Learn the Craft of Writing a Novel

There are many talented writers out there, people who have a gift with words. I’ve been writing as long as I can remember. I had gone to school for communications and wrote for a living. I had great ideas for books, I was a good story teller, writing a novel would be a piece of cake. WRONG!!!!!!

The first thing that I was reminded of was that writing press releases and articles for print media was VERY different from literary writing. As a communication major I was taught to be brief – the facts ma’am, just the facts. How can I deliver the biggest impact with the fewest words? The other thing is that punctuation was also different. The Associated Press Style Guide has different or “Optional” rules for punctuation. In print media, space is money and punctuation takes up space.

Soooooo, I had to retrain myself to write. In the beginning I felt schizophrenic in my writing. By day I had to apply the rules for writing for print media (Associated Press Style), by evening I had to change gears and remember all the rules I learned in English class. It was a huge struggle for me and drove my critique partners crazy. I also learned that writing a novel was more than remembering the rules from English class. There is an art to creating a story regardless of what genre you write.

After I joined CNYRW I had the opportunity to attend workshops that talked about various aspects of writing that great novel. Every workshop taught me something. If you have an opportunity to attend writing workshops or conferences, DO IT!! If you don’t have that luxury, visit your local book store and pick up some books on writing a novel.

I was fortunate to attend workshops that featured some great teachers. My first writer’s conference featured author Debra Dixon. Her Goal, Motivation & Conflict is a staple in most writers’ libraries of great resources. Her book taught me so much and when I get stuck plotting, I often still take out that book for inspiration. Another workshop I attended featured NY Times Best Selling Author Bob Mayer. His book The Novel Writer’s Toolkit is another staple in my resource library. As I continue to write more novels I still use these resources.

I’m the type of writer who has to plot everything, from the entire story to individual chapters. One guide that I use to help me is Christopher Vogel’s The Hero’s Journey. This form of plotting helps me make sure I have all the essential components necessary to write a great story. Who knew there was actually a road map to creating a story? I use this road map to begin creating every novel I write.

I am always looking to learn more about the craft of writing. From enhancing my characters, to understanding Point of View, to writing love scenes, I want to continue to learn how to write that NY Times Best Seller.  For more resources that can help you perfect your craft, visit the resource tab on my blog.

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