I wrote a full draft of my my most successful novel in three weeks. However, every novel is its own puzzle to solve, and it’s usually a mistake to hark back to the previous book (in this case, Memory Boy) when writing a new one. There are two very general approaches to writing a novel: […]Read article
Category: finishing your novel
Another Good Question About Your Novel
I often get letters from former writing students, or friends of friends who are working on a novel, or complete strangers who have read one of my books and are working on one of their own. Usually they have a central question about their writing project that they’re hung up on. I try to say […]Read article
The Deep Conspiracy Against Your Novel
It’s time to admit what you know in your bones: there’s a deep conspiracy against you finishing your novel. The conspiracy is all-encompassing. It’s like gravity, invisible but with the same confining effects. You can feel its weight, feel its drag, and it comes from all directions. A sick pet. A car that needs an […]Read article
Power Reading for Better Writing
“If you want to be a writer, you gotta be a reader,” someone (me) once said. But who has the time to do both? Here’s a solution that works for me. When I’m stuck on a novel–frozen up, blocked, or otherwise suffering a complete loss of confidence –I get my ass to a library. Preferably […]Read article
Reader Needs Exposition–Stat!
Your reader at some point needs facts, background, and foundational material. In the writing biz we call this Exposition in fiction. The trick is to weave exposition into your ongoing narration in a smooth, even sly way. Let’ call that “on the fly.” Slipping in crucial information without losing your story line. Let’s look at […]Read article
My Novel Is A Mess!
Well, let’s look on the bright side. At least you have one. Or part of one. Most would-be writers only think about writing a novel, but you’ve actually done it. Sort of. Which is why you’re freaking out right now? As in, “Where do I go from here?” As in, “I’m totally lost!” As in, […]Read article
The Middle Part of Your Novel
Pretty sure it was Margaret Atwood who said, generally: “Writing the opening chapters is exciting. Writing the last chapters is an exhilarating rush to the end. It’s the middle part that’s hard.” If you look closely, you’ll see that she’s divided the novel into a three-part structure–which is pretty much the way screen plays are […]Read article