Tag Archives: fiction

A Class on Novel-writing Basics

Say yes to making your novel-writing dreams come true! So often we deny ourselves the opportunities we need to get ahead in achieving our dreams. We put our dreams on the back burner, tell ourselves we’ll do it later. I think later is now.

I wanted to let everyone know that I’ll be teaching a class called “Novel-writing Basics” for Anoka Hennepin Community Education beginning 11/1 (4 Thursday evenings). If you live in the area (Minneapolis) and have aspirations of writing a novel, I would love for you to join us! There is still room in the class!

I’m also hosting a critique night–one night only–on 10/25! If you’ve started your novel and would like a bit of feedback on your writing, this is for you! I would love to see you there!

I’m under contract with Anoka Hennepin Community Education for these classes, and I have worked long hours creating course content. It’s going to be informative and fun!

Get more information and sign up online here:

ANOKAHENNEPIN.CR3.RSCHOOLTODAY.COM
Anoka-Hennepin Community Education offers a wide variety of activities and classes for adults ages 18 and up.

Improve Your Novel with These 12 Top Writing Resources

GoodThere are many great writing resources on the web, but the best resources I’ve found are the ones on my own bookshelf. Writing reference books I’ve collected over the years have taught me how to write a novel, how to build characters, improve scenes, write dialogue – you name it – most everything that I’ve learned about writing has come from the treasures on my bookshelf.

Of course, there are several writing books on that shelf that I could’ve used as kindle for my fall campfires, but many of the books are like gold to me. I refer to the books when I’m writing an article about writing as well as when I’m writing my own fiction. I’ve taken the best of each book, combined some of their ideas, and come up with techniques that have helped me enormously. Many tips that I offer my followers were mined from these books.

Not so surprising is that many of these books are “Writer’s Digest” books. For many years, I subscribed to Writer’s Digest and loved their selection of books, gobbling up everything from books for mystery writers like Cause of Death – a Writer’s Guide to Death, Murder and Forensic Medicine by Keith D. Wilson, M.D. to the many on the basic elements of fiction writing. I want to share some of these treasures with you. Perhaps you will find some that help you improve your craft and get that novel written!

Great Novel Writing Resources – Writer’s Digest Books

The books listed here Continue reading Improve Your Novel with These 12 Top Writing Resources

How to Captivate Readers with Descriptive Writing that Rocks

pexels-photo-862517.jpegYou may think of descriptive writing as the flowery descriptive stuff that you skip over when reading a novel, although many an author and reader enjoy that type of writing too. But the descriptive writing that we are talking about here is the kind that makes a reader “feel” the story as if they were part of a scene or knew someone just like the one described in a scene or narrative.

Good description is not an easy thing to accomplish in writing, but if you want to have a story that readers can’t put down because they lost themselves in it and didn’t find their way out until they’d finished it, you’ll find that learning to write great descriptive stories is well worth your time.

Descriptive Writing is a Key Element of Novel Writing

Entrancing readers with stories that keep moving involves creating believable, vivid portrayals of people, places, actions, and events. Descriptive writing isn’t separate from storytelling; it is a variety of techniques, which are combined to make a story.

You may speed through a rough first draft of your story and not pay much attention to details, but after that glorious rush of having gotten your story on paper, you must go back to it and consciously review the descriptions of characters, scenes, etc. You will look at such things as: Continue reading How to Captivate Readers with Descriptive Writing that Rocks

3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters

pexels-photo-816229Character development is one of the first essential steps of writing a novel and it involves creating the people who will carry out your story. There will most likely be a variety of characters needed for your story, but none as important as your lead character – your protagonist. A well-developed protagonist has much to do with the success of writing a novel.

The protagonist should be someone that your readers feel is a “real person” that they come to love (or at least like a whole lot), can relate to in many ways and will care about and think about long after they’ve turned the final page on your novel.

How to Create “Real People” for Your Novel

When writing a novel, there are many ways to go about creating characters and much has been written about it in “how to write a novel books”, sometimes in great detail. There are as many ideas about what makes a good character as there are apples on a tree. The traits of a lead character may change somewhat by the type of novel, or genre, you’re writing and by what your protagonist needs to accomplish in the novel’s plot. Still, there are a few personality traits that every lead character must possess, no matter what kind of novel you’re writing.

Writing a Novel – The Lead Character is:

  1. admirable – has integrity, courage, beauty, kindness, strength, etc. – leave the rotten personalities and hang-ups for the antagonist,
  1. relatable – create scenes that allow your character to evoke an emotional response from readers,
  1. realistic – portrays emotions consistent with their personality traits,
  1. a problem solver – someone with an over the top problem, whom readers believe is capable of solving.

