Learn How To Write A Novel - Writing Classes and Workbooks

Starting to Write?

40 video/audio lessons that take you step-by-step from idea to finished novel, taught by an award-winning, best-selling novelist and nationally acclaimed writing teacher. Easy, understandable, foundation elements essential for every genre. Learn Skills, Secrets and most of all... Story.

Rewriting and Editing?

A great book isn't written. . .it's rewritten. Learn how to analyze and fix your novel’s problems with this unique “self-editing” system. . .then arm yourself with over 40 Advanced Fiction Classes and rewrite your story into publication.

Ready To Publish?

You’ve worked too hard to quit now. Your story is nearly ready, but now it’s time to sell your novel. Learn the steps to creating a powerful proposal, secrets to pitching, the key elements to your marketing plan, a social media primer and how to create rabid reader fans. It’s time to ignite your career.
Character Change Trick icon

The ONE EASY Trick to SHOWING character change  

We’re giving our characters an Extreme Character Makeover over the past month – check out these posts (Nailing the Character Change Journey, and the KEY to building character motivation for change).  But nailing true Character change is hard to SHOW, right?  Because so often change happens in the inside. . .or does it?

At MBT, we teach the Story Equation – the idea that all character’s start their journey propelled by a Dark Moment Story, or some event in their past (recent or early on) that has created in their psyche a fear, a lie and a wound.

From there, the character change begins, moving your character from the LIE he believes, toward his Black Moment (Greatest Fear) his epiphany (TRUTH) and finally that Final Battle, or the thing he can do at the end that he can’t at the beginning.

But here’s the problem. 

While all that looks like INTERNAL change, it must be displayed on the page as EXTERNAL action.

So, how to you show this change? 

Here’s the TRICK:  Give your character a FLAW.

See, we all have flaws, and if you look closely at them, you’ll see that they are most often a result of our fears.  A mother fears her children getting hurt, so she overprotects. A man fears failing in his job, so he becomes a workaholic.  A woman fears being rejected, so she molds herself into being someone she isn’t.  A man fears getting his heart broken so he plays the field fast and loose, never settling down.

Our fears create our flaws, and our flaws are visible.

However, as our fears are slowly overtaken by truth, our flaws begin to change, to be healed.

So, too for our character in his journey. When our character begins to develop skills to face his fears, his flaws will begin to be healed.  During Act 2, he makes a choice contrary to his current behavior because his is no longer afraid.  And, after the epiphany, he is able to overcome his flaw and embody his triumphant final act.  He is able to “storm the castle,” or declare his love, or take the throne – whatever action he couldn’t do at the beginning because of his fears.  

But to do any of this, your character must have that Dark Moment Story to start his journey. Without this, you have no greatest fear, and thus, nothing to build his flaw on.  You’re simply picking a flaw from thin air.  In other words, your character needs a good reason for his flaw.

Here’s a bonus trick:

  • Men’s fears often stem from the past, something they don’t want repeated.
  • Women’s fears often stem from the future, or something they are trying to stop from happening (or something they are trying to make happen, because they fear it won’t).

So, when you’re developing the FLAW, look at the FEAR and determine the external behavior motivated by that fear. Then, show your character’s change by seeing the flaw at the beginning, show him slightly overcoming the flaw in the middle, and finally stepping into healing in the finale.

And remember, it all starts with the Dark Moment Story.

Go! Write Something Brilliant!

Susie May

P.S.  If you need help plotting your story, starting your story, or even getting the story on the page, we have a RARE, FREE Open House this Thursday, May 7, 2015.  Get a rare sneak peek at what goes on behind the scenes at MBT, as we continue our Build-A-Book series, diving deep on the Inciting Incident and Telling Yourself the Story!

Click HERE to sign up.

P.P.S  And May the Fourth be with you.

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Money in the air.

5 Tips to Help You Afford a Writers Conference

“I can’t afford to go to a writers conference.”

I hear this writer’s lament a lot. And there were years I stared down that seemingly insurmountable CAN’T, all the while longing to go to a conference and learn, network, and yes, have fun.

Harsh Reality: A writers conference is nowhere in your budget.

Writer Reality: You can’t afford not to go to a writers conference.

