Writing My Novel: 7 Ways Reading Makes Better Writing

The first day of a composition class, I ask my students a simple question:  “Who in here likes to read?” I consider the inquiry a success if I have two people raise their hands.  Most of the time all I get are a few sneers, blank stares, and no hands in the air. I ask [...]

Writing My Novel: Kill Kill Kill

One of the major philosophies of fiction writing is called “kill your darlings.”  In it, anything is fair game when it comes to editing.  No matter how much the writer loves a sentence or word or scene or even character, if it does not advance the plot in a tangible way, it must be cut.  [...]

Writing My Novel: Keep On Writing

When I finished my novel’s first draft, I knew two things could happen: I could take a break and revel in the success of finally writing a book while I enjoy the summertime a little. I could jump immediately back into writing, using what I learned while writing my novel to produce some quality stories [...]

Writing My Novel: When Outlines Fail

When I first started seriously working on my novel, I said that “I definitely want to outline.”  I knew that going into writing something as complex as a novel without a plan would lead to failure. So I sat down and thought about what I wanted to happen in my novel.  I broke it down [...]

Writing My Novel: The First Draft is Complete

It’s done.  Finished.  At 85,953 words, the first draft of my first novel is complete.  And I feel so incredibly strange now that I want to jump right back in and get back to writing. But I can’t. I have to step back, take a few—many—deep breaths, and just let it sit.  My wife is [...]

Writing My Novel: The End?

My novel is drawing to a close.  In fact, I’ve written one version of the final scene and just have to go back and fill in a few chapters in the middle I realized could use a little expansion before I decide if that’s the ending I really want the book to have.  And that’s [...]