Articles about how to write a novel

The Essential Reading List: Dystopian

by ProWritingAid May 19, 2018

We’re covering one of the most challenging genres to read and write: dystopian. What happens to our world when everything goes wrong?

Speculating about the future, which usually has turned for the worse, creates some of the most dysfunctional dystopian worlds that stick in our memory for years. In this article, we examine our top dystopian picks.

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Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

by Jennifer Xue May 09, 2018

Fiction Archetypes that Sell Like Wildfire

Fiction writers don't start from scratch. They can utilize existing character and story archetypes, personality and emotional types, and the goals and the fears of each type. Combining them in a strong storyline is almost a guarantee for creating best-selling works.

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Characters: Raise the Stakes to Make Readers Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

by Kathy Edens May 08, 2018

Characters: Raise the Stakes to Make Readers Love 'Em or Hate 'Em

Not all characters are created equal. We teach you the techniques you need to grab your readers by the emotional coat-tails with these three character types.

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Writing a Mystery? How to Get Readers to Love Your Sleuth

by Zara Altair Apr 30, 2018

Writing a Mystery? How to Get Readers to Love Your Sleuth

How to create a sleuth readers will love. Check this strategy to build your mystery protagonist from concept to detail.

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The Essential Reading List: Horror

by Kathy Edens Apr 02, 2018

The Essential Reading List: Horror

This April, we're sharing 30 horror stories everyone should devour. See which tales set readers' spines tingling, followed by our own top picks.

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Writing Characters & Making Decisions: "What Kind of Story Are You Telling?"

by Kathy Edens Mar 28, 2018

Writing Characters & Making Decisions: "What Kind of Story Are You Telling?"

Let’s take a look at the four types of stories that Orson Scott Card says comprises every novel. He uses the acronym "MICE", which stands for milieu, idea, character, event.

Within this framework, Card argues something deeply contoversial: not all novels require in-depth characterization.

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Why an Editing Tool is Like a Hovering Librarian

by Kathy Edens Mar 28, 2018

Why an Editing Tool is Like a Hovering Librarian

Imagine a kindly, bespectacled woman with fresh, minty breath hovering over your shoulder as you pour words out on the screen. Her critical task is to help you make every word choice the best and to guide you to clearer, more concise sentences. She has your literary best interests at heart.

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Using Adverbs: An Easy Guide

by Kathy Edens Mar 28, 2018

Using Adverbs: An Easy Guide

Here’s the truth about adverbs. They aren’t inherently good or bad: it’s all in how you use them. Let’s unpack when you should—and shouldn’t—use adverbs.

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Why You Should Learn to Tell a Good Story

by Kathy Edens Mar 12, 2018

Why You Should Learn to Tell a Good Story

Stories have been with us since the beginning of time. Before the written word, if you wanted to pass information to the next generation, you told a story. The same is true today. We’re all storytellers.

Storytelling is a skill anyone can learn and it’s one you need for both speaking and writing. Here’s how to hone your skills and captivate others’ attention.

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How to Create Your Best Writer’s Life

by Kathy Edens Mar 12, 2018

How to Create Your Best Writer’s Life

Writing is a business like any other. You’re creating a product you hope customers will buy and fall in love with. That way, you can continue creating new products people want. Regardless if you’re a fiction writer or a copywriter, you run your own business. And you must approach it like a business if you want to be successful.

Fiction writers who understand the publishing industry and what readers want will thrive. Copywriters who can engage and compel readers to act will succeed. Both must become master marketers to promote their business and make money.

Here are the building blocks of a solid business that will help you create your best writer’s life.

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How to Write a Mind-Blowing Plot Twist Like Gone Girl

by Kathy Edens Mar 12, 2018

How to Write a Mind-Blowing Plot Twist Like Gone Girl

As an author, don’t you want to create the mind-blowing plot twist that leaves readers begging you to write more books? Maybe the kind that result in big movie deals…

Wait. If your writing is a means to an end, it’s doubtful your plot twist will make the big bang needed to get on the big screen. Because you can’t force a plot twist; readers will smell it a mile away.

Do it authentically and you’ll create a feverish tension that keeps readers turning the pages to see how this new twist will play out next. Or you’ll end on a final piece of information that changes everything, resonating with readers long after the last page. Here’s how it works.

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Recruiting: The ProWritingAid Blogging Team

by Lisa Lepki Mar 08, 2018

Recruiting: The ProWritingAid Blogging Team

We're putting together a team of writers for the ProWritingAid Blog. Team members will be diverse in their knowledge and specialities, but all share a love of writing.

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Writing Characters: Digging Beyond Life

by Kathy Edens Mar 05, 2018

Writing Characters: Digging Beyond Life

Start with a real-life person—yourself. Plumb all your deep, dark places and put yourself in the shoes of your main character. You are a well of inspiration. Make this your jumping-off point to create truly believable characters.

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Spice Up Your Writing

by Dr. Marlene Caroselli Mar 02, 2018

Spice Up Your Writing

Variety, as we all know, is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of good writing. There’s an easy way to find out if your sentences have variety. Take a paragraph you’ve written—one of eight or so sentences. Then, write down the first word in each sentence. Next, identify the part of speech for each word. If most of your sentences begin with the same part of speech, you don’t have variety. It’s as simple as that.

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Writing App Reviews: the Outlining Your Novel Workbook

by Kathy Edens Feb 18, 2018

Writing App Reviews: the Outlining Your Novel Workbook

Whether you are a planner or a pants-er, if you haven’t checked out the Outline Your Novel program, you’re missing out. I spent hours with this software and have never felt a more powerful urge to create.

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How to Improve Your Style with ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report

by Kathy Edens Feb 08, 2018

How to Improve Your Style with ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report

Do you know all the ways to edit your work for better readability and a clearer writing style? ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report checks for a multitude of improvements you can make to strengthen and clarify your writing. Let’s look deeper at this most popular and comprehensive report.

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How to Write Historical Fiction (without a history degree)

by Kathy Edens Feb 08, 2018

How to Write Historical Fiction (without a history degree)

If you are an HF writer, hats off to you! I learned haters will find the smallest discrepancy in your writing and crow it from the rooftops. Perhaps HF writers have extra thick skin. Whatever their impetus, they don’t necessarily have a love of history per se—and certainly don’t need a degree. They find either a period, an event, or historical person thoroughly interesting and decide to dig deeper.

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Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: What Every Character Needs

by Kathy Edens Feb 05, 2018

Belief, Emotional Involvement, Clarity: What Every Character Needs

We’re continuing our monthly installment series on creating amazing characters using Orson Scott Card’s seminal book, Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint. This month, we cover the three elements every characters needs and why you must deliver.

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The Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time

by Kathy Edens Feb 05, 2018

The Best Historical Fiction Books of All Time

If you are anything like us, your favorite way to learn about history is by immersing yourself in a fictional world shaped by actual events. For this list, we specifically chose works covering events or time periods over 30 years before the time of writing.

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Oops! Did You Forget to Launch Your Book? 4 Marketing Steps to Take Right Now

by Jordan Ring Jan 17, 2018

Oops! Did You Forget to Launch Your Book? 4 Marketing Steps to Take Right Now

“Why isn’t anyone buying my book? Is it not good enough? Am I a terrible writer? "Should I give up forever?"

Of course not. It's just that you didn't launch your book. You didn't ceremoniously rocket it out into the world so that everyone noticed it.

It's not too late! Here's what you need to know:

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