Articles about how to write a novel

Are You Snobbish About Self-Publishing?

by Kathy Edens Jan 03, 2018

Are You Snobbish About Self-Publishing?

Do you think all self-publishing is merely vanity projects? Are you worried anyone can slap a few words on a page and click on publish to become a published author? Do you also fear any self-publishing company will publish an e-book or spit out print books no matter the quality of writing?

When you meet an author, is your first question, "Who was your publisher?" And when they tell you they self-published, is your knee-jerk reaction their book wasn’t good enough to be picked up by even a mediocre publishing house?

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Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

by Kathy Edens Jan 02, 2018

Inventing Characters: A Character is What He Does, His Motives, and His Past

Characters in books give us insight into the human condition. We learn how people behave and what’s in human nature from our favorite characters in books and on the big screen.

Orson Scott Card says out of the multiple ways to get to know someone, the most powerful and the ones that make the strongest impression are:

  • What your character does
  • What his or her motives are
  • What they’ve done in the past

Let’s look at these and a few other ways of getting to know your characters.

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Use ProWritingAid’s Readability Stats to Improve the Clarity of Your Writing

by Kathy Edens Dec 19, 2017

Use ProWritingAid’s Readability Stats to Improve the Clarity of Your Writing

If you haven’t been using ProWritingAid’s Readability Report and Summary Report to take your work in progress (WIP) to the next level, you’re missing out. Your WIP might be an article you plan to post on Medium or it could be a 75,000 word manuscript of the next, great novel. And the Readability Report can make suggestions on how to make it sparkle and shine so it catches any reader’s eye.

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How to Break the Rules of Fiction

by Kathy Edens Dec 13, 2017

How to Break the Rules of Fiction

Have you noticed how many rules you must follow when writing your novel? Some of them, like having a strong beginning, engaging middle, and exciting conclusion, are good advice. Then other rules, like how to format your novel for submission and checking submission guidelines first, are pretty strict. Finally, there are rules meant to be broken.

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How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

by Kathy Edens Dec 12, 2017

How Non-Chronological Writing Can Create Character Empathy

Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.

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4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

by Elle W. Silver Dec 12, 2017

4 Writing Issues You are Probably Missing When You Self-Edit

Having a relationship with an editor you can trust, one who is flexible enough to work around your tight schedule is one way to do it. But even then, you need to ensure the that your editor is spending most of her time on the meat of your story like plot and character development, and less time on the technical stuff like sentence construction and word choice. Ideally, you want your text to be as tight as possible BEFORE you send it to your editor.

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The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

by Kate Sullivan Dec 07, 2017

The Myth of One and Done: Why you need to edit multiple times

A finished manuscript is not a polished manuscript, and editors, agents, and readers want a polished manuscript—a finished product that lives up to the quality standards we’ve come to expect.

Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, a blog post, a magazine article, or any other piece of professional writing, you need to edit your work.

And you need to edit it multiple times!

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Fixing First Draft Problems: 6 questions to ask

by Bridget McNulty Dec 07, 2017

Fixing First Draft Problems: 6 questions to ask

Learning how to write a book is a many-stepped process – finding a story idea you love, outlining, drafting, rewriting and editing. Although you will encounter challenges during your first draft, asking good questions and acting on your answers will help you keep focused and finish:

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How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

by Kathy Edens Nov 28, 2017

How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

You need to crank up your story's tension and conflict in every chapter. Let's look at a few techniques to help sustain the drama you've created and keep pages turning at each chapter ending.

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Don’t Go Alone! Take a Cowriter

by Jessie Smith Nov 25, 2017

Don’t Go Alone! Take a Cowriter

I have known my cowriter for six years. It’s a long story full of coincidences and serendipity, but it completely changed my writing process. I rely on her in so many ways.

We both wrote on an anonymous writing website where we worked on stories under pseudonyms. My cowriter and I met in the typical way: she reviewed my chapter, and out of common courtesy, I reviewed hers in return. We liked each other’s work, so we continued to follow and review, and we eventually started private messaging. Even then, we mostly talked about our writing, but over time, we started getting to know each other beyond our pseudonyms.

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Why You Don't Need an Author Platform to Publish Your Book

by Kathy Edens Nov 20, 2017

Why You Don't Need an Author Platform to Publish Your Book

Having an author platform will get you nowhere if you don't have an actual book to promote.

