know beforehand in order to write a novel? I’ve been told by several different people that an author has to have a character outline (with a biography, as if he or she was a real living person), then a story outline, and I don’t know what all else…  Continue reading

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

How to revise a novel until it’s perfect (or not)

By Laurence MacNaughton

Dear Laurence: I recently got a request for pages from an agent that I pitched to at a conference. At the same time, I had also submitted my query to a workshop, and that editor emailed me and requested pages, too. I didn’t realize I would get this kind of response, so I was caught unprepared. What do I do? Continue reading

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

The Surprising Secret to Snappy Scenes

Got a scene in your novel where a group of characters argue and discuss, but no matter how important the subject is, somehow the tension falls flat?

You can fix this scene, and I’ll tell you the trick right up front: get rid of some of your characters. Why?  Continue reading

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

This Saturday: Instant Plot – Plan Out Your Novel the Easy Way

Hate outlining? You’re not alone. Tomorrow (9/8/12), I’ll be teaching Instant Plot at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers conference. Here’s what’s in store:  Continue reading

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

Don’t Kill Your Pitch: 5 Ways You Might Be Sabotaging Your Story

Nervous about pitching your work to an editor or literary agent? Just avoid these five deal-breaking mistakes and you’ll put yourself well ahead of the competition.  Continue reading

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How to Keep Readers Turning Pages: 3 Things You Must Do

Q: I’ve got a basic plot planned out for my novel, but I’m worried about being repetitive, because the story is about doing the same thing several times (the main character has a list of people he needs to “off”). Do you know of any way to pull off a plot like that without boring the reader or becoming predictable?  Continue reading

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

The Best Writing Tool You’re Not Using

Writing a novel on a typewriter? Hard.
Finishing your novel by any means possible? Smart!

Are you stuck in the middle of your novel? Do you keep going back to “fix” things in your story? Believe it or not, you might need a typewriter.  Continue reading

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

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