Novel Writing

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Writing a Novel?

 Join us in our novel writing month and enjoy lots of tips and techniques to help you get your novel writing dreams on track.Whether you are an enthusiastic amateur or a writer taking your book towards publication, you will find tips here to take  your writing and marketing skills to a new level. Throughout July, bookmark these pages for inspiration and advice.

 Read Week 2 Articles here

Read Week 3 Articles here

Book Promotions on Steroids – The Power of Internet Radio

 

In today’s competitive book market it’s imperative to create a marketing campaign that is second to none. It doesn’t matter whether you are self-published or traditionally published, and especially if you are a relatively new and unproven author. Publishers expect you to do your part more than ever before to promote your book.

In most cases, if your book doesn’t rack up sales in the first 30-60 days, you’ll be quickly dumped off their priority list. And this dooms your book to permanent mid-list status or worse. Your initial tiny promotional budget will have been eaten up-and then the pressure will be on for you to get sales for your book or loose complete support.

So, don’t miss a beat. Along with every possibility to promote your book, don’t forget Internet radio. Depending on your book’s genre, there are literally thousands of radio talk shows now, thanks to the advent of Internet radio. Do your research. You’ll want to be sure that the Host and programming is suitable before you make your pitch. No sense in pitching a book about fishing to a political program.

When you get interviews lined up, be sure to get your book materials mailed or emailed to the host. Ask what their preference is. If you’ve never done an interview before, relax. It’s easy with the right host. He or she will lead you almost magically. You’ll usually be sent guidelines. Some will send you a list of questions that will be asked. Some prefer to keep the spontaneity of the program fresh and withhold their episode questions.

As a host myself, I prefer to keep things somewhat spontaneous-however, I don’t believe in “Gotcha” questions, so I let my guest know about the direction I will be heading shortly before the interview. My show is part of a complete promotions package so I’m usually in touch with the author and their publicist in advance on a number of different angles to promote the book.

In any event, when you put together a great marketing and promotions package for your book, be sure to include Internet radio. Your successful interviews will help open doors to other great opportunities in traditional radio, print media and even television.

The question I am most often asked about novel writing is ‘Where do you even begin?’ This brief guide to how to write a novel will hopefully point you in the right direction. More specifically, it offers a 7-step approach to writing a novel.

1. Think about why you want to write a novel

This is one of the most important steps of all, and certainly not one to be rushed. Are you writing for money or for the love of doing it? Are you going to treat it like a job or a hobby? Will you write what you want to write or what you believe will sell well?

Unless you work out at the beginning your motivation for writing a novel, what you hope to get out of it, and how long you intend to take, you could easily end up disappointed.

2. Decide which genre of fiction to write

Broadly speaking, there are two types of novels: literary fiction and popular fiction. If you decide to write a literary novel, you are free to tackle any subject in any way you choose. If you write popular fiction, you will need to decide which category in particular you intend to target – crime, horror, romance and so on – and then to stick to the conventions of that category.

The best advice here is to write what you like to read. If you write a detective novel because you love to read them, that is great. If you write a detective novel because you believe there is more money in it, you could be heading for trouble.

3. Brainstorm for novel ideas

Novel ideas are funny things. On the one hand, they are completely worthless (try getting a publisher to give you some money on the strength of a mere idea). On the other hand, they can seem like the Holy Grail when you are struggling to find one.

There is a myth among writers that one of the most difficult aspects of how to write a novel is finding an idea in the first place. But they are actually easy to find, so long as you know how to go about it the right way. In a nutshell, my method involves lots of brainstorming – for character ideas, setting ideas and so on – and then rearranging all these fragments like jigsaw pieces, until a picture emerges.

4. Plan your novel

We’re getting to the business-end of novel writing now!

Some writers like to plan a book in great depth before they start writing; others arm themselves with little more than a pen and a blank sheet of paper and see where the story takes them.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to how to write a novel – you must do whatever suits you best. But if you want my advice, I would always recommend that you plan your story in some detail before you begin to write, particularly if this is your first novel.

More specifically, I would recommend that you:

 

  • Draw up mini-biographies for each of your principal characters.
  • Plot the novel, in the form of a chapter-by-chapter outline.
  • Decide on the novel’s theme – or what you want your book to ‘say.’
  • Construct the setting, by writing brief descriptions of the overall setting and the important locations within it.
  • Decide which viewpoint to use – first or third person?

5. Write your novel 

Like I said, whether to plan a novel just a little or a lot is up to you. Either way, you will eventually be faced with the task of turning a few hundred sheets of blank paper into a first draft.

The trick here is to take it one writing session at a time and not to look ahead. Writing 100,000 words can be scary, writing 1,000 words isn’t. You will be amazed at how quickly the pages pile up.

