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Book Freak #57: How to Write a Novel

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Scrivener is an application (Mac, Windows, and iOS) that helps writers complete longform writing proj
 

Book Freak

May 27 · Issue #57 · View online
Short pieces of advice from books

Scrivener is an application (Mac, Windows, and iOS) that helps writers complete longform writing projects. I’ve been using its powerful organization, research, and writing tools for years to write books and magazine articles. It’s the most well-designed software application I’ve ever used, and the tutorial videos and support are excellent. At $49 it’s a bargain. If you’re serious about writing, you should give Scrivener a try! – Mark

Chris Baty is a freelance writer and writing coach whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, The SF Weekly, and Lonely Planet guidebooks. Here’s advice from his book, No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.
Give yourself a deadline
“The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It’s the lack of a deadline. Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen.”
Keep a low bar while writing a first draft
“In the context of novel writing,,, you should lower the bar from ‘best-seller’ to 'would not make someone vomit.’ Exuberant imperfection encourages you to write uncritically, to experiment, to break your time-honored rules of writing just to see what happens. In a first draft, nothing is permanent, and everything is fixable. So stay loose and flexible, and keep your expectations very, very low.”
Don't double back until you've crossed the finish line
“Rereading parts of your novel while writing is like doubling back at rerunning parts of a marathon midrace.”
Allow yourself the fun of failure every day
“Love your experiments (as you would an ugly child),” Mau’s maxim went. “Exploit the liberty in casting your work as beautiful experiments, iterations, attempts, trials, and errors. Take the long view and allow yourself the fun of failure every day.”
Book Freak is published by Cool Tools Lab, a small company of three people. We run the Cool Tools website, a podcast, a video review YouTube channel, and a couple other newsletters, including Gareth’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales, What’s in my bag? and Recomendo. I hope you’ll check them out. You can support our work by becoming a patron via Patreon.
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