Nathan Bransford, Author

Friday, October 25, 2013

Guide to Writing a Novel: On sale very soon!

It's almost here! 

My guide to writing a novel is officially launching on Monday. It's over a year in the making (or almost 7 years if you count the blog as a whole), and I've had a ton of fun throughout the process. Going into the self-publishing process I wasn't sure if I would enjoy all that extra work of finding my own editors and cover and working out the interior formatting, but it's been a blast. 

More to come on Monday. Meanwhile, here's a sneak peek at the first chapter:

Rule #1: BELIEVE!

The first thing you need to know about writing a novel is this: you can do it.

No, really. You can. Lesser people than you have written a novel. I’m not saying they were all good, but they did it. You can, too! And if you read this book, and apply the rules and advice herein, it will probably be pretty good!

I spent eight years reading slush as a literary agent at a century-old agency, so I can say this with authority: you can’t possibly go and write the worst novel ever written. It’s already been done. Don’t even try.

You probably shouldn’t try to write the best novel ever written either, because the resulting paralysis will turn you into a miserable alcoholic.

Instead, write the novel you want to write. Strive for quality, write something you love, and don’t become a brooding, cafe-squatting malcontent that people avoid at parties. You will learn a lot from the writing journey, you will be thankful you have written a novel once you’re finished, and humanity may thank you for shutting yourself inside long enough to write something that brings meaning and entertainment to the world.

You can do this.

Proof: I did it! I once harbored major doubts about whether I could really write a novel. Then I went and wrote one, and it didn’t get published; then, I really doubted whether I could write a novel. But I had another idea, I wrote a new novel, I found an agent, and the end result was the Jacob Wonderbar series. What’s more, I wrote it while maintaining a more-than-full-time job. I didn’t even get fired.

If I can do it, you can do it. But you have to want it.

There will come a time in the course of writing a novel where you would rather rip off your toenails and light them on fire than write one more word. This is normal.

There will be days when scrubbing your floor with a toothbrush will start to sound like a good idea if it means you can avoid writing. There will be days when you will contemplate driving yourself to the nearest mental institution and hurling yourself onto the reception desk, because anyone who would devote so much time to writing a novel when the rewards are so uncertain is surely insane.

This is also normal.

This is because writing, when done correctly, is not always fun. If you think writing a novel will be completely fun, you should find another hobby, like playing laser tag on ice skates. Or something. I don’t know what non-writers do with their time.

Writing is not always fun. It shouldn’t always be fun. You’re not doing it because it’s always fun.

The only reason to write a novel is because you have some insane fire burning inside that years of therapy have been unable to extinguish, and you fear how disappointed you will be with yourself if you never do it. Or, you know, because you really, really want to do it.

You have to want it. You have to work at it. You have to be able to write when the weather is teasing you with its pleasantness and when your friends are merrily drinking bottomless mimosas without you because they are happy non-writing jerks.

It’s hard. It really is. But, again, you can do this.

You, the person who may not always have had the best work ethic. You, the person who wonders whether they’re really creative enough to think up enough ideas for a whole novel. You, the person who thinks the whole thing seems magical and impossible. You, the person with the nagging voice in your head that says, why do I want to do this again? You, the person who feels like they never have the time. You can write a novel.

And if you’ve already written a novel, you can learn to write an even better one.

Here’s how.

On sale at Amazon now, more formats soon!

Art: Musical Fête by Giovani Paolo Panini


Bryan Russell said...

Everyone should buy this.

Christi said...

Very excited to read your book! I'm imagining it will occupy a cherished spot on my shelf next to Mary Kole's Writing Irresistible Kidlit.

Jennifer Malise said...

This is so true..."The only reason to write a novel is because you have some insane fire burning inside that years of therapy have been unable to extinguish." I feel this literally all the time. It's quelled a little every now and then when I do manage to get some writing done, but it's always there. I tried to walk away from writing in college, and for a little there were enough distractions to keep me away. Then I was sucked back in and there was nothing I could do but surrender and major in creative writing.

In short, I'm very excited to purchase your book and get started on NaNoWriMo! Also, thank you for doing what you do.

daniel t. radke said...

Congrats Nathan, I'll definitely pick up a copy.

And I hope see many future blog posts about your thoughts/findings on the self-publishing process!

capitalkblog said...

I'm so excited! Just in time for NaNoWriMo!

Evelyn Krieger said...

This alone just sold the book! It was just what I needed to hear. "Paralysis", yes that's what i've been experiencing lately. I think I need to print this out and read it every day before I begin--or rather, procrastinate. And I'm talking about novel #2. Thanks, Nathan, for reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles to pull the story out of our head and onto the paper. Hey, I'm normal!

Susie said...

Sounds great so far! Good luck!

It was interesting to hear that you had a novel that didn't get published before JW. If this isn't too much navel-gazing, it might be interesting if you could analyze why it didn't work/didn't sell. (Maybe you don't know either, of course). It might be a useful and inspiring exercise for writers if you could dissect something about this earlier work!

Yolanda Renee said...

Sounds like an awesome book! I love the first chapter!


wendy said...

Now that's inspirational. Well done. Looking forward to reading the rest.

K.E. Skedgell said...

Dude, you've got me sold. Looking forward to reading it after it's released.

marion said...

As you say, number one is soooo hard.
The picture--Is that the Royal Albert Hall?

Lisa Snider said...

"Lesser people than you have written a novel." I love this, and it's just what I needed to hear. Thanks.

thewriteedge said...

So excited about this book! Can't wait to get my own copy. Thanks, Nathan, for the excellent advice you shared in the excerpt. That alone was worth the wait!

treeoflife said...

Hi Nathan, looks like you'll have an interesting book for sure.

My question is, how will your book be distinguished from the others out there? It's a very full genre (from which I've bought far too many books), and after a while it's hard to find something unique. What's your angle?

Joel Mayer said...

What about Microsoft Word's style and grammar checker? How does one avoid those wavy green lines and at the same time write in a style that's both breezy and conversational?

Anonymous said...

looks like a great book and very positive tone in the first chapter. Congratulations on completing it.

Joel--in MS Word go to preferences and uncheck the box for "check spelling as you go" that should eliminate the green lines for you.


Anonymous said...

Congrats Nathan. I enjoyed the excerpt. It reminded me that I need to stop procrastinating and get back to work on my story!

Chris Bailey said...

Good opening! I'm in!

Hans John said...

Oh I am sure this book has all ingredients to make a perfect author out of an average author and a successful author out of a writing hobby author :)

Carolynnwith2Ns said...

It's Monday.
Yes, I am shouting.
Good job Mr. B

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