Category Archives: Write a novel

Writing A Novel? 3 Easy Tips To Make It Fun

Writing A Novel? 3 Easy Tips To Make It Fun

You’re writing a novel, and you know that you’ll devote many hours to this project. What if those hours turn out to be a waste of time? Perhaps you won’t finish the project you started with high hopes.

Worse yet… A small part of you is cynical. It’s muttering in your ear: OK, so you’ll finish, but it won’t SELL, dummy…

These are all signs that you’re taking your baby novel much too seriously, and that’s dangerous.

Here’s why.

When you take writing a novel too seriously, your creativity dies

Yep. Your cold-hearted, determined, logical self can write. Unfortunately, it’s writing no one wants to read.

To boost your creativity you MUST let your creative self take over. This means no:

  • Backseat driving from your inner censor/ editor (where are you going with this? Is this supposed to make sense? Etc. and etc…);
  • Expectations. Having expectations of your first draft while you’re writing your first draft is like teacher asking kindergarten babies to explain their play, and exactly what they meant to achieve with that huge Lego tower…;
  • Distractions, such as following rules (your own, and others’) while you’re writing.

Your normal logical, anxious and kvetching self will NOT like this. It wants to be in charge, and fears a lack of control.

Remember your school days? Imagine that it’s the height of summer: what can you hear? Stop reading for a moment, and take yourself back to those days in your imagination

Were you there in your mind? That’s day-dreaming, and it’s the state of mind you need when you’re writing fiction.

Let’s look at some tips to help you to day-dream.

1. Your subconscious mind knows best

When you write a novel, encourage your logical self to take a back seat. Tell it that it can return when you’re revising and editing, but not before.

Expect that it will take time before you can switch to a day-dreaming mind state at will. While you’re getting practice in letting your creative self take charge, if you don’t know “what happens next” in your novel, you can:

  • Sleep on it. Before you go to sleep, muse about your novel;
  • Doodle or draw for a few minutes;
  • Go for a walk, or just move to another room. Not relaxed enough sitting at your desk? Lounge on your living room sofa and write on your phone.

2. Write forwards: towards the midpoint, and then the closing scene

We’ve talked about milestones in a novel:

Authors tend to use different expressions for the milestones; some authors call them “beats”, for example. I like the term milestones, because I think of a novel as a journey. You can call the milestones anything you wish.

Once you know your word count, you’ll know where the milestones will be. For example, if you get to the midpoint, and nothing much changes, you know you’d better look lively, otherwise your novel will meander over a cliff.

In your first draft, you’re telling yourself the story. Keep writing forwards — don’t go back.

3. Speed up: stop thinking, keep writing

My favorite acronym, which I’ve used for many years (I used to be the Queen of Overthinking) is: DDT — Do, Don’t Think.

When you’re busily thinking — that is, anxious and worrying — you’re not day-dreaming. Stop thinking. Start day-dreaming.

A word about day-dreaming: don’t try to manage it

Let’s say you’ve trained yourself to achieve the day-dreaming mind state at will.

What happens when your day-dreaming derails? That will happen. So, instead of day-dreaming about your thriller, in which the hero is confronting three large and angry terrorists, you’re imagining your upcoming weekend getaway.

That’s totally fine. You’re day-dreaming, so you’ve got the correct mindset. Gently steer your imagination where you want it to go. Imagine what your hero’s feeling: can you picture the scene in your mind?

On days when you’re especially distracted, switch between imagining your thriller (or whatever genre you’re writing), and free writing.

When you’re writing a novel, day-dreaming is valuable

Most authors are excellent day-dreamers. Unfortunately, at some stage you may have been told that day-dreaming is wrong. Perhaps you were accused of being a “dreamer”, and that blocks you today.

Be gentle with yourself while you’re getting back into the day-dreaming habit. Not only is day-dreaming fun, it’s an essential skill for a novelist.

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

Plan, Write, And Publish Serial Fiction In Four Weeks

eBook: $5.99

Why write serial fiction?

Everyone's busy today. A serial is by its nature, faster to write, and publish, than a novel.

It's a quicker read too, and many readers appreciate this. While a reader may hesitate before committing hours to a novel, he can read an episode of your serial in minutes.

If you’re a new author, a serial serves to introduce you to readers. A reader may not be willing to commit to a novel by a new author, but be willing to read an episode of a serial.

More info →
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Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

More info →

Resources to build your writing career

Check out Angela’s Writing Classes and Angela’s books for writers.

3 Tips To Writing Page-Turning Fiction, Starting Today

3 Tips To Writing Page-Turning Fiction, Starting Today

Want to write page-turning fiction?

Start by writing in scenes.

Then focus on the emotions.

Fiction is all about emotion

From Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic:

Fiction is all about emotion, and that emotion has reasons, which derive from action. You’ll often see novels which critics hate on top of various bestseller lists. Remember the fuss about the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy? Critics hated the books. However, those books sold in their millions. Why? Simple. Emotion. The books gave readers an emotional experience: they entertained readers, so the novels sold — and sold some more.

They’ll go on selling, because readers will always want entertainment.

Let’s look at some tips to help you to write fiction that readers love.

1. Focus on emotion while you write

We talked about outlining for emotion here:

Consider the emotions you want your reader to feel. Keep reminding yourself of the emotions as you write – this will soon become automatic. I’ve found that if I’m getting bored as I write, it’s always because I’ve lost the emotional thread. Throw in more conflict. Make your characters fight for what they want.

