Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It!
Ezra and I are so excited to announce our latest book for fiction writers. Enjoy this excerpt from the introduction.
If you’re so moved, please share with your friends and fellow writers. Thanks!
“Writing a novel isn’t easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.” —Anonymous
It’s your dream to be a novelist, to touch readers’ hearts and minds, to excite and wow them, to transport them. And to build a career with your books.
But you don’t know where to begin. Starting is hard. Things like creating an outline, scenes, or conflict may be confusing or strange or no fun at all. Perhaps crafting compelling three-dimensional characters stumps you.
Or maybe you’ve been stuck in the middle of writing your first novel (or fifth) for way too long.
We know. As working novelists, we’ve been there many, many times.
But there is hope.
Who This Book is For
This book is for you if you want to work on your novel while managing the rest of your life. We know you have other activities and people you are committed to. Your life doesn’t stop just because you want to create art. You may feel like your daily life is an obstacle, but it can enhance your storytelling.
This book is also for you if you have tried writing without any guidelines but didn’t get very far. It can be hard to write when you don’t know what you’re writing about, how to develop a story, or why your writing means so much to you.
You may have tried planning your novel by following rules set out by other writing teachers and found that they didn’t work for you. Some writing instructors insist that their way is the only way, the best way, but in fact, there is no best way. There is only the way that gets you writing and that is different for every writer.
Plan Your Novel Like A Pro is designed to help you discover your very own creative process for planning your novel. The only way you’ll uncover what works for you is to experiment with different tools. Try everything, discard what doesn’t work for you, and keep what does. We offer plenty of strategies and tools in this book. Above all, this book is for you if you’re looking for a way to listen to yourself, whether that’s listening to the whispers of your gut, your heart, your intuition, or some other creative part of you.
Plan Your Novel Like A Pro focuses on genre fiction, genres such as romance, mystery, thrillers, science fiction, and fantasy. We focus on these types of stories since they are the kind both of us (Beth and Ezra) write and know the most about, but we imagine that writers of other kinds of stories will find helpful exercises and advice among these pages.
The Creative Process
Creating art can be hard and frustrating. It may require you to stretch in ways you never have before. We all start in a place of not knowing. Yet, we humans have been creating art for more than 100,000 years, the age of the oldest art found. (Painted on cave walls in Spain. See citation in the Resources section.)
There is hope.
The friction between the desire to create and the challenge of creating assists our art making and is often what allows us to create our best work.
Start with breathing and noticing what you are feeling, whatever those feelings are. It can be healing to allow yourself to notice and feel whatever it is. Feelings are not good or bad, but rivers of energy that flow through our bodies. We can harness those feelings for our storytelling, but only if we feel them first.
Next, take a breath, or several, and appreciate all the work you’ve done to get to this place. Appreciate your passion, your focus, and your love of story, and whatever else excites you about writing a novel.
Likewise, appreciate the pain, frustration, disappointment, and even hopelessness you’ve experienced to get to this point. Without the effort, how would you know if the work was worthwhile?
When we appreciate our current experience, what’s happening now, we can choose a new present. What new present do you choose?
You can choose by asking: What would I like? Or, what do I want? Perhaps,
• A completed novel that you can hold in your hands?
• A creative process or model you can use again and again?
• An author career you’re happy about and proud to be building?
If you said yes to any of these three things, or to something similar, or even if you’re not sure what you would like, then you are in the right place. We are here to help you discover your creative process and lay the foundation for your writing goals.
This book is designed to guide you through the process of planning of your novel. It’s a road map to follow, so you can focus on creating.
Planning with a Purpose: Stories Matter
“Story evolved as a way to explore our own mind and the mind of others, as a sort of dress rehearsal for the future. As a result, story helps us survive not only in the life-and-death physical sense but also in a life-well-lived social sense.” – Lisa Cron, Wired For Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence
This isn’t an ordinary book on novel planning. While it contains many of the ingredients you may have seen in other writing guide books, it’s different because we focus on your creative soul, your heart, and your sense of self and story.
