Tag Archives: Novel

to_outline

To Outline or Not to Outline

Almost as old as time itself is the question:
Should I outline my novel or just wing it?
Jon and Juliet suggest that the answer to this ancient mystery is: Yes!

Jon discusses his experience trying an outlining system described in Libby Hawker’s Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing. Amazon link.

Jon talks what worked, what didn’t, and where he is now. Juliet offers the editorial perspective having seen both authors who were heavy outliners and others who wrote by the seat of their pants.

exclamation-points

How Many Exclamation Points Can Dance on the Page of a Novel?

Exclamation Points.
You know, EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!!
When you need to shout, scream, yell, and LOUDTALK!

How many should you have in your novel? 100? 200? 400? How about 649?

Jon shares an uneasy moment while editing the novel he’s working on, Loom, when he began to think, Hey how many exclamation points have I used here?

Juliet and Jon discuss how many exclamations are too many through the lens of several others novels. They discuss when to use them and when they can be edited out.

Novels mentioned in the show:

Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl

Andy Weir’s The Martian

Sarah Dessen’s Saint Anything

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby

Examples in the Podcast from Jon Armstrong’s upcoming (and when he says upcoming, he means years from now):

Before:
“Ken!” I cried. “Shut up! Can you hear me? Ken? Please listen.”

After:
“Ken,” I cried. “Shut up. Can you hear me, Ken? Please listen.”

Another Example:

Before:
“Stop it! Shut up!” Shouting made pain explode through me.

Fixed:
“Stop it. Shut up.” Shouting made pain explode through me.

Rethought:
“Stop it. Shut up!” Shouting made pain explode through me.

 

failure_points

Failure Points

There are a bunch of common failure points in a submission–where I stop reading. – Literary Agent Hanna Bowman

Hannah Bowman of Liza Dawson Associates broke down where the usual novel Failure Points (see all her Tweets on Storify).
Juliet and Jon read all nine tweets in the series and discuss what they mean, how the points are different, and how to avoid them all.

In this show, Jon talks about the book he’s currently reading, The Stranger by Harlan Coben.
From Amazon: #1 New York Times bestselling master of suspense Harlan Coben delivers his most shocking thriller yet, proving that a well-placed lie can help build a wonderful life– and a secret has the same explosive power to destroy it.