The past few years I’ve come across writing tips and advice from the internet, interviews with authors and writing conferences.
Here are a few:
Clive Cussler said novels do not have to conform to literary works. His goal is to entertain. “To be an author, you have to be a loony who won’t give up.” Seize any opportunity to see Clive Cussler in person. He is as entertaining on stage as Dirk Pitt is on the page.
Jeffery Deaver said he outlines (sometimes as many as 150 pages) before working on a novel. He added that if you use post it notes to outline, check the humidity. He woke up one morning to a blank wall and a pile of sticky notes on the floor.
J.A. Jance said she never outlines. She comes up with a title, then works the book around the title. As she finishes a chapter, she goes back and reviews the prior one. Her husband reads the manuscript when she has finished and then it’s sent to her editor. She writes two books a year.
Alan Alda just seems to have fun.
Jeff Shaara writes novels based on real characters and real events and uses history as his timeline/outline.
Margie Lawson uses her own edit system where she highlights descriptions, dialog and emotion in different colors. She then looks at the colors on the page. If there is too much of one color, she makes changes. Her lectures (or lecture notes) are invaluable.
Jeffery Deaver said the best advice he could give a new author is to take a novel in your chosen genre, and study it. “View rejection as a speed bump, not a brick wall.”
Cathy Yardly (Will Work for Shoes)
Three act structure
Have a big relatable goal then throw in escalating conflict in the way of that goal.
Have a climax, where all looks lost – where the absolute worst that you can think of, in terms of that goal, happens to your main character.
Then everything gets resolved through actions that the character performs as a result of the changes she’s undergone through the course of his journey.