Something else to remember is that what you are doing here is writing a first draft – and drafts, by their very nature, end up in the recycling bin. In other words, your prose doesn’t have to read like Hemingway the first time around – so don’t even try. In fact, if you are anything like most writers, you will probably hate what you produce in the first instance. That is normal. Making the words pretty happens during the sixth stage of the novel writing process…

6. Revise your novel

If you have the ability to write a page of prose and for that page to be perfect in every way imaginable, with not so much as a comma out of place, you are either very brilliant or very stupid. A lot of famous novelists – James Michener and John Irving, for example – have admitted that they are not great writers but excellent re-writers.

Editing a manuscript involves both looking at what you have said and how you have said it. In other words, first check the plot and the characters (and so forth) for inconsistencies, then work on the language itself. Oh, and don’t stop until you have reached the end – far too many writers jeopardize their chances with too-hasty submissions.

7. Sell your novel

You have done all the hard work and it is now time to claim the prize that awaits you: seeing your novel in print.

There are two ways of getting a book published:

 

  • First, you can sell it to a publisher (or place it with an agent who will approach a publisher on your behalf).
  • Or you can go it alone and publish it yourself.

The best advice here is to always try to sell it to a conventional publisher, and to do so via a literary agent. The bad news here is that this will involve an awful lot of waiting around (agents and publishers are notoriously slow). The good news is that this will give you plenty of time to make a start on your next novel. Don’t worry, it is much easier the second time around! 

And that is it: a 7-step guide to how to write a novel. Of course, the novel writing process is a lot more complicated than that. But hopefully, by identifying the separate steps you need to take, the decision to start writing a novel at all will not now be quite so daunting.

 

Patricia Kelley is a “change teacher” and guide for individuals and businesses seeking to move into and through change. This can include everything from small changes in one’s life or business–to the larger “revamping” of same. She is an expert in conscious marketing and PR in many areas–including books and authors. Kelley is also a writer, speaker and workshop leader on conscious marketing, embracing and creating change, and The Feminine Path. Let her help you in your personal or business change. http://thechangeteacher.com

Kelley also hosts The Promote With Patty Show on Sedona Talk Radio http://sedonatalkradio.com/promote-with-patty

  

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Patricia_Kelley

 

 

 

  How to Write a Novel

  

The question I am most often asked about novel writing is ‘Where do you even begin?’ This brief guide to how to write a novel will hopefully point you in the right direction. More specifically, it offers a 7-step approach to writing a novel.

1. Think about why you want to write a novel

This is one of the most important steps of all, and certainly not one to be rushed. Are you writing for money or for the love of doing it? Are you going to treat it like a job or a hobby? Will you write what you want to write or what you believe will sell well?

Unless you work out at the beginning your motivation for writing a novel, what you hope to get out of it, and how long you intend to take, you could easily end up disappointed.

2. Decide which genre of fiction to write

Broadly speaking, there are two types of novels: literary fiction and popular fiction. If you decide to write a literary novel, you are free to tackle any subject in any way you choose. If you write popular fiction, you will need to decide which category in particular you intend to target – crime, horror, romance and so on – and then to stick to the conventions of that category.

The best advice here is to write what you like to read. If you write a detective novel because you love to read them, that is great. If you write a detective novel because you believe there is more money in it, you could be heading for trouble.

3. Brainstorm for novel ideas

Novel ideas are funny things. On the one hand, they are completely worthless (try getting a publisher to give you some money on the strength of a mere idea). On the other hand, they can seem like the Holy Grail when you are struggling to find one.

There is a myth among writers that one of the most difficult aspects of how to write a novel is finding an idea in the first place. But they are actually easy to find, so long as you know how to go about it the right way. In a nutshell, my method involves lots of brainstorming – for character ideas, setting ideas and so on – and then rearranging all these fragments like jigsaw pieces, until a picture emerges.

4. Plan your novel

We’re getting to the business-end of novel writing now!

Some writers like to plan a book in great depth before they start writing; others arm themselves with little more than a pen and a blank sheet of paper and see where the story takes them.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to how to write a novel – you must do whatever suits you best. But if you want my advice, I would always recommend that you plan your story in some detail before you begin to write, particularly if this is your first novel.

More specifically, I would recommend that you:

 

  • Draw up mini-biographies for each of your principal characters.
  • Plot the novel, in the form of a chapter-by-chapter outline.
  • Decide on the novel’s theme – or what you want your book to ‘say.’
  • Construct the setting, by writing brief descriptions of the overall setting and the important locations within it.
  • Decide which viewpoint to use – first or third person?

5. Write your novel

 

Like I said, whether to plan a novel just a little or a lot is up to you. Either way, you will eventually be faced with the task of turning a few hundred sheets of blank paper into a first draft.

