Tag: writing

Basic methods of outlining a novel

Basic methods of outlining a novel


Basic methods of outlining a novel

Here are few tips in how to write an outline for a your novel these are the basic methods of outlining a novel. 


Do I have to write an outline for your novel? No, there are writers who are pansters, I will write a post about that later one. You can sit down and write, however outline works better for me. I’m not going to post a lot of examples to keep it as simple as possible as it can be overwhelming. Here a 2 basic steps of how you should outline:

Basic methods of outlining a novel

Step 1. You can write an outline for your novel by scribbling down a summary of the entire novel this is what I do and it’s my favorite method of outlining. Basically, you jolt down all of your ideas. You’ll be surprised how inspired you become. Make sure, you know your ending before you write that masterpiece. You can use this method then add dialogue, description so on.


Step 2. You can write an outline for your novel by doing a chapter by chapter summary, you write down a summary of each chapter how the story is going to evolve.


There is also the skeleton outline example:


-The story will take place in England.

-We are introduced to Franklin he’s goth and musician.

-Madeline is a patient in a mental hospital.


-Franklin father dies.

-Madeline escapes the hospital.

Rising Action

Franklin meets Madeline in a bar.

-Franklin escapes with her and start to see how dangerous this woman is.


-Franklin tries to escape from Madeline wrath.

-Madeline stabs him.

-Franklin manages to escape and drives to a hospital with a knife on his back, he arrives in the hospital but faints.


-Franklin is alive and well.

-Madeline was caught and committed to maximum security ward in the hospital.


Nano Wrimo five tips to get started

Nanowrimo five tips to get started.


Nanowrimo five tips to get started.


For those who don’t know , Nanowrimo stands for “National Novel Writing Month”. This is a worldwide event where writers challenge themselves to write 50K in a month. I started nanowrimo five years ago and won  5 times. When I first heard about it, I was like 50k in a month that is ridiculous who writes 50k in month? I’m a fast drafter myself I write about 1,200 everyday (i On a good day) so, I thought this is not going to be so bad. I can beat this.


Wirimo can be a challenging and wonderful experience , even if it’s just to achieve a personal goal. Here are my top five tips that I learned through the years:


Tip 1 –  Find a suitable time and a comfortable place to write.


See when you have a time to write. I normally write in the evenings because I work full time and that is when I have time to write. So, for you it could be in the morning or the afternoons see what works for you. It doesn’t have to be two hours even 15 minutes a day can help. Find a room you feel comfortable in, for me it’s in bed. I sit in front of a computer with a desk all day .I can’t write sitting in front of a desk again. So find a room that keeps you motivated.

Nanowrimo five tips to get started.

Tip 2 – Plan ahead.


To reach your goal of 50K means slightly more than 1,600 words every day. Those are many words , therefore it’s important to schedule, shopping, meals etc ahead,  because we need to eat, right? Prepare meals beforehand but I do not recommend junk food as you need lots of energy and junk doesn’t give you that, rather, it does the opposite. Let friends and family know you are going to be busy. For Americans you have thanks giving so you need to plan.


Tip 3 – Whatever you do, do not edit.


I repeat do not edit. I know there is a spelling or something that you can easily fix but you don’t have time for that. If you go to fix a particular sentence, you end up getting sucked into editing and before you know it, you are lost in there and you will never finish. I don’t edit. I do this after I finish the first draft so I can laugh at myself when I go to revise. So for all you control freaks keep this in mind don’t touch a single word from there.


Tip 4 create a playlistNanowrimo five tips to get started.


I write with music as it really puts me in the mood and inspires my writing of  the story . Also, I live in a noisy area so I need something to block out the distraction. So create a playlist it can be on I tunes, you tube, or Spotify this will serve as a soundtrack for the story you plan to write.



Tip 4 – Plot, Plot, Plot


  Plan , Plan , Plan your novel’s  outline. I never outlined my nimro and sometimes I end up getting stuck or filling unnecessary scenes just to reach my 50k so an outline can be handy. You don’t need a big fancy outline. Just jolt down a summary of your idea so you know what you have to write about before you start. Also, carry a notebook with you. It will be effective if you don’t have your laptop with you where you can jolt down words or ideas to be on track.


Bonus tip


Don’t forget to join the Nanowrimo groups and connect with other writes who are doing the same thing you are to help you be motivated and inspired.




Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.


Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue. Writing dialogue is one of the most important fundamental aspects in creative writing. This is where your characters come to life and their personalities shine through. These are the magic ingredients which makes the reader fall in love with them or hate them to their core. Dialogue can be tricky as it needs to sound realistic but you can’t add the general day to day conversation. These five tips will you help you to write better dialogue and bring those characters to life.


 1. Listen to conversations and write them down.

When I was doing a self-editing course, the editor suggested we should listen to conversations. As writers, we are observant and this can be a major pro. Observe a conversation, it can be with your co-workers, at school or wherever. Listen to a conversation in a café, and jolt everything down. Notice how people change the subject in a matter minutes, this should reflect in your writing too.

2. Keep dialogue tags simple.


Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

  Don’t use fancy dialogue tags. I know, the word “said” can sound boring. We writers want to be creative. When I started critiquing manuscripts, I noticed how distracting it is to use different dialogue tags. Don’t know what I mean? Here is example.
  “Hi Sam,” Jean said.
  “Hello Jean” Sam replied.
  “Haven’t you heard!’ Jean exclaimed.
  “What?’ Sam asked.
  “Bob was hit by car!” Jean declared.
‘Oh, that’s terrible when?’ Sam cried.
Doesn’t that pull you away from the story? Keep it simple and stick with “said” or “asked” as those are the “invisible” tags. That kind of dialogue screams amateur. It is not a crime to add, “Shouted,” “yelled,” or “hissed” to make a point but not a continuous bombardment like the above example. Also, remember, your readers are smart and will be able to distinguish who is talking.  So no need to add “said” after that speaking character all the time.
Tip: if you are going to use yelled stick with just yelled don’t write “yelled loudly” we know that yelling is loud don’t add unnecessary words your editor will thank you. 
Another tip in writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.


3. Use body language to bring out the emotions and to avoid using too much dialogue tags.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Instead of using dialogue tags, you can describe your character’s body language. By doing so, you are showing what your characters are feeling. Like the below example:
Richard’s hand clutched round the glass. I feared it would smash on his hands.  He stood and followed me in the kitchen.  ‘Well, ain’t that relief, let’s open a bottle of champagne and celebrate, shall we?’ slamming the glass on the table, ‘how could you do something like this!’
He kept watching me with a hard look upon his face.  ‘Well? What do you have to say for yourself?’
              I turned crossing my hands against my chest, ‘… I just…’
                  ‘What?’ He shouted.
I turned my back to him and poured red wine on the glass. Richard stomped towards me ‘what!’
By the slamming of glass and the stomping of the foot, we know that Richard is angry at his wife. Hardly any dialogue tags needed.


4. Don’t include everything and Keep dialogue realistic.


Think of how you would talk to people but as I said, you can’t include everything. If your character went to the supermarket to by milk, you don’t have to include the conversation between him and the cashier. That will bore the reader. But if your character went the supermarket to buy milk and there is a burglary than yes, include the dialogue as that would spark interest. Dialogue needs to reveal something about your character but don’t do this:
 “Hello Jenny, my dear friend of ten years who has black hair, blue eyes and high cheekbones!’
Do you get my point? Do you talk to your friend like this?
And make sure you read it aloud.  
Another tip Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

5. Watch movies/TV shows to enhance your dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Writing dialogue:Top 5 tips to write dialogue.

Movies are all about dialogue . Movies are fun way to see how it’s done and help you improve. I’ll will do a post about movies with great dialogue to help you get creative on the next post so, stay tuned.
Bonus tip: I recommend reading this book to learn about dialogue.   How to Write Dazzling Dialogue : The Fastest Way to Improve Any Manuscript






Thriller movies to watch to help you with writing.

Thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing.


    For those who don’t know, I am a thriller, mystery writer and I’m attempting to write and edit my debut novel. Meanwhile, I am saving up for an editor. Editors are expensive but necessary; anyway, I will talk about editors in the near future. By no means I’m claiming to be an expert, I’m not but I’m sharing my journey of what I learned through my experience as writer. I have been writing for myself since I was 16 (now I’m in my 30s) and have about seven unpublished manuscripts. I learned a thing or two but I’m still learning and growing to become better.


