3 Steps to Successfully Outlining Your Novel

Outlining your novel in some fashion is one of the best ways to ensure you have a solid story structure. For those of you who’ve been following my blog awhile, you know I’m a huge proponent of structure—and I’ll dare to say that any great writing instructor worth his or her salt would agree.

Because novels are so complex, it makes sense to lay out a blueprint. Face it: few people have the talent or aptitude to wing it when it comes to writing a solid story without first plotting carefully. And—I’m being honest here—every single successful author I personally know who “pantses” through the writing process suffers from varying degrees of frustration, aggravation, and huge blocks of wasted time.

Seriously. I know authors who write, and discard, numerous full drafts of a novel, taking months of precious time to arrive at the solid plot. I know other pantsers who say that writing novels is a painful, grueling process that they almost hate as much as chopped liver. Continue Reading…

The #1 Goal of Productivity

Suffice it to say, our attitude affects everything we do. Or don’t do. If we have a negative attitude about doing our schoolwork, it won’t get done. Or we’ll do a hasty, sloppy job. Or we won’t be able to concentrate, and it will take three times longer than it should to complete.

We might whip ourselves, pour on the pressure with guilt or threats, and while that might make us get the work done, we will be miserable doing it.

When it comes to writing our books, we certainly don’t want it to be a miserable experience. Writing is supposed to be fun! We’re supposed to love writing—that’s why we long to do it full-time and make it our career.

Sadly, I’ve met too many career authors who hate writing. They didn’t start out that way. But while they’re currently cranking out best sellers year after year, they’re not happy campers. Continue Reading…

Mastering Outlining Your Novel

Over the past few months, I’ve had hundreds of my blog followers and newsletter subscribers fill out my survey. On the survey I ask what issues they’re struggling with. What blog posts they’d like to see (and books I should write). While I haven’t gotten through every survey to date, some topics run ubiquitously through these survey responses.

I want to take a look at the top 20 or so, and throughout the year, on Thursdays, I’ll be addressing these. Suffice it to say, many requested topics are ones I’ve covered extensively on my blog. Which tells me a few things:

  • My readers aren’t aware they can search the blog for past posts. You can. And should! There are hundreds of thousands of words written and published on Live Write Thrive. I’ve spent hundreds of hours writing these posts, and the sheer amount of content, if words could be transformed into grains of sand, would be so heavy, I doubt even Hercules could lift the sack. While I often revisit topics from time to time, it’s usually to share a new insight or take on the matter. So, if you need help on some bit of craft or how to survive the writing life, do a search in that plain-old search bar on the top right side of my blog. Then read up!
  • Or my readers have read all they can get on the topic (from my blog and craft books) and still want more. And that’s great. I’ll give more. That’s why I’m here—to keep it coming.
  • Or my readers have read it all and just don’t get it. Whatever it is. I know how that feels. Sometimes it just takes time. If you’re a beginning writer and you’re facing a mountain of a climb to get to the top just to be able to outline a novel or write succinctly, you need to be patient and just work on one key skill at a time.

Continue Reading…

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