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3 Hard Truths I’ve Learned about Novel Writing


Anyone who’s written a novel—or attempted one—can attest to the level of difficulty involved.

Some of you are presently in the throes of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). You’re racing the clock trying to complete a novel in one month. And that’s a fun and challenging thing to do.

But here’s my question for you: Why are you doing this? Is it just to see if you can throw together something that looks like a novel so you can feel a sense of accomplishment? And don’t get me wrong—I don’t belittle this at all. It takes real strong stick-to-itiveness (yes, that’s a word!) and a big jar of butt glue to stick you in that chair and write a whole lot of words.

If you get to the finish line, you should be proud!

But that’s just one small aspect of what’s involved with being a novelist. In other words, you may have proved to yourself you can be disciplined and can get the writing done.

But just as with someone spending hours throwing random ingredients into pans and cooking up concoctions, that doesn’t mean the results will be palatable.

In fact, the whole “write fast and hard” to become a successful novelist mentality is really off track. Far from the hard truths that novelists need to face.

Let me tell you what I’ve learned after thirty years of writing (17) novels. Just three hard truths that I hope you’ll consider. Because you can write a hundred novels and do NaNoWriMo every year and get no closer to your dream (if it is your dream) to become a successful novelist. Continue Reading…

4 Ways to Use Humor in Your Fiction


Humor is one of the most diverse tools in the writer’s toolbox, making it unfortunate that so few people make proper use of it. Humor is often thought of as simply a cheap laugh, a way to add a lighthearted note to a story, and nothing more. In reality, the concept of humor is much more complex.

Humor, when written correctly, redirects attention and causes an unexpected twist for the reader that not only sharpens their attention but can also deliver the “sucker punch” when they least expect it.

Here are just a few ways humor can be used effectively in fiction writing: Continue Reading…

How to Transform a Family Legend into Historical Fiction


Today’s guest post is by Lottie Guttry.

If you are lucky enough to be born into a family with a good storyteller—perhaps an uncle, cousin, or grandmother—you may find yourself sitting around a table with family members while the storyteller relates the daring adventures of an ancestor.

When this happens, young and old sit transfixed by the story, even though they’ve heard it many times before.

According to Dr. Francis Abernethy, author and editor, a family legend is “a story concerning the exploits and adventures of an ancestor, passed by word of mouth from one generation to the next. Its main value is in the revelation of the family spirit, what it believes and how it thinks.”

If you are an author and lucky enough to have such a legend in your family’s rich history, you will likely pounce upon it as the basis of your historical novel. Continue Reading…

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