Top Ten (Okay Eleven) Things You Should Know About Your Own Book, Part Three

While writing a novel, and particularly when we finish a book—especially that first book—there is usually an intense joy and pride and utter feeling of success and accomplishment. Unfortunately, that finished project, that *the end* we type at the bottom of the last page, is really only the beginning. The first draft—sometimes a very rough first draft—needs polishing, rewriting, often (dare I say always?) a professional editing before the reading public takes a look at it.

But there are things we can do ourselves before we start with the actual rewriting, and that is to know as much about our book/plot/character/conflict as we possibly can. It is simple stuff, but if your WIP or WF (work finished) is missing that vital something, that special element that sets it apart from other unpublished books on the market (or hopefully someday on the bookstore shelves) perhaps you’ll spot it here. The better […]

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Basics of Writing, part X: Pacing Your Novel Musically

How many of you have ever seen the movie The Fugitive? My wife and I first saw it in the theater many years back, and it quickly became one of our favorites. The opening sequence is particularly stunning — the way the screenwriters (Jeb Stuart and David Twohy) and director (Andrew Davis) managed to fill in the back story and set a breakneck pace for the movie in the span of just minutes. I remember watching the scene with the train wreck — breathless, my pulse pounding — and commenting to my wife “They’re not even done with the credits yet!” If you’ve never seen it, you should — amazing stuff. The movie never flags; the pace is unrelenting, and the result is exhilarating.

That said, I would argue that while this storytelling approach works terrifically well for a movie, it is less effective in a novel. Pacing a movie […]

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Writing Your Book, part VI: The End Game

For those of you who have been following this “Writing Your Book” series from it’s inception, please don’t panic. If you began your novel when we started the series in early January, no one expects that you’re just about done. Writing a novel takes a while, and every writer works at a different pace. That’s why this post isn’t called “Finishing Your Novel” or “The End” or something of that sort.

It’s called “The End Game,” because even if you’re only a third of the way done with your book, it’s never too early to start thinking about how you’re going to tie off loose ends and build to that stunning climax. We give you a lot of “writing is like…” analogies here at MW, and I’m about to give you a few more. Any one of these “game” analogies applies, and you should feel free to use the one […]

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Why Divide Your Book Into Chapters?

Thanks to regular visitor and commenter Daniel Davis for again coming up with a question to get us started with this week’s post. And before I get to Daniel’s question, let me add that we welcome your questions and suggestions for posts you’d like to see. We often scour our brains for ideas that we think might interest you. Input from all of you on topics you’d like to see us address as a group would be enormously helpful. We can’t promise that we’ll get to all of them, or that we’ll address them immediately, but we certainly will do our best. Daniel’s question, which showed up in a comment to Misty’s Thursday post (also inspired by a question from Daniel) had to do with chapters and whether we tend to split our work into sections. Daniel also wanted to know if there was a marketing/industry imperative to dividing our […]

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