Ready to write your novel? Embracing the Mystery and Taking Action by Beth Barany

Ready to write your novel? Read on for embracing the mystery and taking action…

The creative process is a mystery. Writing a novel is part mystery, part exploration, part WTF.

When we learn things the only way we know that we have learned them is to take action.

In my growth as a novelist, I went from someone who wanted to be a novelist but had no idea where to begin, to learning, observing, reading a ton, and then sitting down to finally write.

When I committed to writing a novel and sat down to write that first scene at an outdoor cafe on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, it was so hard.

For one thing it seemed to take forever, but probably only took an hour to write half a scene. I’d never done it!

Plus, I had no idea where this scene fit into a greater whole. I had no idea what I was doing.

But I started. And that was the difference that made the difference.

I went from daydreaming to action — however imperfect and clumsy and feeling my way in the dark it was.

I was in completely new territory.

That started the journey of learning.

I had so many questions.

  • How do you develop a character?
  • What is plot?
  • What is conflict?
  • How do you write a scene?
  • What the hell is a scene anyway?
  • How do you string ideas together into a coherent whole that feels like a story?

I didn’t know how to do any of these things at the start.

All I could do was ask questions and look for answers.

Then I sat down and I wrote. That first novel took 5 years.

I am proud of my efforts, but I won’t ever publish that novel. That’s okay. I learned a ton and had the tremendous satisfaction of holding a completed messy draft in my hands — all 350 pages of that hefty manuscript.

Then I right away started a new novel and finishing it. And then another. And another. And so on.

I took what I observed and experienced and learned from each book and from my critique partners and put it into action into each new novel.

That is my wisdom. I trust that I learn something from each project; that learning goes into the next.

Why does learning work that way?

I don’t know. It’s a mystery.

The creative process is a mystery.

How I now understand how to write a novel is amazing and glorious and still a mystery.

I am someone who thrives on challenges.

The fact that it’s hard to write a novel is one of the reasons why I’m so passionate about it. I get to learn about how to be a better storyteller every day, and I’m sure I will until the day I die.

I’m fascinated by what makes a good story and I’m fascinated by the stories that pour out of me. I don’t know where those stories come from. I only know that the interest me deeply.

I’m passionate about helping writers—you—get to know your creative process and be in alignment with it so you can do what you love: write stories.

Do you need to understand everything to start writing? No
Do you need to understand perfectly all the ins and outs of story? No.

With every story you’ll learn more. With every story you write you will get better.

Why? Because that is the way humans learn and grow.

And why is that? We don’t know. And that’s OK. We don’t need to know everything to create excellent stories.

Stories that move readers, stories that make them cry, stories that make them laugh.

Art is about emotion.

And learning how to put that emotion into art is the game.

It’s October and therefore time to get ready for Nanowrimo, if you want to harness the energy of National Novel Writing Month to write the first draft of a new book, then yippee!

Start, take action, play with your story ideas on the page.

Writing is thinking and where the alchemical process of creativity happens.

We have support and tools for you!

Ready to Write?

If you’d like to learn from us and prepare yourself and your story for Nanowrimo, then check out our self-paced courses and books:

  1. 7 Essential Keys to Planning Your Novel: Story Preparation for PantsersThis book is great if you want the bare minimum to get you started and comes with a fun and useful Bonus Pack that includes a checklist, videos, and more!
  2. Plan Your Novel Like A Pro: And Have Fun Doing ItThis book is great if you want extensive story planning tools to help you develop your idea seedling in a fully-fledged story outline, so you can write your story with confidence and clarity. The book comes with a Bonus workbook and a 50% off coupon to the online course.
  3. Plan You Novel: The self-paced course — Jump right into the course at Barany School of Fiction. This course comes with teacher support.

When you sign up for the bonuses that come with the first 2 books or you sign up for the class, you also get access to our community, Fellowship of the Pen, and the support we provide:

  • Weekly writing sprints to help you focus on your writing
  • Monthly Q&A calls to get live coaching and join together in community to learn from each other and support each other

Are you ready to write and take action now?

If you’re ready to take action now, if you want to write a novel for yourself or for the next generation, or to see if you can do it, or if you have something you need to say, then check out our offerings and see if they’re right for you.

If you’re not sure which of our offerings are right for you, write me to set up an appointment to chat, or go here to sign up for the no-obligation call.

I’ll leave you with this today…

Over the last 20+ years I have devoted my attention to writing fiction, and tomorrow I publish my 10th novel, Lured By Light, the next Janey McCallister mystery. Yippee!

I am proud of my books and all the work I have done to get to this place.

I am also amazed at what I have accomplished — I have accomplished what I set out to do.

When I look back at the little girl I was at 8 years old, working on her first story with her brother about their cats, and wanting to be a writer, and then fast forward to now, I am in awe.

From a young age I wanted to write stories, and now I can. Wow.

If I can do it, so can you.

You can also listen to this post here:


BETH BARANY, CREATIVITY COACH FOR WRITERSA Master NLP Practitioner and certified creativity coach for writers, Beth runs Barany School of Fiction, a full suite of courses designed to help genre fiction writers experience clarity and get writing, so they can revise and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.

Based in Oakland, California, Beth Barany has presented at Ithra Center (King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, at the Women’s Fiction Festival in Matera, Italy, at Romance Writers of America National Conference, at Emerald City Conference in Seattle, Washington, at the San Francisco Writers Conference, and at San Francisco Bay Area chapters of SCBWI, CWC, and RWA.

Award-winning novelist, Beth Barany writes magical tales of romance, mystery, and adventure that empower women and girls to be the heroes of their own lives.

She is the award-winning author of Henrietta The Dragon Slayer, the acclaimed paranormal romance author of the Touchstone series, and is proud to release her newest novels, science fiction mysteries about Janey McCallister space station investigator.

The first book in the series, Into The Black, is a Page Turner Awards ebook Finalist. She has also written books for writers, including Plan Your Novel Like A Pro, co-written with her husband, thriller writer Ezra Barany.


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