Why patience is particularly important for writers

Novels, Writing: The Process
[caption id="attachment_2170" align="alignleft" width="450"] I waited 10 years to get back to Scotland and it was totally worth it![/caption] To write a great book, one that leaves emotional impact, you need a great many tools, but one of the most important tools is patience. In fact, patience is as important as passion. Why is patience so important? Well, I think this quote explains it nicely: “A good book isn’t written, it’s rewritten.” ~Phyllis A. Whitney Rewriting is a natural part of the process, and every book needs a different number of rewrites to be transformed from a first draft into a great novel. Even the best writers sometimes go through seven or eight rewrites. And these rewrites often take varying amounts of time. Your first rewrite might take six months and…
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Great writing isn’t about structure, it’s about emotions

  [caption id="attachment_2159" align="alignleft" width="200"] I read this book in London![/caption] What separates a great novel from a good one? What makes one book stand out in your mind forever while countless others drift off to be forgotten? What keeps you coming back to an author, time and time again? Your first instinct is probably to say something very writer-y. Something about the kind of plot, the worldbuilding, the characters. But it isn't really any of those things. I mean, it is--these things are all important--but these are the superficial things. What really makes a great book stand out from a good one is deeper than that. It's emotion, the emotion being poured out of the book and into you. The best books can make us laugh in one chapter…
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Why I submit to small publishers first

First off, let me confess that I have daydreamed about getting a contract from Simon and Schuster, Random House or another one of the big publishers. In these daydreams I get a five figure--sometimes six figure--advance and my book appears in every bookstore throughout Toronto. I suspect you've had similar daydreams. What writer hasn't? We might be satisfied with making a decent living from our work, but every writer at some point imagines what it would be like to make as much money from their books as J.K. Rowling or George R. R. Martin. And yet years of researching--and working in--the publishing industry have convinced me that a contract with a big publisher is rarely as grand as one imagines it to be. Big advances mean lots of time waiting…
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The first page of my novel — Care to critique?

Editing: The Hard Part, Novels
I was having a hard time coming up with a blog post for today, then I remembered that I haven't posted any of my personal fiction or poetry here in a long time. I debated sharing some of the background work I've done for the novel I'm editing right now, Moonshadow's Guardian--I've actually shared some of the work done on my main character--but then I had a brilliant thought: Every writer needs critique, preferably from writers with varying skills and experience. And my readers happen to be writers, all with different skills and experience levels. So today I'd like to ask you, my loyal readers, to critique the first page of the YA fantasy novel I'm editing right now in the comments below. If you want, I'll even critique the…
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Author Spotlight: Becky Black

Author Interviews, Nanowrimo, Reading Related, Writing
Today's author has not one, but four Nanowrimo novels published. She's also been a pleasure to work with and provided some extremely valuable insight anyone interested in Nanowrimo can find useful. Please give author Becky Black a warm welcome. 1. Can you tell us a bit about your books? (Preferably with a focus on those originally written during Nanowrimo) NaNoWriMo got me started on writing novels after I’d been writing fanfiction for a few years. I started by doing science fiction, and later moved on to gay romance – a genre that was only just appearing a few years ago, but is booming now. I first sold a book back in 2010 and since then four of my nine published novels have started their lives as NaNoWriMo books. One was a…
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How Far in Advance Should You Start Planning a Nanowrimo Novel?

Nanowrimo, Writing
Every author's approach to planning a novel is different. Some like to know their story and characters intimately before they write the first sentence. Others fill binder after binder with worldbuilding details. Still others prefer to skimp on the notes and dive into writing head first with only the vaguest idea where they're going. So when should you start planning your Nanowrimo novel? The short answer is that this varies quite a bit from novel to novel, but you should probably start planning seriously about a month in advance. Here's the long answer: You can only really discover how much planning is appropriate through trial and error, but you can make an educated guess based on your story, setting, and genre--or just listen to Chris Baty, who suggests that you start…
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10 Reasons why I love Nanowrimo

Chances are you already know what Nanowrimo is--if you don't, it's explained quite well here--and you're here because you're considering participating. Or because you've already decided you're going to do it. I've been participating in Nanowrimo for nine years--this will be my tenth--and blogging about the experience for four. Most years around this time I write up a post about why you should try Nanowrimo. This year I've decided to take a different approach. I'm not going to tell you what you should and shouldn't do. I'm just going to tell you why Nanowrimo is awesome. Maybe it will convince you to take on the challenge this year, maybe it won't. Either way, your decision doesn't bother me. But if you do sign up, you should know what you're in for. So…
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5 Great Resources For Writers

As September draws to a close the time has come for me to really start planning for Nanowrimo--and to help other aspiring novelists do the same. Next week I'll be diving into the subject of how to plan a novel and prepare for a crazy month of quick writing. Of course, not every writer wants to do Nanowrimo. Some people are naturally slow writers, other people are deep in edits, and others simply don't like the idea. And some of you will simply want to continue reading about other topics. Since I know you all have different writing processes--and different goals--I've compiled a list of writing resources to keep your mind busy while I'm focused on Nanowrimo(after signing up for my newsletter  so you can be reminded when it's over). The…
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Author Spotlight: Carol Browne

Author Interviews
Today's author is a lovely lady who I've had the pleasure of working closely with at Musa Publishing. She's also an awesome fantasy writer. I recently finished her first novel, The Exile of Elindel, and I'm eagerly waiting for the next one. Of course, I think it's best if you let the author--and the book--speak for themselves, so please give Carol Browne a warm welcome and enjoy her thoughts on the writing process.   1. Can you tell us a bit about your novel, The Exile of Elindel? The Exile of Elindel is Book I of my fantasy trilogy The Elwardain Chronicles. It was published by Musa Publishing on 18th April, 2014 and is available on Amazon Kindle or directly from the publisher: Elgiva, a young elf banished from Elvendom, must seek…
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3 Solutions to hating your Nanowrimo novel

Inspirational, Nanowrimo, Novels, Writing, Writing: The Process
It's more than halfway through the month and your novel's middle is sagging, your characters are refusing to co-operate, and you wish you'd never started it to begin with. Or maybe your characters are doing exactly as they're told, and you've simply realized that you can't stand them--or your story idea. Don't panic. As anyone who's done Nanowrimo a few times will know, it's bound to happen eventually. It's perfectly natural to get frustrated with your novel. Writing a book in a month is hard, writing daily is hard, and sometimes an idea turns out to be less interesting than you originally thought. Characters can be impossible to work with and if the wrong one decides to die it can ruin everything. All of that is perfectly natural, and it's…
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