The trick here is to take it one writing session at a time and not to look ahead. Writing 100,000 words can be scary, writing 1,000 words isn’t. You will be amazed at how quickly the pages pile up.

Something else to remember is that what you are doing here is writing a first draft – and drafts, by their very nature, end up in the recycling bin. In other words, your prose doesn’t have to read like Hemingway the first time around – so don’t even try. In fact, if you are anything like most writers, you will probably hate what you produce in the first instance. That is normal. Making the words pretty happens during the sixth stage of the novel writing process…

6. Revise your novel

If you have the ability to write a page of prose and for that page to be perfect in every way imaginable, with not so much as a comma out of place, you are either very brilliant or very stupid. A lot of famous novelists – James Michener and John Irving, for example – have admitted that they are not great writers but excellent re-writers.

Editing a manuscript involves both looking at what you have said and how you have said it. In other words, first check the plot and the characters (and so forth) for inconsistencies, then work on the language itself. Oh, and don’t stop until you have reached the end – far too many writers jeopardize their chances with too-hasty submissions.

7. Sell your novel

You have done all the hard work and it is now time to claim the prize that awaits you: seeing your novel in print.

There are two ways of getting a book published:

 

  • First, you can sell it to a publisher (or place it with an agent who will approach a publisher on your behalf).
  • Or you can go it alone and publish it yourself.

The best advice here is to always try to sell it to a conventional publisher, and to do so via a literary agent. The bad news here is that this will involve an awful lot of waiting around (agents and publishers are notoriously slow). The good news is that this will give you plenty of time to make a start on your next novel. Don’t worry, it is much easier the second time around!

 And that is it: a 7-step guide to how to write a novel. Of course, the novel writing process is a lot more complicated than that. But hopefully, by identifying the separate steps you need to take, the decision to start writing a novel at all will not now be quite so daunting.

  

Harvey Chapman is a published writer and a full-time teacher of creative writing. He founded his Novel Writing Web Site in early 2008. You will find more detailed articles on the issues raised above in the How To Write a Novel Section.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Harvey_Chapman

 

 Writing Murder Mystery Novels – 10 Must-Include Narrative Points Vital to Your Success

   by Richard Freeland

 

Writing murder mystery novels takes a clever mind coupled with a pinch of deviousness. But it need not be hard.

Here are 10 points that all would-be authors writing murder mystery novels need to include in their books if they want literary (and monetary) success.

1) There must be a “why” – a reason for the murder to be committed. And it must not be obvious.

Whether the motive is money, revenge, cover-up, love rejected, on some other, the reason for violent death must be there, and believable. The motive is the core of the plot.

2) Characters are all-important, especially the protagonist (your hero or heroine) and the antagonist (the murderer). Your good guy should be resourceful, have at least average courage, and be like a bulldog on a scent. He need not be a cop.

Your villain should be ruthless, capable of doing whatever it takes to push forward his agenda. Hero and villain alike should be drawn as if they were real people, not caricatures or stereotypes.

3) Your hero should have a fatal flaw, something that could cause him to fail in his quest to solve the mystery. Likewise, the villain should not be pure evil. Give him some human traits.

Actually, a bad guy with some humanity is even more likely to cause readers to cringe.

4) Introduce the hero and the villain early in the book when writing murder mystery novels. Your hero is the sleuth, and should appear as early as possible.

The villain should come in somewhat later, but not too late. Fit his appearance in with the other, secondary characters the detective will be investigating.

5) Include a host of colorful secondary characters who have a motive or reason to want the victim dead. Some may be likable, humorous or despicable, but all should have their reasons to kill, or the chance to have killed, the victim.

Authors, play fair here. Give your readers an honest chance, through clues planted throughout the narrative, for them to solve the mystery. Planting red herrings – false clues or mis-information – is perfectly good form, as long as it’s integral to the investigation. No cheating!

6) The murder should occur very early in the book, in the first chapter if possible, but no later than the third. Make it violent, gruesome, and horrific.

If it happens to a character who’s innocent and likable, so much the better.

7) Make sure your sleuth solves the crime using only his intellect and rational deductive powers, coupled with sound scientific methods.

No “God in the Machine” revelations, supernatural events, or coincidence.

8) Make your world believable. Here’s where writing about what you know is good advice. Whether you live in New York City or Jekyll Island, Georgia, create a milleau based on a real place, with vivid, accurate details. If you know the seamy side of your setting, you can bet your readers will be right there with you.

A good mystery can be set anywhere, even in space (see the movie “Outland”, with Sean Connery).

9) What you don’t know, research thoroughly. Use primary sources (experts like police forensic specialists) as well as secondary resources (books, magazines, historical papers).

