Writing My Novel.

Preventing Reader Boredom

How to Prevent Reader Boredom in Your Novel (Plot-Protagonist Secret #1)
by Jim Adam

If the obstacles aren’t great enough, reader boredom will likely set in. If the obstacles are too great, we’ll be forced to cheat in order to reach a happy ending…. we need to carefully match our protagonists to the obstacles they face, and vice versa.

Agent Discusses Recent ICRS Convention

Agent asked editors what they really wanted in new projects

and heard the following:

In Fiction:

  1. “regardless of genre, almost every editor told me they’re looking for strong female protagonists. This is particularly true in historical and historical romance. No wimpy women!”
  2. “they seem to want characters in interesting locations and unique occupations that will add to the story.”

Writer Uses for Twitter

This is an interesting list from Meryl’s Notes Blog

50+ Writer Uses for Twitter

Music and Fiction Writing

From the Kill Zone blog:

Soundtrack of Suspense: How Music Influences My Words by Robert Liparulo

Pace. Rhythm. Tension. It’s no coincidence these terms describe both stories and music. In fact, for me, music has always helped me create stories.

100 Web Tools for Writing

Another great list

100 Useful Web Tools for Writin

Recommended by the 50 Free Resources list mentioned in the previous post.

50 Free Resources for Writing Skills

This is an interesting list:

50 Free Resiources that will Improve Your Writing Skillls

Plot Whisperer Blog

Just found a blog called “Plot Whisperer for Writers and Readers” - “International plot consultant reflects on the development of plot and structure for writers to achieve maximum reader connection and enjoyment.”

The posts are quite interesting and useful.

Blog seems to be associated with the website “Blockbuster Plots“.  I haven’t had a chance to get in to either much yet but this looks promising.

Writer’s Digest List of 101 Top Writing Sites

Writer’s Digest List of 101 Top Writing Sites for 2009.

R. L. LaFevers Blog on Writing

R.L. LaFevers Blog

Yesterday’s post was on things learned in a Donald Maass all day workshop. In the previous days discussion of plots and conflict, etc.

Economist Style Guide

I find the Writer’s Digest blog “Best Tweets for Writers” by Jane Friedman to be lovely. Discovered a couple of the previous posts for today from this. Plus I would have missed this Tweet without the above summary

The Economist’s writing style guide is fantastic. @thesolowriter

And this is really good though aimed at journalists on its staff. One thing I noted was this about dashes (which I know I overuse)


You can use dashes in pairs for parenthesis, but not more than one pair per sentence, ideally not more than one pair per paragraph.

Use a dash to introduce an explanation, amplification, paraphrase, particularisation or correction of what immediately precedes it. Use it to gather up the subject of a long sentence. Use it to introduce a paradoxical or whimsical ending to a sentence. Do not use it as a punctuation maid-of-all-work (Gowers).

Author Website

There is a lot of information out there about how every author needs an author website and that this should be live long before the first book comes out. Maybe before you try to find an agent and before you get a publisher. But what do you put into such a website. This article discusses some of the things (may not all apply to someone whose book isn’t yet out):

6 Things Readers Want from Your Author Website

Foundation of Storytelling

Web page: Perceiving The Foundation of Storytelling by Bill Johnson. Interesting general article.

I Have Done a Major Rewrite

I have done a major rewrite and changed the first chapter into two. I have yet to make the other chapters fit with the changes so they are still the first draft. I am calling the rewritten material a second draft. Now I need to leave that material alone for awhile since I have to get distance from my own writing in order to see it clearly. The Timeline and the other chapters are still going to be referring to Katherine’s university education and that all has to be removed. And other things as well have to be changed. And then I have an additional chapter mostly written to add. And the next chapter is in my head and “all I have to do is get it written down.” But if you have ever gotten something straight in your head and then started writing it down, you may have found as I have that the writing process is not as easy as you might think! Anyway, I think the first two chapters are a vast improvement but the whole is more of a jumbled mess than it was.

Top Ten Things About Editing

Top Ten Things I Know About Editing by Alexandra Sokoloff

1. Cut, cut, cut.

2. Read your book aloud. All of it. Cover to cover.

3. Find a great critique group.

4. Do several passes.

5. Whatever your genre is, do a dedicated pass focusing on that crucial genre element.

6. Know your Three Act Structure.

7. Do a dedicated DESIRE LINE pass in which you ask yourself for every scene: “What does this character WANT? Who is opposing her/him in this scene? Who WINS in the scene? What will they do now?”

8. Do a dedicated EMOTIONAL pass, in which you ask yourself in every chapter, every scene, what do I want my readers to FEEL in this moment?

9. Do a dedicated SENSORY pass, in which you make sure you’re covering what you want the reader to see, hear, feel, taste, smell, and sense.