  This post is about thriller movies (worth your while ) to watch. Especially if you are, like me an inspiring thriller/ mystery writer. Movies might not be books but they can be effective to your creative progress. I get inspired through music, books, and movies along other things. Movies have a script and they deliver that infamous trick in writing: to show and not tell. You can appreciate how well crafted the scenes are through movies, these can be implemented in your writing, and of course in the most important part of writing, the dialogue. Here are my top five favourites.


  Rear Window


  Thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing.   First movie in my list is one of my personal favourites. The opening shot is a masterpiece , but the again how could it not be when directed by the master of suspense himself Alfred Hitchcock. If you are looking on how to create the art of suspense in your novel, this comes highly recommend.

Every wondered what life would be without Facebook? We mostly probably would be scoping at our neighbours with… binoculars. See where I’m going with this?  To take a glimpse of their life.

   Our hero suddenly finds himself is in wheel chair and so he is rather helpless and bored ,to kill boredom he starts to peep on his neighbours, and then he sees something fishy and at the same time terrifying , one of his neighbours might have committed murder.


Inglourious Basterds


 Thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing.  Maybe it doesn’t classify as a thriller but the opening scene of this movie is a must watch also for suspense. This movie has two particular scenes that cause a lot of tension.

  1. The opening where we have the farmer and the Nazi Hans Landa (nicknamed as the Jew hunter). It’s clever how Tarantino developed this scene as the farmer and Landa are having a discussion but Tarantino gives us a shot of what is under his floorboards. The farmer,is hiding a Jewish family. This raises the question, does Landa suspects already? Doesn’t he? Of course, the farmer confesses the truth and Landa orders to have the family killed but the girl runs away.

  1. The second time Tarantino does the same thing later on in the movie. Years later, the girl Shosanna Dreyfus, who had her family killed beside her in the above scene , is introduced to Landa and the tension starts to build again does he know? Did recognise her? Doesn’t he?


Basic Instinct


  To the sexy side of things ,  but despite the eroticism in this movie we can’t deny that this an entertaining thriller with one of the sexiest female villains (Sharon stone), a seductive bestselling novelist who had her boyfriend killed the same way as described in her book. I still don’t get how writing a book gives you an alibi I thought it was supposed to mean that have to be in another place when a crime have occurred. Anyway, this movie can give you a good idea of how to build sexual tension and the cat and mouse chase.







China Town


   Thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing.Another film tin the list of thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing.This film story line is so good that I thought it was based on book. It wasn’t. If you are, aspiring to write a story with a private detective in it and in need of some motivation for a good plot to create a stunning twists. I won’t say much about it, you have to see for yourself 😉











Thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing. Last one this list of Thriller movies to watch to help you with your writing.This is also my favourite thriller, I never get tired of watching it after all those years. You’re thinking of writing a thriller or crime novel with a serial killer? This is for you, seven people, not one of them connected, seven murders, all based on the seven deadly sins. Every scene in this movie is moody and dark that reflects the overall theme of the story. I love how they never mention the town and of course what’s in the box?




On a letter note you can also check out;







Have a movie in mind let me know down the comments below. 