Having the correct details are critical! For example, if you reveal the symptoms of a poison used to kill your victim, you can be sure that some of your readers will be experts on that poison, and will delight in writing to let you know when you’re wrong.

A good source for weapons research is Murder by Proxy, a great little book on writing murder mystery novels. As well as weapons, it covers editing your manuscript, getting published, and more.

10) Wait until the bitter end to reveal the murderer.

Revealing the killer early in the book makes your novel a thriller, not a mystery. Readers buy who-dunnits because they want a chance to help your hero find out, well, who done it.

Keep these 10 vital narrative points in mind when writing murder mystery novels. Who knows, the next big blockbuster may be yours!

 

About the Author

Richard Freeland is a freelance writer and a licensed landscape architect. You can read more of his non-fiction at Suite101. Or learn all about Jekyll Island, Georgia at his website Jekyll Island Family Adventures.

 

 
 

 

 

You’ll Never ‘Find’ Time to Write

by P.L. Blair

The two most frequent comments I hear at book signings are:

“I have a book I’d like to write. It’s in my head.”

“I’d like to write, but I can’t find the time.”

To the first question, I respond, Get it out of your head and onto paper.

As for “finding” time to write, we all have such busy lives these days, it’s a wonder we “find” time to do anything!

Bottom line: If you’re putting your writing on hold until you “find” time to do it, you’ll never write anything.

Time isn’t “found.” It’s seized by the throat, wrestled to the ground, and subjected to our will. We make time for what’s important in our lives.

How badly do you want to write? I sidelined a career as a novelist for 30-plus years while I wrote for newspapers – a business I got into in the first place because I wanted to be a novelist, and I wanted some way to earn money while I honed my writing skills.

I dabbled at novel-writing during those years, but I never really got off the ground. I’d come home “too tired to write.” Eventually I convinced myself that covering the news was where I needed to be, and I gave up on the novelist career altogether. Was I playing safe? Trading the sometimes chancy path of a fiction writer for the security of a regular paycheck? I don’t know.

Nor am I saying those years were wasted. I learned a great deal during those years. Not only about writing but about people. The characters in your book are at least as important as the plot. Plot provides your framework, but it’s the characters that seize your reader’s attention.

No matter how exciting your plot, your reader really won’t care whether John gets eaten by the shark unless she cares about John.

Newspaper work brought me into contact with hundreds of people I’d never have met otherwise: politicians, good and bad; farmers and ranchers; environmentalists; police officers and sheriff’s deputies; attorneys and judges; people ordinary and extraordinary. The media can offer a crash course in the variety and vagaries of the human race.

Not to mention offering enough plot ideas for several hundred books.

But four years ago, I had an awakening: Writing for newspapers wasn’t what I really wanted to do with the rest of my life. I’d lost sight of my original focus. I wanted – more than wanted; needed – to start my career as a writer of books.

I still didn’t have time. Working for the media can mean long days, and weeks that almost never end after only 40 hours.

Here’s the secret: If you really, really, really want to write, you make that your priority, and you look for the time you need. In my case, because I’m a morning person, I set the alarm clock for an hour earlier, getting up at 5 a.m. instead of 6, and using that extra time to write. Most days, because of my schedule at the newspaper, I could squeeze an extra 30 minutes to an hour at lunch time and use that for writing as well.

Other writers I know, night-owls, do their work in the evening instead of watching television.

When you make your writing time doesn’t matter: before work, after work, after you get the kids to bed, the wee hours of the morning.

What’s critical is that you make those extra minutes instead of sitting around waiting for them to show up on your doorstep like the check-bearing crew from Publisher’s Clearing House.

It’s been said that if you write one page a day, at the end of the year, you’ll have a manuscript of 365 pages. That’s a respectable 91,250 words. Double your production – two pages a day – and you have a novel of more than 109,000 words.

It can be done. You may even discover that, the more you write, the more productive you become. Push yourself, challenge yourself. When it becomes comfortable to write two pages a day, go for three.

Whether you’ll do it depends on how you answer one question: What’s your priority? My own mentors, authors Michael and Kathleen Gear, phrase it another way: “What are you willing to sacrifice for your writing?”

Sacrifice will be required. You can’t make time for anything without giving up something else, even if its just an extra hour of sleep in the morning or a couple of hours of TV at night. So …

What are your priorities? What are you willing to sacrifice?

Maybe you don’t want to sacrifice anything. Maybe writing isn’t as high on your priority list as you thought. That’s okay. Good to know it now, and get on with what you really want to do with your life.

But if writing tops your priority list, then decide now what you’ll do to achieve your goal. Make time, and start today.

 

P.L. Blair is author of four books, and counting, in her Portals fantasy/detective series. To learn more about her and her books, visit her online at http://www.plblair.com/.

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