Notebook next to computer.

How to Outline a Novel for NaNoWriMo 2015

Notebook next to computer.Before I start, I want to make it perfectly clear that this is not the only way to outline a story, nor is it a guaranteed formula for success. I don’t believe there are formulas for success. However, it is my hope that this will help someone, as these methods and techniques have helped me over the years.

Anyone who has been writing for a while knows there are two kinds of writers: plotters and pantsers. Plotters figure out what’s going to happen in their story before they ever start writing it. Pantsers sit down and write with no idea what comes next. If you’re a plotter, or curious about the outline process, NaNoWriMo may be the perfect time to exercise your outlining skills. Read More »

One of the BIGGEST Mistakes Writers Make… and How YOU Can Avoid It

One of the BIGGEST Mistakes Writers Can Make... and How YOU Can Avoid It

So, I’m talking with Val the other day about movies and I mentioned that Tomorrowland was getting horrible reviews. “Tomorrowland?” she says. “Is that the one where dinosaurs come back to life like in Jurassic Park?”

Me: “No, that’s Jurassic World.”

Val: “Oh. What’s Tomorrowland about?”

Me: “I dunno.”

Val: “Well, I hear Pitch Perfect 2 is doing really well.”

This morning, I get a phone call from a friend who took his wife to see Tomorrowland and they both hated it. “What’s it about?” I asked. And the next five minutes, I listened to his fumbled attempt to tell me what Tomorrowland was about. And I still don’t know. What I do know is that movie is suffering because people don’t know what it’s about.

Think about it. When you go see a movie, don’t you want to know what it’s about? Before you spend your money and invest your time, don’t you want to have some idea what you’re getting into? That may be even more true for readers who will spend many more hours reading a book than watching a movie.

Here’s what got me bothered about Tomorrowland. If you ask me what my current novel WIP is about, I can’t do it. I can go into the 5-minute description of what happens in the novel, but I can’t tell you what it’s about. Same thing goes for the screenplay I’m working on. That’s a problem. Read More »