10. Finally, and this is a big one: steal from film structure to pull your story into dramatic line. For this There is a STORY ELEMENTS CHECKLIST

Revision Checklist

Revision Checklist from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent

(some of these have links to other things posted)

- Does the main plot arc initiate close enough to the beginning that you won’t lose the reader?
- Does your protagonist alternate between up and down moments, with the most intense towards the end?
- Are you able to trace the major plot arcs throughout the book? Do they have up and down moments?
- Do you have enough conflict?
- Does the reader see both the best and worst characteristics of your main characters?
- Do your characters have backstories and histories? Do these impact the plot?
- Is the pacing correct for your genre? Is it consistent?
- Is your voice consistent? Is it overly chatty or sarcastic?
- Is the tense completely consistent? Is the perspective consistent?
- Is there sufficient description that your reader feels grounded in the characters’ world?
- Is there too much description? (David R. Slayton)
- Are momentous events given the weight they deserve?
- Look closely at each chapter. If you can take out a chapter and the plot will still make sense, is it really necessary? Should some events be folded in with others?
- Do the relationships between your characters develop and change and become more complicated as the book goes on?
- What do your characters want? Is it apparent to the reader? Do they have both conscious and unconscious motivations?
- Do you know what your writing tics are? Do you overuse adverbs, metaphors, facial expressions, non-”said” dialogue tags, or interjections? Have you removed them?
- Do you overuse certain words or phrases? Is your word choice perfect throughout?
- Does your book come to a completely satisfying conclusion? Does it feel rushed?
- Do your main characters emerge from the book irrevocably changed?
- Are your characters distinguishable? Does it make sense to combine minor characters? (Kiersten)
- Do each of your scenes make dramatic sense on their own as well as move the overall plot forward? (Pete Peterson)

Writing Advice Database

Writing Advice Database from Nathan Bransford - Literary Agent

includes links to previous blog posts such as:

The limits of verisimilitude
What is pacing?
Is your dialogue stilted?
Is there such a thing as being too controversial?
Avoiding non-said/asked dialogue tags
Character and plot are inseparable
Are you sure you want to begin with dialogue?
Is your protagonist sufficiently sympathetic?
Does your novel have enough conflict?
You Tell Me responses: What makes for good dialogue?
Do you (and your readers) know what your characters want?

Blog Post on Revision

A blog post on revision from
A Schmooze is a gathering of children’s writers and illustrators designed to share knowledge, great news, and companionship.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Revision Roundup - Westside Schmooze Edition!

We also shared a few highlights from a talk given by Firebrand Literary agent Michael Stearns at SCBWI-LA Writer’s Day, this past April 18th, titled “The Plot Thickens: 13 Questions to Ask of a Way Too Wimpy Storyline.”

1.) Do you have a clock in your story?
2.) Have you buried the ends of your chapters? (End chapters on cliffhangers!)
3.) Have you structured your story to create suspense?
Is the straightforward telling the BEST way for your story?
(Check out Michael’s blog entry on ABDCE: Action, Background, Development, Climax, Ending.
5.) Have you taken full advantage of using subplots?
Subplots provide camouflage for your main plotline, to distract the readers from what you’re really up to.
Rita expanded on this, sharing the Using “B” Plots and “C” Plots concept Kathleen Duey spoke about at the summer conference years ago, on how to use subplots to solve pacing issues and deal with “the sagging middle.”
10.) Have you taken advantage of how everybody but everybody lies?
12.) Have you followed through on every consequence of your characters’ acts?
13.) Have you been as mean as possible to you characters?
Michael quoted another author’s idea of always asking, while writing, “Does it hurt yet?”

Great Characters

Blog Post “Great Characters - Their Best Kept Secret” by James Bonnet:

Great stories, myths and legends are dominated by quintessential elements….

The quintessential can be applied to any element of your story but is especially effective when applied to the professions and dominant traits of your characters. If you take these dimensions to the quintessential, you will make your characters more intriguing. They will make an important psychological connection and that will add significantly to the power of your work….

The dominant trait is the dominant character trait which the character personifies. Every truly great character has a dominant trait that has been taken to the quintessential….

the key to making your characters truly memorable and merchandisable. Take their dominant traits to the quintessential.,,,

Characters that possess this charisma become like deities….

I am not sure of this but it is interesting.

Books for a Buck

Books for a Buck is different. Here is what they say:

The Writers Page here is designed to meet two goals:

  1. To provide information to authors interested in publishing with BooksForABuck.com, and;
  2. To provide information that will be of value to all writers, whether you want to publish with us, self-publish, or publish with some other publisher.

and their FAQ says:

  1. We publish novel-length romance, mystery, science fiction, and fantasy. We define novel-length as approximately 50,000 words and higher….
  2. …We pay some of the highest royalties in the industry–50% at this time. Unlike traditional publishers who withhold payments for long periods of time, BooksForABuck.com pays royalties quarterly, with no reserve for returned books. (Note: the 50% royalty is paid on gross revenues (for direct sales). BooksForABuck.com pays the commission to PayPal on all sales. For books sold through distribution (e.g., through Fictionwise.com, we pay 50% of our net receipts. However, we guarantee a minimum of 50 cents per book even if your book does not earn out the Fictionwise advance in any given quarter)). For our paper publications, we pay royalties of 50% of net revenue (revenue net of production cost and any royalties retained by the printer or other sales channels). We do roll forward royalty payments for any quarter in which an author’s total royalty owed (for all books, including roll-forward) is less than $10, US. .

Online Syndication

From the Editorial Ass blog (about which the author says, “I’m a recovering editorial assistant. I’m like most of my kind: impoverished coffee-and-gin survivalists, underpaid but ambitious, bitter but hopeful.”

What’s Safe to Syndicate Online?