The world needs your stories. Your stories matter.
Your readers are waiting for your unique voice. You matter.
Like many writers, you may have been deeply touched by stories told to you or books you read when you were young, and now you want to influence readers yourself.
Stories are how we make sense of the world and prepare for any potential scenario we may face. They are a form of mental rehearsal. They are how we teach life lessons. As Lisa Cron says so aptly, based on neuroscientists’ understanding, “humans are wired for story.” I’d even say that it’s the most powerful way we learn how to be human, how to ask and answer the questions about how we want to live in the world, and how we can shape our world.
Your stories can influence the fate of future generations, the fate of humanity, and the fate of our planet.
Excerpted from the Introduction of Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! by Beth and Ezra Barany.
ABOUT PLAN YOUR NOVEL LIKE A PRO
This book will help you get excited to plan your novel. The tools shared here are designed to spark your muse and give you confidence when you sit down to write your story. Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing It! is for organic writers and pansters who want a roadmap to follow, so that they can let their creativity loose.
WHAT READERS ARE SAYING
“This book is simple, engaging, and full of insightful tips and exercises! Beyond just strategies and ‘how-to’ advice, this book also trains your brain to think a new way, so that you can effectively bring your novel to life! Reading this book and applying its principles will transform your approach to writing and what it means to be an author.” — Jon Low (NLP Coach, Author, Writer, Copywriter)
“This book is a practical guide for writing a novel. Many of my questions about novel writing were answered. At the same time, it is enjoyable to read with many examples. This will be my main go-to book in the future, especially when I’m feeling like I’m stuck.” — Gary Lea, Fiction Writer
“Having been a student of Beth Barany for many years, I was excited to read a distillation of Beth and Ezra’s extensive experience in a rich but uncomplicated guide. I don’t know what I would have done all this time without those techniques to guide me. If you are confused about how to get a novel going, need an overhaul of your current project, or just think it’s just too perplexing, let this book help you to become to the novelist you’ve always wanted to be.” — Hugh Tipping, Upcoming Fantasy Novelist
“Plan Your Novel Like a Pro” is one of the best tools a writer can have in their toolbox. Beth and Ezra’s no-nonsense, gentle approach is efficient as well as inspiring. Their practical techniques in getting to know your characters at a deep level will propel your storyline into depths even seasoned writers dream about. And, using your book, I’ve already begun to plot (insert creepy Halloween music and a villain’s “bru…ha…ha” here) my next story!”– Keri Kruspe, Author of Otherworldy Romantic Adventures, An Alien Exchange
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SPREAD THE WORD
You can share this post, add this book to your Goodreads, or just say,
“Hey world (or: your friends who want to write a novel,) if you want to write a novel, start with Plan Your Novel Like A Pro!”
ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER, BLOGGER, OR PODCASTER?
If you’d like to feature Beth and/or Ezra on your platform, contact Beth to schedule a time and get a review copy.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
About Beth Barany
Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist, master neuro-linguistic programming practitioner, and certified creativity coach for writers. She specializes in helping writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers. Her courses are packed with useful hands-on information that you can implement right away. She runs an online school for fiction writers and a 12-month group coaching program to help them get published. More resources on publishing, book marketing, and novel writing are on her blog, Writer’s Fun Zone. When she’s not helping writers, Beth writes magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.
About Ezra Barany
Ezra Barany loves riveting readers with thrillers, but by order of the Department of Motor Vehicles he must place a warning on every book cover, “Do not read while driving.” His first two books in The Torah Codes series were award-winning international bestsellers. In his free time, he has eye-opening discussions on the art of writing novels with his wife and book coach Beth Barany. A high school physics teacher, Ezra lives in Oakland with his beloved wife and two cats working on the next book in The Torah Codes series. Ezra, not the cats. For a free short story in The Torah Codes series, “The Mourner’s Kaddish,” go to http://www.thetorahcodes.com/.