Articles about how to write a novel

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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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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