So how do you get past the first reality, conquer the financial obstacle, and get registered for your first writers conference? Here are some things that worked for me:

1. Start local. Yes, we all want to go to the big national conferences: ACFW, Mount Hermon, and any – okay, all of the MBT retreats. But when you add airfare and hotel on top of conference registration, your budget collapses. Hop on Google and search for writers conferences in your town or one-day conferences within a day’s drive.
2. Save up. One of the first conferences I attended had an arrangement where they charged a certain (reasonable) amount of the registration on my credit card for twelve months leading up to the conference. By the time the conference rolled around, it was paid for. Set up your own conference savings account and put a set amount aside each month for conference registration. What’s that you say? It might take you two years to save up for the Deep Thinkers or ACFW? Okay then. Get started now.
3. Buddy up. If you’re traveling out of town to a conference, there’s no need to get a hotel room all by yourself. I take that back – some people do prefer to sleep alone. But, if you can, share a hotel and split the costs two, three, even four ways. If the conference is within driving distance, see if anyone else wants to ride with you and share the cost of gasoline.
4. Book early. Don’t wait until the last minute to book your plane flight or your hotel room. The closer you get to your departure date, the pricier your plane ticket. And hotels fill up fast, especially when the conference offers a discounted rate for attendees. You can, of course, choose to stay at a less-expensive hotel close to the one where the conference is being held – but make those reservations early too.
5. Avoid extras. Yes, early bird sessions and after-conference sessions with big-name speakers are nice. But these are optional – not mandatory. Bookstores with all your favorite authors’ books – and the chance to have those books signed! – is another temptation, as are auctions to raise money for worthy causes. Think ahead: Is this in your budget or not? If you do go to the bookstore, know how much you’re going to spend. Pay cash if that’s the only way you won’t go over your limit.

What about you? How have you budgeted for a writers conference?

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Finding Time To Write With A Busy Schedule

Snippets of TimeDo any of you wonder how others do it? How do they find time to write? I’m incredibly busy, as I’m sure you are; yet people are successful at writing. How?

Well if you have a question, you should seek out answers right? So I did. I asked friends that still work a full time day job and write, stay-at-home Moms and full-time authors. There responses were enlightening.

 

Here’s how they responded to the question of how they write with an already busy schedule.

“Verrry carefully. Seriously, it takes a little planning but even more flexibility. I used to think I could plan everything out just so, make sure I had the perfect number of hours set aside in which I could write the perfect number of words. Then…reality set it. If I’m in deadline mode, I try to wake up early to do some writing before work and then I usually write for a couple hours in the evening and 2-3 Saturdays a month.

But more and more, I’m discovering the need to–and fun of–writing in small spurts when I can. I used to wave off little bits of time, twenty or thirty minutes here and there, as useless. But as I wrote my last book, I found sometimes those shorter time periods helped me wordsmith. Sometimes in long bouts of time, I feel pressure to write a BUNCH of words. But when I just have a short time and know from the start that I probably won’t pump out more than a few hundred words, I find I’m more concerned with the words themselves…the sound and feel and rhythm. So that’s been kind of a fun discovery lately.”

Melissa Tagg, Author

“Since I write full time now, it’s just like a job. I usually get up by 5:30 and have my quiet time, then sit down at the computer and work until I have 2,000 words. After that, I write 3,000 words a day until I finish the manuscript. I do try to take a break on the weekends, sometimes writing only for an hour or so.”

Patricia Bradley, Author

“I have a daily word count goal (1,500 words and/or one scene). I plan to write five days a week, for a total of 7,500 words and/or 5 scenes). If I can’t squeeze in my scene for the day, I write two the next, or use Saturday as my make-up day. There have been MANY nights where I’m exhausted and the last thing I want to do is write my scene, but I force myself to. It might not be the best scene ever, but it’s words on the page and I can always fix them later.”

Gabrielle Meyer, Author

“I work full time, so getting writing time in regularly is hard. When I make a writing goal, I usually have to give up watching TV and reading for a period of time until I meet my goal. I take my computer with me when I’m running errands that include wait time, like playing chauffer for my kids activities, and I write while I wait. I also keep a small notebook in my purse, so when I’m at work or running around, I can brainstorm in my down time and jot notes to get me started when I can get to my computer.”

Andrea Nell, Writer

What about you? What creative steps do you take to find time to write?

 

 

 

 

 

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