Novel Preparation 101

ACFW Advice, Authors and writing, Friends of ACFW, Outlines, Plots, tips, writing 1 Comment

By DiAnn Mills We writers have habits, some quirky, that help us get started on new writing projects. Today I’d like to share with you how I organize my thoughts and preparations before writing chapter one, line one of a new novel. I’m mostly an organic/pantster writer, but some things I have to know before I begin. Idea. Oh, these …

Honor the Craft

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By Henry McLaughlin James Scott Bell posted a blog called Don’t Ever Mail It In where he wrote about the attitude that we’ve reached a certain point in our writing where we don’t have to improve. What struck me most is his definition of a real writer. It’s someone who honors the craft and never settles. In this blog, I’m …

The Path of Perfection

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By Christine Sunderland I am currently reading a novel with a fascinating historical setting and colorful characters. It has received rave reviews, become a bestseller and book club favorite. And yet, the characters seem shallow. What is missing? I considered the plot, which lacks direction. The action doesn’t climb to an anticipated climax. I asked, What drives these characters? What …

Write Like a Pirate

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By Kariss Lynch Remember that scene in Pirates of the Caribbean, the one where the not-so-refined Miss Elizabeth requests parley with the pirate captain? She thinks parley is a Pirate Code granting her protection. Sadly, she didn’t quite know her audience. She is quickly informed that the Pirate Code is more like guidelines than actual rules. Writing is a lot …

Twisting “Write What You Know”

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by Gail Gaymer Martin When writers search for plot ideas, seasoned authors often respond write what you know, but I’ve found that this phrase means more than I’d thought. If we stick with what we know, our books could become boring, but one way to write what I know is through experiences. I’ve done this more than once. Being a …

Plotting and Structure of Novels

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by Brenda Taylor Plotting novels is a chore for me, because I am a panster by nature. Instead of sitting for a great length of time thinking, plotting, and structuring a story, I want to write and let the storyline fall where it may. I’ve learned, however, my panster method is not the best way. It leaves too much to …

Story Structure

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By Katherine Reay As I begin a new story, my mind turns to structure. No matter how much I say I’m an “organic” writer, I need solid hooks on which to hang my musings. I can get lost easily if the basics of the road aren’t cleared in front of me. Whether you think the “rules” of structure are important …

First Drafts: Fast and Free

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By Katherine Reay As I write this, The Bronte Plot launches in two weeks and my next manuscript is due in a few days… As you read it, both are behind me. And at both times, I’m buried in first drafts. My son is working on college application essays and one of my daughters is tackling her first two high …

Weaving a Story Web

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by Ann H. Gabhart I’m guessing some of you may have walked into a spider web at some time in your life. You probably weren’t that happy to be wrapped in those silken threads while swatting at your hair to make sure the spider didn’t hide out there to later crawl down your shirt. But have you ever taken the …

Five Life-saving Steps to Writing a Novella

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By Davalynn Spencer I recently turned in my fourth contracted novella and I’ve learned a thing or three about writing these delightful little gems. Emphasis on the word “little.” My first novella developed from my traditional pantser perspective. It was a stand-alone and I could have all the words I wanted just so I didn’t end up with a full-length …