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Novel Writing Quotes
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Novel writing quotes by traditionally published novelists with major publishers.
Novel writing quotes by traditionally published novelists with major publishers.

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Setting a story in the past convincingly is one of the greatest difficulties for writers of historical novels – aside from creating memorable characters and a rip-roaring read, of course. [...]
There’s a whole book in this topic, of course, but I think it’s really important to get these details right. When I write a historical novel I am trying to create a real world in my readers’ minds. Anachronisms, whether in speech, names or attitudes, will leap out at readers and spoil the setting I am trying to create.
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UK historical teen novel author, and former senior editor with Usborne Publishing, Paul Dowswell at http://writinghistoricalnovels.com/2013/04/21/getting-details-right-for-the-era-in-your-historical-novel-by-paul-dowswell.
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It has been said that there are those writers who plan and those who “fly by the seats of their pants.” I am part of the second group and before I began working on my novel, My Brother’s Shadow, I only had a rough idea of who Moritz, the main character, was and what would happen in the story. I encountered a surprise in the first few pages. Moritz was telling his story in first person and used the present tense. Hadn’t I read in many books about writing that the first person, present tense point-of-view was difficult to write? My first two novels were told in the voice of third person omniscient narrators reflecting on past events, and I had no intention of changing from what I knew by writing in first person and in present tense.
I rewrote the beginning in past tense but couldn’t force Moritz to tell his story in hindsight, so I stuck to the immediacy of present tense.
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German-American novelist Monika Schroder at http://writingteennovels.com/2013/04/19/the-process-of-writing-my-novel-my-brothers-shadow-by-monika-Schroder.
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The most challenging part of writing a story set in another culture is making it feel authentic and relevant. It is like building a brand new house that perfectly blends with the century-old neighborhood. It should have the same weathered feel as the other homes. To write a story that feels realistic, the author should think of two critical parts, characters and setting.
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Indian-US novelist Kashmira Sheth at http://writingteennovels.com/2013/04/30/using-characters-and-setting-to-situate-your-story-in-another-culture-by-kashmira-sheth.
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Setting a story in the past convincingly is one of the greatest difficulties for writers of historical novels – aside from creating memorable characters and a rip-roaring read, of course. [...]
There’s a whole book in this topic, of course, but I think it’s really important to get these details right. When I write a historical novel I am trying to create a real world in my readers’ minds. Anachronisms, whether in speech, names or attitudes, will leap out at readers and spoil the setting I am trying to create.
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UK historical teen novel author, and former senior editor with Usborne Publishing, Paul Dowswell at http://writinghistoricalnovels.com/2013/04/21/getting-details-right-for-the-era-in-your-historical-novel-by-paul-dowswell.
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What comes first; characters or setting? It’s the chicken and the egg question. I don’t think it matters whether characters or setting comes first. You can have a great main character idea then put that character in a certain historical time and place or you can take a time and place that holds a special fascination for you then populate it with memorable characters. I did the latter when I began my Kydd series.
Whatever your starting point, make sure you are passionate about it. Writing a novel is a long haul, not something to be undertaken lightly. You’ll have days of doubt along the way but a strong foundation will see you through.
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UK naval historical novelist Julian Stockwin at http://writinghistoricalnovels.com/2013/04/16/setting-and-characters-in-my-historical-novels-by-julian-stockwin
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What gave me the glimmer of hope that I could actually write a novel? Well, while I was working on Rikers Island, I was surrounded by other teachers who were aspiring novelists. They would sit in the computer room before and between classes working on their stories. I turned to one of them one day and said something like, “That’s amazing how you guys can write such big stories with all those characters and plot twists.” The guy replied, “If I can write a few good paragraphs a day, it really adds up.”
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US Young Adult novelist Paul Volponi at http://writingteennovels.com/2013/04/15/on-joining-a-writing-group-or-writing-alone-by-paul-volponi
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The next question came from a young woman in the audience. “I… um… I came with my mother tonight and I… um… didn’t really think I’d like your book, but now that I know it’s historical fiction…”
My jaw dropped and I barely managed to mutter out, “Historical fiction?” I eyed her. She was maybe twenty or twenty-five years old. To her, those ‘Happy Days’ that I’d written about must’ve seemed like the ‘days of yore’.
Up to that point, I hadn’t classified my novel as anything but a coming-of-age story set in the fifties but once I’d gotten over the shock of my childhood being categorized as historical, I realized that, like it or not, the young lady had been right. I was old.
When had that happened?
On the drive home after the event I cursed my ancientness but by the time I’d pulled into my garage I realized that the upside of being a writer about to turn sixty was that I was sitting on a gold mine. Eureka!
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US New York Times bestselling novelist Lesley Kagen at http://writinghistoricalnovels.com/2013/04/14/setting-historical-novels-in-the-time-of-my-childhood-by-lesley-kagen-guest-article
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The moment is here. The dream is now a reality. Your book is out there – loved by a publisher, edited, printed, distributed, displayed, launched, promoted. Now what? Time to kick back, relax and let all you’ve dreamed just happen. This is, after all, what the other side of the publishing fence is all about, isn’t it? Life is but a dream as we row, row, row our boat merrily down the book sales stream.
You’ve got to be kidding! Whose got the time to row a boat?
If I’m not writing book three, I’m editing book two.
When I should be writing, I’m Facebooking.
When I’m Facebooking I think I’m promoting. (I am, aren’t I?)
Oh, and then there’s the blogging...
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Australian debut novelist Jenn J McLeod at http://writingnovelsinaustralia.com/2013/04/14/life-as-a-newly-published-novelist-by-jenn-j-mcleod
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People often ask me what inspires me to write. The answer is that inspiration comes from all over, especially if you’re open to it: stories you hear about, snippets from the news, a really dishy reality TV show, an argument that you overheard at the local coffee shop, fortune cookie messages, dilemmas without answers, a person you encounter at the supermarket, a situation that occurred at the gym…
The point is that ideas are everywhere. Pick one that gets your creative juices flowing.
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US New York Times bestselling Young Adult novelist Laurie Faria Stolarz at http://writingteennovels.com/2013/04/12/on-the-inspiration-for-my-teen-novels-by-laurie-faria-stolarz
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There are so many story ideas out there; small, personal stories, slice-of-life, romance, adventure, horror, fantasy epics. I have lists of ideas tucked away that I’ll probably never get around to writing. So how do you know which idea to follow? With luck, something will talk to you – the right idea will hold your hand and walk you right through to the end. [...]
Don’t chase trends, don’t worry about what others are writing or how much money they’re making, and don’t follow buzz – just write your story. Write what comes from your heart or you’ll be starting at the bottom of a long uphill battle.
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US graphic novelist Stephen Emond at http://writingteennovels.com/2013/04/11/on-story-ideas-and-developing-a-novel-by-stephen-emond.
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