Happy writing 



The writing life: Top 5 things you should never tell writer

The writing life: Top 5 things you should never tell writer


Common question asked in every writer’s life about their writing life. Last week a friend asked me ‘what kind of job you would love to do?’
This for me was an easy answer but I was hesitant, few people know I write. I want to avoid answering the questions non-writers ask. Mostly they are stupid questions, so stupid and annoying that I’d be tempted to create a character based on them just for the satisfaction killing them off would bring. When I told my friend I would love to make money by writing books, then came the questions “what’s your book about?” “You are going to make a fortune” “so if your editor says yes, you will be able to publish it?”
If only it were that easy. I don’t think I’m alone here; we writers are asked a lot of questions and we’re not taken seriously. For most people, writing is not a real job and they assume that writing a book is so easy. The answer is writing a book is the hardest of crafts. It takes years to write, years to enhance your writing and let’s not forget the criticism. What’s my book about and how am going to summarise a 90k word thriller novel in just a few sentences. I need to get working on this but I want to stay in this cocoon of a comfort zone for a while longer. Meanwhile here are 5 top questions that you shouldn’t ask a writer:
  1. “Oh you wrote a book? So, your book is the next Harry Potter or Fifty Shades of Grey or Twilight?”
Okay, you don’t know what my book is about why so you’re assuming it’s about BDSM, wizards or vampires? I don’t want to know. We’re in it for the passion we love to create stories. We’re artists in our own right and if you think you are going to write a book for the fame and fortune, you are going to be disappointed.
  1. Can you a write a book for me?”writing life
No! I have my own ideas I want to write. No, I will not write a book based on your life story, here is a thought; why don’t sit your butt on the chair and write it yourself?
“Can you give me a free copy of your book?”
No, you cheap son of bitch I won’t! Pardon my French. Do you work for free? You realise I have to eat, right?
  1. “Is your book any good?”
This question is so stupid on so many levels. Writers doubt themselves and they might be thinking no it’s rubbish. Any writer with half a brain is going to say yes because they want you to buy the book.
  1. “Can I be in your book?”
Of Course you can… (Can you hear my sarcasm?) These people come in two different breeds; some want their name in the book (but imagine if they have a name that’s not so great.) The second breed want a whole character based on them “so my character, she has to be beautiful of course, you know a cross over between Jennifer Lopez and Selena Gomez. She has to be smart, successful, compassionate, caring, and wears designer brands.”
I think you have it covered you don’t need me.
  1. ‘I would write a book if I had the time.”
Not a question, but when I told people I write, I got this all the time.  I sit down and do nothing all day. Writing a book takes a lot of discipline and time. It took you an hour to compose that email and you‘re saying you could write a book if you had the time?


Topical writing life


Happy writing xxx





What’s a pantser?


What is a pantser? Who are the famous pantser authors?


What is a pantser? Who are the famous panster authors? A panster is a writer who doesn’t plot when writing their novels, I wrote a blog post about outlines, link over here: basic-outlines-methods I have tried both methods to experiment; I wrote my thriller novel by outlining, where wrote a basic summary of how the story will progress, including the ending. I didn’t write a ridiculous 100 page outline, that’s half my book maybe I’m lazy and want to get started right away. My outline was a modest 2 pages.

The thing that annoyed me was, that if I got a new idea, I had to add it to my outline. Some say it prevents the famous writers block. I still got writers block, but it wasn’t because I couldn’t write, but because I didn’t know how to write court scenes in my novel. I wanted those scenes to be real as possible so I had to do my research by watching movies, Google, and asking around.

What is a pantser?


I wrote the rest of pile of manuscripts that are gathering dust by pantsing. When I started writing, which was sixteen years ago I didn’t know what an outline was. This method is making stuff as you along. I don’t believe this though, because the story is already plotted in your head, it’s just not put on to pen and paper. The downside to this is the possibility that you leave something out.









One of the most famous pansters are Stephen King this what he had to say about plotting;


What is a pantser?




“Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters’ theses.”





Another famous Panster is Margret Atwood, she wrote the dystopian masterpiece “The Handmaids Tale.”


What is a pantser?


“When I’m writing a novel, what comes first is an image, scene, or voice. Something fairly small. Sometimes that seed is contained in a poem I’ve already written. The structure or design gets worked out in the course of the writing. I couldn’t write the other way round, with structure first. It would be too much like paint-by-numbers.”




There is no right or wrong. Jenna Moreci a sci/fi self-published author of Eve Awakening and you tuber swears by plotting and encourages writers to outline every inch of their lives. I think writers especially those who are just getting started, should see what works for them.


Keep in mind not of all readers are writers and the book goes in so many revisions before it’s published (this applies for self-published authors too) that not even writers would tell how the first draft was made. I would never have guessed that Margaret Atwood nor Stephen King pants their books. Its a matter of growing as a writer.


Happy Writing xx

How to find which genre your book fits in?

How-to-find-genre for a book?

How to find which genre your book fits in? Before you start drafting, the first thing you should know is the genre. How you figure this out? Here are tips to help you.



  1. Does your story evolve in detective, private investigator solving a crime? Or someone getting killed, stalked, or a serial killer? Harassed? It’s a crime/thriller novel.    how-to-find-genre for a book?

  2. Does your story has a man and woman they fall in love, break up, and live happily ever after? Your book is Romance. how-to-find-genre for a book?

  3. how-to-find-genre for a book?Does your story have aliens, spaceships or advance technology? You’re going to write Sci-fi. According to research, I made Dystopia or Utopian falls under this category as sub-genre.