Writing a Novel – Three Attributes of Every Character

I have found that the best way to begin the process of character development is by using a “top-down” method.  It is composed of three elements:

  1. Primary Traits
  1. Traits that add “Complexity”, and
  1. Traits that Contrast Predominant Traits.

Let’s look at how Continue reading 3 Steps to Writing a Novel with Unforgettable Characters

Discover the Key to Writing 10 Popular Types of Novels

stock-photo-tired-man-suit-yawn-glasses-sleepy-work-professional-buisiness-dc040cfa-9e24-40c3-910b-f7df960f3bb1Just mention to a reader that you are writing a novel and the first thing of out their mouth is, “What types of novels do you write?” And, if you don’t readily know the answer to that question, you may stumble through a long account of your current novel’s plot, losing your audience – the one stifling a yawn – before you’re finished.

While some readers may be asking you for the whole story and nothing but the whole story, most readers just want to know the genre of your novel; genre describes your novel and identifies it by one of 10 leading types of novels in the market of popular fiction. It is the way that readers identify the types of novels they like and it helps publishers market your book.

What is the Relationship between a Writer and Genre?

I’ve described two important reasons for knowing your novel’s genre, but before you even get to that point of readership or publishing (and hopefully you will), understanding genre provides you, the writer, with a roadmap for writing your story – making the important decision about genre is the starting point of writing a novel.

Each genre has its own prescription for remaining true to type. Successful novels that don’t follow genre guidelines are rare (but not unheard of).

Writing within a genre will keep Continue reading Discover the Key to Writing 10 Popular Types of Novels

How to Start Writing a Novel from Rough Draft to Smooth Finish

pexels-photo-273222I thought I knew how to start writing a novel. I have written several novels, started and didn’t finish even more. What I didn’t know is that I was knocking myself out with what I thought was good “pre-writing” stuff. It was all important material: character development, plot outlines, subplots, character interaction worksheets, action/response worksheets, timelines, who was doing what when (seriously), anything that you could write down or chart out about the novel, I did it before actually writing a word of the story.

How to Start Writing a Novel – Gaining a New Perspective

However, the pre-work didn’t provide the same satisfaction I get from the actual writing of a story, and I was always antsy to get started on it. So I decided to try a different approach: I would chart and plot a little and write a little, chart and plot a little and write a little more. This worked somewhat better for me, but then I found that with the creative juices flowing also came more notes and comments (I use the “comment” feature in word quite a bit when writing), and questions arose like, “Does this scene reflect my lead character’s traits?” Or worse, “What the heck are my lead character’s traits?”, which sent me back to my worksheets.

This method did get the job done eventually, but I began to realize that writing a novel was taking me longer than I thought it needed to. So, I went back to the drawing board to relearn how to start writing a novel, and I’m glad I did.

How to Start Writing a Novel with Unadulterated Abandon

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenges new and experienced writers from around the world to sharpen their pencils (or keyboards) to write a 50,000-word story during the month of November. The 30 days of November. By the nature of the challenge that means Continue reading How to Start Writing a Novel from Rough Draft to Smooth Finish

Your Novel Writing Roadmap Found Here – 16 Elements of Story

Are you dreaming of novel writing? Many writers long to write a novel, perhaps having it at the back of their mind as they go through life earning their living with that safe job. They’ve put their dream on hold, telling themselves that they are trading in their real ambitions for security.

If you are one of these people, I want to encourage you to take that dream off the shelf, dust it off and put it into an action plan. Hang onto that secure job, we all need to earn a living, but don’t save pursuing your dream for some future time.

Why “Now” is a Good time to Write a Novel

Why not write that novel now, in your spare time. I know, I know, you are now asking, “What spare time?” But for many, the truth is that they have some spare time to do something that they enjoy and they use the old, “I don’t have time for this or that” for one reason: fear. For a writer, fear of failing is often spurred on by the feeling that they don’t know the first thing about getting words on paper.

Exercise Your Creativity

By putting your writing dreams and talents in motion (as with pen to paper or fingertips to keyboard), you are already strong and brave and are quite possibly beginning a process that will reward you for the mere pleasure of having painted pictures with words, if not a completed novel. This is not failing. This is bringing your creativity to life.

Write for the pleasure of writing. Don’t think about whether or not you will be published –and hopefully, your completed novel will be published – write to bring the dream of novel writing to life and for that reason only.

Roadmap Provided

Many writers want to see a roadmap of sorts, something they can rely on to get them started writing with some hope of Continue reading Your Novel Writing Roadmap Found Here – 16 Elements of Story