NANOWRIMO – the planning (2)

At the end of the last post, I detailed the story beats thus:

Act 1 – opening before investigation, setup, initial enquiries, decision to progress

Act 2A – maybe side story (love interest?), detailed investigation, first obstacle, 

Act 2B – the investigation gets more difficult, MC suffers biggest obstacle, things look bad, oh – hang on…

Act 3 – new impetus, new ideas, closing in on the culprit, knocking red herrings aside, final disclosure, rounding up, return to normality

At this point, I’m eyeing up one of my favourite processes, which is 100% the key to all of my novel writing in the past five years – maybe longer.

Continue reading →

Does fast writing really work?

On May 1st 2022, I’m launching my course: The Efficient Novelist. It shows, in detail, and with many supporting resources, how I create, write and publish four novels a year.

Why do I do that?

There are two reasons:

Continue reading →

You may have questions about The Efficient Novelist

Do you want to become a full-time author?

Are you interested in progressing your writing career, attracting more readers and increasing your royalties?

If I told you that I had developed a process to create and publish a new commercial fiction novel every 3 months, which gains me readership and increases my sales, would you be interested? Do you have any questions which might stop you signing up?

Here are a few I’ve been asked already.

Continue reading →

Dreams of becoming a full-time author

Do you want to become a full-time author?

Do you dream of sitting in your study, looking out on a beautiful landscape, crafting wonderful novels which sell in their thousands to sustain your comfortable lifestyle?

I know I’ve had this pipedream for many years. I know a lot of us do, and although the second sentence is, for most of us, a flight of fancy, it IS possible to give up your full-time job and write for a living.

But the question is: how much are you prepared to do to make that dream a reality? Are you prepared to take a long, hard look at what you write, and how you write? If you could make a few small changes to your writing life, would it be worth doing it to have a shot at becoming that full-time author you’ve always wanted to be?

Continue reading →

My Novelling Journey – a story in 3 acts-part 3

ACT THREE – Resolution

Climax – Finale

The climax signifies the final moments of the story’s overarching conflict. 

2019: After that meeting with my friends, I now had a focus. A strong pointer to where I needed to be. And I was able to join up my story structure subplot. I started using Save The Cat to outline my rewrite of a political conspiracy story, which would become “Deceit” ( Before that, I went back to basics and used the first part of The Snowflake Method because it nicely mirrored a technique I’d learned from writing software, back in the day – the need to break down a huge project into smaller-sized, individual, mini-projects.

Reader – I tore through that story. I broke it down from first principles – Single Sentence Summary, Two Sentence Premise, and ending with a Five Paragraph Summary. Stepping stones to creating a great story. From there, it was another step to producing the 15 ‘beats’ of the Save The Cat method, and then another step to creating the 40+ scenes which go to make up my full novel, scene-by-scene plan. At each stage, the work had strong links to the previous stage. At no point did it feel like I was going out on a limb, not knowing where I was going to end up.

Continue reading →

My Novelling Journey – a story in 3 acts-part 2

ACT TWO – Confrontation

Typically the longest of all three sections: Act Two usually comprises the second and third quarters of the story.


The protagonist gets to know their new surroundings and starts to understand the challenges that lay before them. 

2012: Using both NaNoWriMo and 100k100days, I start to think about the stories that I want to write. I’m excited by this new decision, and over the next few years, I create more and better stories. But at the back of my mind, there’s a niggling thought – I’m just working hard to create more and more wasted words.

Continue reading →

My Novelling Journey – a story in 3 acts

ACT ONE – The Setup

Act One is all about setting the stage: readers should get an idea of who your protagonist is, what their everyday life is like, and what’s important to them.


2003: I stepped down from a very stressful and time-consuming job as a director of a medium-sized company, and became a computer technician in primary schools. As a by-product of this, I now had the time and ‘head space’ to be able to seriously think about my writing again. I had dabbled in the years before, but my prime focus was on developing my career and earning money

Continue reading →

New Year – sort of

Hello. Yes, I know I’m late for *your* New Year, but March is my New Year.

Let me explain. Where we live there is a stipulation that we need to spend the month of February away. It’s no big deal, and we knew before we moved here. It’s a chance to step away from the office, to think about the bigger picture, and what we are doing and what we should be doing.

The great thing is: when we come back on March 1st, it’s like a new start. The weather’s starting to be a bit more spring-like, we have refreshed our existing ideas and created a whole load of new ones. More to come on that later in the year.

For the moment, I’m concentrating on the launch of the EFFICIENT NOVELIST course. Yes, it’s finally coming to fruition. Forty-two modules, nearly an hour and a half of videos, four free ebook downloads, 209 voiceovers and 223 graphics, charts and slides. There’s a lot in this. Finally, the modules are all complete, and they have been uploaded to the course website. Still to do? Uploading the downloadable worksheets, uploading the free ebooks. And begin the marketing campaign.

Continue reading →

2022 Non Resolutions

Long time readers will know that I don’t like RESOLUTIONS. There’s too much focus on one day in the year, and there’s too much looking back on a previous year with regret, with a false determination to DO BETTER next year.
And it’s all too easy for the resolutions to fall flat.
Like: “This year, I’m going to lose x weight”. It’s a focussed target, which might appear to be good, but it’s a digital target. You will either succeed, or you will do the ‘F’ word – FAIL. And failure is a destructive state of mind.
We don’t like destructive things – we only like constructive things. So my resolutions are NOT resolutions – they’re aims, or goals. If I don’t reach those goals, I’m not going to beat myself up about it, because as you will have seen if you’ve read my ‘looking back‘ post, there’s still a lot to celebrate.
So let’s get started.

Continue reading →

Who’s the story for? Writing inside-out, or outside-in?

I had a thought the other day. And I discussed it with my partner, Anita Belli.

Because when we start writing, outside school and college, we write for ourselves. We want to write the stories which are burning inside us, we want to highlight the themes and issues that drive us.

And, sometimes, we dream of becoming great authors.

After a while, our big dreams and high ideals become somewhat tempered by reality. No one’s interested in our novel.

What? Are they stupid? Don’t they realise how brilliant this is?

But all the time, we’re writing from the inside out. This is our story, dammit!

Continue reading →