  4. You thinking about writing a story about a man and woma involving details of what is happening in the bedroom? Or outside the bedroom. Your story is erotica. Make sure you research the human anatomy to get things right.

  5. Does your story involve werewolves, vampires, or say sort of creature than you have a horror story your hands.


Tip: there are different genres example because it has ghosts in your story it doesn’t mean it’s horror if there a hint of romance in it, then it’s paranormal romance.


Down below I found this chart that explains the different genres and sub genres of books.


Happy writing x



how-to-find-genre for a book?

Stages Of Editorial Revisions

Stages of Editorial Revisions


Last time, I blogged about the first draft link http://: http://joannewritesbooks.com/blog/the-first-draft-meant-to-suck/over here  and how you shouldn’t try to edit it before you finish and let it sit there for a while. Next, comes the revision that will become the second draft. Look for plot holes, Is everything solved? Are the characters well developed? Are descriptions vivid enough? Are their desires and wants understood?



Example in my thriller novel my main character Sophie Knight, seems she has everything, she’s beautiful, with a successful career, lives in a prestigious apartment in Notting Hill that she share with her husband Richard Knight. However, nothing is what it seems behind her polished exterior and killer wardrobe, she has developed a drinking problem. The book is told in her account written in her diary, her mission is to be good but as writer you have to make your character goal as hard as possible.

Give them a motivation the most famous is the Hunger Games Katniss’s sister name is called for the games, Katniss volunteers to take her place so now she has to survive the games.

You can give it to to a family member or a friend that you trust enough to point out those issues for you. After that, you edit it again according to their comments which will become the third draft. Try to correct the grammar and the spelling as much as you can. I use a reading aloud app that literally had saved my butt. Next comes beta readers. There are also critique partners I don’t have a critique partner wish I do but to find one but it’s difficult as finding a literary agent. I tried and no luck as in yet. Critique partners are another fellow writers, who writes in your genre you exchange chapters back and forth and put out anything that seems problematic. They put out the good too.

Beta readers are the general audience, people who love to read they tell you their overall review and thoughts of the manuscript and point out any issues. Don’t make any changes if one beta reader suggest a change if they all agree on that issue than you make the change. I like to prepare them a set of questions for them to cover everything I will post an example later on. A comment “it’s good” will not help your improvement as writer, so best to have a sheet with everything you like to cover.

Underneath I found this sheets in writer’s group that shows how the editing process works. Don’t forget to join writers groups on Facebook I think there are Twitter as well. Personally, I use Facebook, if you have doubts or questions, you can always ask over there and you always find someone who will help you out. I found a lot of help in there. Join my writers group on Facebook just copy and paste the link 🙂





Stages of Editorial Revisions



Writing The First Draft it’s meant to suck

The first draft meant to suck. 

The First Draft meant to Suck


The first draft meant to suck: it’s called the first draft for many reasons and it’s meant to suck. The first draft is jointing down your ideas on paper. Whatever you do, don’t look at what you wrote. I repeat; don’t look at what you wrote. Why? Because that’s comes later on the revising of the draft, yes prepare to be mortified, the first draft meant to suck Correct none grammatical errors or spelling that also goes in revising phrase.


Some writers like to edit the first draft hoping it will be beautifully written. In that turtle mood, you’ll never finish the thing. Your focus is to slap “The End” at the bottom of the page and don’t go crazy on editing. Don’t show it to anybody not to your loved ones, not even to your dog or cat, not until you adjusted it yourself and for God Sake don’t send it over to an editor. Just don’t.  Don’t think about publishing either that is something beyond your control worry about it later.


I just recently finished drafting a Sci-Fi/Dystopian novel. My main genre is Thriller/Mystery, but I had this idea so, I decided to write it without stopping and its done standing on 82K without editing one word. I need remove the first chapter and add it in the later chapters, re-write chapter 2, which is going to be chapter 1. I might have to re-write the whole thing but hey this writing no-one said it’s going to be easy. Stop complaining. Re-writes are what makes good writing, so re-write and rewrite and yes, do cry.  It’s okay. You can do it. You are going to be fine. The re-writes are toughest in the whole progress. Actually, writing the first draft is the fun part.


Bottom line, butt in chair, and write. Don’t worry about verbs and repeated words it will be fixed later.

Happy writing.


 Basic outline methods