It was a wonderful evening. The hosts were the fine Vienna Storytelling Collective: you can read about the event at their Facebook site. If you are interested in writing, reading, or listening to new talent and live in Vienna, I encourage you to join them.
I started off talking about this blog (NB for some reason the videos are previewed sideways before you click on them; but they appear the right way up when you click “play”).
Congratulations! You have finished writing your novel.
First step: celebrate. You’ve achieved an awesome feat.
This post looks at how you can make your novel as good as possible, before you send it out into the wide world to seek an agent or a publisher.
Of course, you may want to send your novel out as soon as you have written “The End”.
Feel free. Perhaps you are a great writer (see below) and your first draft is of such quality that it needs no further improvement. Well done.
Signing a copy of your printed book is a great experience
Most first drafts of novels, however, will be improved by editing. This raises the question of how you, the author of a book, can best edit your own manuscript. Some of this post is based on a course I attended at the Arvon Foundation (links in bold italics are to other posts on this site). Take a look – I found both Arvon and the two tutors excellent and would recommend them.
Here are my recommendations on seven steps to improve the first draft of your novel. I illustrate the steps with experience of my new Istanbul-based thriller Palladium, on which I am working now. (more…)
I recently wrote on how to write a novel: plan in advance or not? (Links in bold italics are to other posts on this site.) I quoted Stephen King, and Stephen Donaldson, whose main tip on how to write a novel was “start today”.
Maybe you would like to write a novel, or a story. But you haven’t started yet. You often say, or think “I’d like to write a story”. But you never quite find the time.
People. Start today.
Starting to write a novel can be difficult
Of course we all feel obstacles to writing. We are busy. We worry that what we write may not be good enough. We don’t have the right computer, or the right software. We are waiting until we have finished another project, until a child is older, until we change job, until the stars are aligned. Starting to write is hard.
Here are five ways to get in the habit of writing. (more…)
Good news for story-lovers.
Click on the cover if you’d like to buy a copy from Amazon
The hosts are the excellent Vienna writers’ organisation “Write Now”: you can read about the event at their Facebook site. The evening starts at 19.00 on 17 June in the rather fantastic Art Lounge of the Cafe Korb at Brandstätte 9 in the First District. I should be reading sometime after 20.00, although timings are flexible.
All are welcome! I hope to see you there for an evening of creativity, entertainment and, perhaps, a few laughs.
Where can you read a few Hotel Stories before the event? Option 1 is to download them from Amazon. Option 2 is to read the introductions to a few of the stories right here on this site – see my post The Hotel Stories – 7 reasons you should read them (links in bold are to other posts on this site). Option 3, if you want to read a complete story and can’t bear Amazon, is to download one free here.
Also on 17 June, I shall be signing copies (more…)
Excellent piece from Wodehouse specialist Plumtopia marking the centenary of “My Man Jeeves”.
My Man Jeeves was published 100 years ago in May 1919.
Jeeves–my man, you know–is really a most extraordinary chap. So capable. Honestly, I shouldn’t know what to do without him. On broader lines he’s like those chappies who sit peering sadly over the marble battlements at the Pennsylvania Station in the place marked “Inquiries.” You know the Johnnies I mean. You go up to them and say: “When’s the next train for Melonsquashville, Tennessee?” and they reply, without stopping to think, “Two-forty-three, track ten, change at San Francisco.” And they’re right every time. Well, Jeeves gives you just the same impression of omniscience.
May 2019 marks 100 years since the publication of My Man Jeeves, P.G. Wodehouse’s first Jeeves story collection.
Well, sort of. It’s complicated.
Wodehouse chronology always is, because many of his works were published in magazine format on both sides of the Atlantic before appearing…
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What is the best way to write a novel? Let’s explore two common methods. I’ve tried both. Each can work well: which is best for you will depend on how you write and what you are writing.
Before we look at that, let me cite the US fantasy author Stephen R Donaldson, who was once asked by an admirer how to achieve success in writing. “Start today,” Donaldson said.
Donaldson’s advice is great. If you want to start writing fiction, don’t wait until the conditions are perfect and all the stars are aligned (“I’m waiting until the kids grow up”; “I have to get some new writing software”; “I’m too busy right now”). Set aside some time tonight, this afternoon or even this morning; get out a pen and paper; and start writing.
How do you begin?
How to begin? There are different ways of writing a novel
The first method is taught in writing courses and top universities across the world. You should plan your story around a standard structure. This structure is set out in a thousand primers – try googling “narrative structure” or “three act structure”.
This plan goes back to the ancient Greeks. That’s no bad thing: it has stood the test of time. In brief:
- the first part (or “act”) of your story introduces your main characters and describes their situation, usually including a problem or conflict;
- the second part involves an “inciting act” (eg: a letter in the post; discovery of a body; a glance across a crowded room) leading to, or highlighting, a conflict or problem. This then escalates, perhaps via a series of mini-crises, to become a crisis;
- the third part sees the main character or characters developing and changing (“digging deeper than ever before”) to a climax where they overcome the crisis, often preceded by a section where it seems that “all is lost”. This leads on to the end of the story, with the main character in a new equilibrium.