Pull back the curtain and see how a suspense writer puts the thrills and chills together.


Good morning, dear readers. It’s common knowledge that blogs are supposed to provide useful, practical tips on how to do stuff. And if there’s any “stuff” I know how to do, it’s write novels. I recently finished my fifth full-length book, and no, I’m not counting those picture books I wrote during childhood.

Writing a novel is so easy, even a half-witted monkey with a broken typewriter could do it! Just follow these simple steps.

1) First, ensure that you really want to write a novel. If you write a novel, people are going to have to eventually read it, and that’s akin to going up to everyone you know and asking them what they don’t like about you. And then, if you’re very lucky, you’ll get to ask a bunch of strangers what they don’t like about you.

2) Cancel your cable. Better yet, burn your television. You won’t be needing it anytime soon.

3) Accept the fact that the following things will happen during this process:

  • Your house will begin to resemble a war zone. If possible, hire cleaning help.
  • Your relationships will suffer. Your friends may no longer recognize you.
  • Your fitness level will suffer. You may acquire a bit of a paunch, because you’ll be spending all your spare time in front of the computer. And, as we know, salads aren’t computer compatible snack foods.
  • Due to your sudden disappearance and pasty pale skin, your neighbors may suspect vampirism. That is, if they actually see you.
  • Laundry? What laundry? In a pinch, a bathing suit works just fine for underwear. And it’s easy rinse!

4) You know that Inter-web thing? Yep, cancel that too. It’s just another unnecessary distraction. In fact, why are you reading this blog?

5) Firebomb your collection of books and DVDs. Or at least put them under lock and key.

6) Invest in a really heavy pair of drapes to block out all the beautiful weather you’ll be missing. Bonus points if you can soundproof your office against laughter and other sounds of people having fun.

7) Explain to family and friends that you don’t celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Thanksgiving, weddings, or any other time-sucking holiday because of your religion. If they ask what this religion is, just mumble something in Sanskrit. Chances are, they won’t ask further questions.

8) Join a writing group for moral support. Tell them all about your novel, and ask for their advice. Then ignore what they tell you and do what you want.

9) This one’s the really easy part: come up with a blockbuster, earth-shaking idea. Extra bonus points if your idea has nothing to do with vampires, werewolves, zombies, or elves.

10) This one’s the really difficult part. Plant your butt in the chair in front of the computer, and start typing. Repeat this every day for six months to a year, and you will have yourself a novel.

See? Nothing to it! Good luck with your project, and stayed tuned for future entries on how to write a good novel.

Thanks for reading!
1 part newsletter, 1 part unnerving updates,
2 parts sneak peeks of new projects.


  1. Story Teller

    I’ll put it on the list, Knapper – thanks! Any tips you especially identified with?

  2. JETaylor

    LOL – love this. You forgot about creating meals for your family – chicken nuggets are quick and keep the kids from spending precious writing time complaining about food. 🙂

  3. Story Teller

    Hello, JE! Welcome to my blog, and thanks for your comment. I love followers, people who leave comments, and new visitors–and would you look at that? You’re all three! 🙂

    What you wrote is all too true. I didn’t even get into the family responsibility part. I could have mentioned the weeks where popcorn seems like a really good dinner.

  4. Polly

    Great title for a post! Thanks for the bathing suit tip!

    I only get here sporadically but cheering you on as you keep on that writing train.

  5. Story Teller

    Thanks, Polly! It’s nice to see you here. You are always welcome, of course. Hope all is going well with you. Thanks for your comments.

  6. saysladonna

    Thanks, Holli! This is great. I love the bathing suit tip! I’m planning to start working on a book really soon. You’re such an inspiration. 🙂

  7. Borah

    Wow! These are all so true things of someone trying to write a novel. I cancelled my cable, but I just can’t burn my TV. I’d probably get a lot more accomplished if I did!

  8. Story Teller

    @LaDonna – thanks so much for your kind comment. Glad I can inspire!

    @ Borah – welcome to my blog! Yes, TV is a huge time suck. I don’t get any channels at all anymore, but I still have DVDS, which can be just as bad.


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