Advice on How to Write a Novel

The other week I received an intriguing email from my accountability partner. She asked if I could take a particular day off from work.

I checked my calendar and realized I could.

Liz and I would spend the entire day writing. I could hardly wait!

I have three books in my head. One is halfway down on paper (well, the computer). One is in outline form. One is still swirling. I need writing time.

Unfortunately, I have not been following my friend Adriana Trigiani’s advice. And I should since she is a best-selling novelist. She has told me — and countless others — that the secret to writing a novel is to just do it.

It’s the same advice I heard from several authors involved with Sisters in Crime, Central Virginia Chapter.

Meriah L. Crawford, a writer, teacher and private investigator, said, “You have to make time for writing. If you go to grad school, it makes you a better writer.”

You can write anywhere. Teresa Inge writes in her car at lunch.

You can hold a writing marathon by writing all day, which is my plan.

Another option is to write in small bites, which I’ve tried, but I only get so far. Others have had more success with this approach.

Kristin Kisska, who has young children, writes during nap times. Her debut novel is a contemporary suspense adventure set at her alma mater, the University of Virginia.

Adele Gardner suggests writing for 15 minutes when you wake up.

And then there is Vivian Lawry, who did not start writing until after retirement.

Mary Burton enjoys hunting down serial killers, which she does in her New York Times and USA Today bestselling novels of suspense and romance. She has 27 books to her credit and suggests having daily page goals to get the book finished.

Her advice is similar to that of Walter Moseley, who writes, “In order to be a writer you have to set up a daily routine. Put aside an amount of time to sit with your computer or notebook.” The advice is included in his book, “This Year You Write Your Novel,” which is one of more than 25 books he has written, including the Easy Rawlins and Fearless Jones mysteries.

So now that I’ve procrastinated by reading his book, it’s time to start writing. And I’m going to start with a marathon day!

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