A guide to writing a novel


She lives in Vermont with her family. Visit her website or connect with her on Twitter.

People say that you should "write what you know. In this blog post, I'm going to share what I've learned from a quarter century of working with writers. How do you design a novel? Work Out What Happens in Detail Writing the plot is the big one, at least in terms of how long it will take you. Keep your forward momentum! Whether you have a lot of revision to do or hardly any, the aim is to end up with a clean manuscript where WHAT you say in your novel is as perfect as you can make it. Where Should I Begin?

Make her flawed and believable. Let her live and breathe and give her the freedom to surprise you and take the story in unexpected directions. Give that character a compelling problem.

A guide to writing a novel

At the heart of every story is conflict — whether external or internal, make it a good one, and remember that this problem is going to shape your character, leaving her forever changed. Pay it Forward — 11 Ways You Can Help a Friend Market Their New Book.

A guide to writing a novel

In my books, I make sure something important to the a guide to writing a novel is happening in each scene. Ah, you say, but you sometimes write stories with ghosts and fairies — how believable is that?

Writing a guide a novel to Malcolm

It works if you make it believable in the universe of the book. I gave her a history and compelling reason to return.

Cases guide a novel to a writing down

Readers hate cheap tricks. Stick with it the project.

Then work twice as hard to revise it. Do your best to get it out in the world. In the meantime, write another. Trust me, you get better every time.

How to Write a Novel

It took me four books, two agents and seven years to get my first novel published. It was a long tough road, but so, so worth it in the end!

Sometimes an outline can actually be more helpful after you've completed a draft or two of your novel. Think about these questions as you sketch out the parameters of the new world you're creating: In short, there's a lot of detail to figure out and place in the right order. The purpose of each step in the design process is to advance you to the next step. Because it's actually composed of several smaller ideas — more specifically, ideas covering the four elements of a story If you believe in the Three-Act structure, then the first disaster corresponds to the end of Act 1.

I think the work comes out better when we leave all that behind; when the only thing to be true to is the writing.


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