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The 10 Writing Quotes that Shape My Writing Process

by Ravi Rajan Nov 08, 2017

The 10 Writing Quotes that Shape My Writing Process

“Writing is the socially acceptable way of getting naked in public. And in writing, getting naked is all about shedding your inhibitions, learning from self, learning from the greats and chartering a path along the road less traveled.”

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Why Every Heroine Does Not Need a Love Interest

by Kathy Edens Nov 06, 2017

Why Every Heroine Does Not Need a Love Interest

There are almost no authors writing female characters that don't depend on a romance subplot to carry a book. That's because the Hero's Journey, Campbell's famous framework for the classic tale of a hero on a quest, doesn't work well for a female protagonist.

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What All Writers Need to Learn From the British Cycling Team

by Maya Saric Nov 01, 2017

What All Writers Need to Learn From the British Cycling Team

New manager, Sir David Brailsford, changed Team Sky's destiny in 2010. His "aggregation of marginal gains" strategy delivered outstanding results for them, and it can work for you too!

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How to Write an Elizabeth Bennet Better Than the Original

by Kathy Edens Oct 25, 2017

How to Write an Elizabeth Bennet Better Than the Original

What do we love so much about Elizabeth Bennet? She's strong, and she's feisty. Just because she's expected to act a certain way doesn't mean she'll bend her convictions and change her behavior. She's real, right?

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Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo: Planners vs. Pants-ers

by Kathy Edens Oct 24, 2017

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo: Planners vs. Pants-ers

I set out on a quest to find if this world has more planners or pants-ers. Alas, there is no definitive answer, at least on the internet. I did, however, determine that most writing instructors ask their students who is a planner and who is a pants-er. This informal poll-taking reports about 50/50.

So, whether you're a planner or a pants-er, you're in good company. How do we know? Here are some famous authors who plan and those who fly by the seat of their pants.

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Why You Should Create Your Own Genre

by Kathy Edens Oct 09, 2017

Why You Should Create Your Own Genre

Are you trying to fit into a genre or sub-genre because it's popular right now? That's like trying to fit into a political party when your philosophy is somewhere in the middle. It's hard to find the right fit in either party, right?

Maybe it's time you created your own sub-genre or genre. Look at what Bridget Jones's Diary did for chick lit. And what The Hunger Games did for YA dystopian. And I'm still not sure how to categorize Jodi Picoult's novels. If you look up the genres of her books, you'll find "Genre: Fiction + Literature; Sub-Genre: Literary or Contemporary." Huh? Nonetheless, she's created her own space on the best seller list.

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How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

by Kathy Edens Oct 06, 2017

How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

Think of some of the great nemesis pairs in fiction: Harry Potter and Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, Professor Xavier and Magneto, Superman and Lex Luthor… But there's none better than Batman and The Joker.

The Joker is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life like paralyzing Batgirl and murdering Robin. He's such a popular character that he's ranked 8th on the list of Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. One reason he's the perfect nemesis is The Joker is the complete and utter opposite of Batman: he's savage, violent, unpredictable, and will do anything because he has no respect for human life. As Michael Caine said in Dark Knight, The Joker "just wants to see the world burn."

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8 Ways to Kick Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone

by Alice Berg Oct 04, 2017

8 Ways to Kick Out of Your Creative Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are cozy, but they hardly ever lead to success or self-improvement. This is particularly true with creative jobs such as writing.

Getting out of your comfort zone increases your chances of achieving positive results. The experience of altering your habitual pace of life multiplies points of view in your writing and brings novel ideas, forms and styles. Stuck with a lack of fresh approaches? Become that risk-taker! Bring new blood into your art! Break your routine with the following steps on the way to the perfect text.

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Writing App Reviews… Beemgee

by Kathy Edens Sep 27, 2017

Writing App Reviews… Beemgee

Everyone at ProWritingAid loves tech that helps us write better, faster, easier, etc. It's one reasons we get up every morning. When we stumbled across Beemgee and their amazing writing tool, we asked Kathy Edens to check it out for us.

Let's take a closer look at the Beemgee novel outlining and storytelling tool to see how it can help you develop compelling characters and an engaging plot.

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