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Writers Tip #91: 11 Tips You Don’t Want to Miss about Writing the Novel

writers tips

Great tips for soon-to-be great writers

When you read your story, does it sound off, maybe you can’t quite put your finger on it, but you know you’ve done something wrong? Sometimes–maybe even lots of times–there are simple fixes. These writer’s tips will come at you once a week, giving you plenty of time to go through your story and make the adjustments.

Lawrence Block’s (publisher of over thirty books and winner of such prestigious awards as the Edgar Allan Poe award) Writing the Novel: From Plot to Print provides a step-by-step guide to taking a nascent idea to fully-fleshed novel. It’s packed with ideas (including a bibliography of his recommended books for writers), but I’ll list eleven ideas he stressed–the ones that made a difference in my writing. Add a comment and tell me if you agree:

  • There’s no such thing as a formula
  • Some novelists outline briefly, some in great detail… (Block has a funny story which I could so relate to)
  • If you want to write fiction, the best thing you can do is take two aspirins, lie down in a dark room and wait for the feeling to pass (His book has a light sense of humor writers will appreciate)
  • The best seller list abounds with the work of writers whom no one would want to call polished stylists
  • Novels…are time and again written with no original central idea to be found (Sigh with relief and then read his book for more detail on that provocative thought)
  • Isn’t it harder to write a novel? No. Novels aren’t harder. They’re longer
  • I want to (write). What do I do first? what you do first is read (How many times have I read that? Here, yet another successful writer proclaims reading to be the cornerstone of writing).
  • (To find ideas on what to write) Pay attention. The little atoms of fact and attitude which can link up into the molecules of an idea are all over the damn place.
  • Writing the novel is an ongoing organic process, and we carry the book with us wherever we go.
  • When an idea comes along, make sure you don’t forget it.
  • The reason the reader care what happens next is because of the author’s skill at characterization.

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Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman.  She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.comEditorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing TeachersIMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything. Currently, she’s seeking representation for a techno-thriller that she just finished. Any ideas? Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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10 thoughts on “Writers Tip #91: 11 Tips You Don’t Want to Miss about Writing the Novel

  1. Pingback: 36 Essential Books for Every Writer | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: A Drop of the Hard Stuff by Lawrence Block Book Review « valrfederoff

  3. Pingback: History is written by writers « Write on the World

  4. I agree writers should be readers, and I am an avid reader. However, often I find myself reading when I should be writing . . .


  5. Excellent tips again! Reading is key and I will be doing more of it this year… 😉 ♥Happy ♥New ♥Year ♥ & TY for the wonderful year of tips and tools! 🙂


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