2. Find the feeling in each scene

It’s vital that you write in scenes, so that you can focus on the emotions, because readers are reading for emotion. When you focus on each scene, you can ask yourself:

  • Who wants what, here, in this scene?
  • What are they feeling?
  • Why?
  • What changes in the scene?

3. Think about what your characters want, before writing a scene

From Fiction Writing Basics: Focus On EMOTION:

Your characters have GOALS. If they don’t have goals, you don’t have a story. They also need to be motivated to achieve their goals: no motivation, no story. And of course, your characters don’t get an easy ride. Their goals are hard to achieve.

This means that your novels and short stories need to be about something important — important, that is, to the characters — important enough to raise strong emotions.

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Want to write better fiction? Know yourself emotionally

Writing fiction can be difficult, because (if you’re writing good fiction) you’re dealing with emotions, day after day. It’s wearing.

You may find yourself avoiding scenes which you know you need to write, because you don’t want to feel those emotions. That’s OK. Over time, you’ll become accustomed to manipulating readers’ emotions, and will understand your own emotions on a deeper level.

So you could say that writing fiction is therapeutic, and good for you. Remember to have fun with it. 🙂

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

More info →

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.

3 Quick NaNoWriMo Writing Tips To Boost Your Inspiration

3 Quick NaNoWriMo Writing Tips To Boost Your Inspiration

Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, you’re around a week into your novel, and your inspiration is flagging.

Professional novelists know that after a week or two of writing, or at around 10,000 words, they’ll hit “the wall.”

The wall is the point at which you think you’re writing the wrong novel.

You CAN complete a NaNoWriMo (or any novel) when your inspiration flags

Amazingly, the wall can seem like fresh inspiration.

A charmingly seductive voice whispers: your novel is boring. You made a mistake. Here’s a MUCH better idea… It’s a guaranteed bestseller. Drop the dreck, and write THIS NOW…

Dismiss the voice, please.

ALL novels hit the wall sooner or later. A “better idea” isn’t. You’ll hit the wall with that idea too.

Here are some tips to give your inspiration a swift kick up the derriere, so that you can complete your novel (whether it’s NaNoWriMo or not) in style.

1. Power through by outlining fresh scenes (even if you don’t know where they’ll fit)

Although the voice intends to derail you, it sometimes has a point about the “better idea.”

Thank the voice, and make a note of the idea it brought you. Tell it that you’ll work on its “idea” next, after you complete this novel.

Now, ask the voice, because it’s the part of your creative self which specializes in ideas, for fresh ideas for wonderful scenes for this novel. Tell the voice that the scenes can be for the setup, the middle portion, or the final quarter of your novel. You don’t care.

Ideas for new scenes will come to you.

Add the ideas where they fit. If you’re not sure, put the ideas into a “unplaced scenes” folder. Scrivener, if you’re using the app, makes creating folders easy.

2. Create differently: dictate, handwrite, or sketch-write to generate words

You can often break through the wall by changing the way you write.

You can:

  • Write in a coffee shop, or write on your phone;
  • Dictate the next few scenes;
  • Write several scenes by hand; or
  • “Sketch-write” the scenes.

When you “sketch write” you write your scenes in all dialogue, or jot notes for them. Tell yourself you’re just playing around, you’re not really writing anything at all.

Oddly enough, when you tell yourself that you’re not writing, you’re playing, your resistance dissolves. It’s a trick, and it works.

3. Rethink: what do you REALLY want to write? (A subplot may help)

The wall gifts you with clarity on all the holes in your plot, as well as insights into problems with your characters.

Don’t panic. Although the voice can be brutal, it’s helpful too, as long as you don’t dissolve into a puddle of tears and despair.

Since the voice tends to toss ideas at you, ask for an idea for a subplot.

Subplots are fun to write. They also make your novel richer.

In Writing Fiction: 3 Easy Tips For Subplots, we suggested some ideas for subplots:

… whatever your genre and main plot, a subplot can add a needed change of pace. Shakespeare often added humorous scenes to his tragedies. When there’s too much gloom and doom, you need a contrast so that readers appreciate the next horror scene.

Whatever your genre, humor is always welcome. Try creating a character or two for comic relief.

Consider adding a romantic subplot, if you’re writing in a genre (science fiction, thrillers, mysteries) which doesn’t need romance. In these genres, a romantic subplot not only aids character development, it also provides a useful change of pace.

NaNoWriMo: onward, ever onward. Keep writing

If you refuse to stop writing when you hit the wall, you’ll discover that you’ll tap into fresh inspiration and will power through your novel.

Use the above tips to regain your enthusiasm.

Have fun. 🙂

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

Step By Step To Fiction Which Sells: Plotting And Scene Magic

eBook: $5.99

Your readers want to enter your novel's world. They want to experience your book -- they want to live your book with your main characters.

More info →
Buy from Barnes and Noble Nook
Buy from Scribd
Buy from Kobo
Buy from Apple Books
Buy from Amazon Kindle
Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

Master Fiction Writing: Craft A Novel in 31 Days

$4.99
Author:
Series: Selling Writer Strategies, Book 4
Genre: Writing
Tag: writing fiction

You want to write a novel. Perhaps you can't get started. Or maybe you got started, and then you stopped.You need a plan, broken down into easy steps. This program began as a 30-day challenge which I organized for readers in 2010. Hundreds of writers joined the challenge and completed it. They wrote novels.

More info →

Resources to build your writing career

Get daily writing news and tips on the blog’s Facebook page.

Need help with your writing? Visit our online store, or check out Angela’s books for writers.