writing a novel

Is Your Story Stuck? 5 Questions You Need to Ask

Fiction University Janice HardyWriting a book but feeling stuck?

Do you have the sneaking suspicion that your story went off the rails somewhere?

Don’t worry. You can fix practically any story problem just by asking yourself five simple questions.

Read the full post on Fiction University >

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Ask an Author: World Building and Exposition

Ever wanted to know how a science fiction or fantasy author builds an imaginary world?

What Is World Building?

How do authors create strange new worlds? Find out!

Authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, Stephanie Meyer, J.K. Rowling, Frank Herbert, William Gibson and scores of others are renowned for the worlds they’ve created.

What makes them so intriguing?

I’ve been invited to join a handful of other authors at MileHiCon here in Denver this month to talk about the reasons why (and how to do it).

What Is World Building?

Continue reading

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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

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BookGoodies.com: Do you listen (or talk to) to your characters?

Do you talk to your characters?

Cure for writer’s block: nude finger puppets.

I once got to hear Orson Scott Card talk about his writing method. He went on at great length about how the voices of his characters talked to him.

The voices told him to do this, he said, the voices told him to do that.

As he droned on endlessly, a friend leaned over to me and said in a stage whisper:

“My voices are telling me to kill!”

The audience cracked up. Orson Scott Card was not amused.

But the thing is . . . that really is how it works. You hear the characters in your head, the same way you can hear the voices of your parents or your friends.

You know what they would say in a certain situation. And when you’re writing a book, you can turn that into the story.

Read the rest of the interview on BookGoodies.com >

Plus, you can sign up for free cool stuff when you join my author newsletter. >

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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

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.

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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

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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

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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

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