"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: 2013

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Wearing the Writer's Thinking Cap

Dear Fellow Writer,

Great to be talking to you again.

Many of you will be pleased to know that these weekly newsletters will become the sole source of information from me from the beginning of next year.

That is, apart from all the books on Amazon. There are currently 21 of our books on Kindle and we plan to put up another 20 or so before March 2014.

When they're all online, including hard copies through CreateSpace, the only communications from me will be via this free newsletter.

Have fun in the run up to Christmas.

Speak soon,
Keep Writing!


Use Your Thinking Cap

CAP is a useful acronym that describes how you should go about planning stories. Think about the shape of a baseball cap: it’s crescent shaped, has a strap at the back and a peak at the front.

Got that? 

And it goes on your head, right?

Now let’s start thinking through your story idea:

Start with a character in the back of your mind. See him or her, visualize the face and body and clothes; physical characteristics, his or her looks and overall presence. After a couple of weeks of thought, these images should be crystal clear in your mind.

Next, give your character an agenda - a goal he or she needs to achieve, some result that needs to be created or more simply, something he or she needs to do to attain peace, security or enlightenment.

Then use your character’s agenda to inspire an action, event or emotion - each of which, for clarity, we’ll call a story-beat.

Then use your first story-beat to inspire the next story-beat. 

Make sure that the first beat causes the second and the second beat came about as a direct result of the first. Then think of a third beat that was caused by the second. And so on. 

When you keep stringing together story-beats that logically appeal to you, and let them intertwine and influence each other, you will likely have, at the end of this process, a coherent plot. 

Now, whether at this stage it’s a plot that will create a story worth telling is something I examine elsewhere. For the moment, you just need to be clear on how rational, effective fictional stories should evolve.

Remember: CAP – Character + Agenda + Plot = Story.

Use Logic When You Cap

Escapism is not just the reader’s desire to vicariously experience thrills or magical journeys.

When readers want to escape it is merely from their own minds. Being the same person all the time can be a tedious business. So what better way to escape than to become someone else for while.

This is really what is happening when someone reads – their thoughts have been willingly hijacked by the author. This is why you should not feel any pressure to provide a long stream of thrills and spills in your story. That’s not all that’s required. 

It’s actually far better for you to simply present a logical and cohesive character’s view of the world that the reader can then follow and enjoy experiencing. When you’ve done that, the reader is more than satisfied – and will usually come back for more.

Getting new readers can be an uphill struggle for writers. Your writing may be terrific but overcoming readers’ natural resistance against trying another writer can become a sticking point. The way to overcome this resistance is to create emotional experiences in the reader - through trust, engagement and logic - that make your stories work for many readers - and not just a few. 

Being able to create stories that resonate across the board then - and enable many to escape, from all walks of life - is the goal of the serious writer.

Logical progression is paramount. But what constitutes logic is not so clear. It’s more of an agreed convention rather than a clear set of rules. What is clear is that the personal logic of the writer must be transferable - and recognizably coherent to the average reader. 

Because it is the logic of your character’s motivations and agendas that will define your story form. And if the inherent logic of your story is not a commonly shared experience then your emotional beats will not be transferable to the masses. 

The form your story takes is less important than the structure with which it is put together. Less enlightened teachers will tell you that form comes first, then story. But this is incorrect. 

Writers, who always work from the bottom up, know that it is the pieces that make up the whole and not the whole that defines the pieces.

Till next week.
Keep Writing!


"Don't think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It's self-conscious and anything self-conscious is lousy. You cannot try to do things. You simply must do things." Ray Bradbury

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Sustaining the Motivation to Write a Long Work

Dear Fellow Writer,

Thanks for being a valued subscriber to my weekly newsletter.
I hope things are going well for you and that your writing is bringing all the joy you desire.

In today's article we look at finding the motivation to keep writing a long work.

BTW: The Easy Way to Write a Novel is still at #1 in the Education section on Amazon Kindle. Go here for that. 


Write Here, Write Now

Writing a long work is really about turning a whim into a compulsion. There’s no other way around it. You have to decide, early on, that you will finish your novel – at least the first draft – and you will keep going until it’s done. That’s the trick – the easy answer – DECIDE. Commitment follows a firm decision.
Personally I give myself time limits – deadlines. Having an end-date seems to be the only way I can visualize completion. Sometimes I go past my deadlines – who doesn’t? - but at least I’m aware of that and I use the previously desired end-date and the time stretching beyond it as a way to chastise myself into doing more work.
I think you need to create a compulsive attitude in yourself because, let’s face it, there’s no real reason to keep writing novels. Your family and friends don’t really care if you write another one – even your publisher is not really that fussed: there’s plenty of other writers out there to publish. Your agent might be concerned – he or she has a vested interest in your productivity – but I’ve never known an agent, given a blocked writer, who doesn’t just move on and find another writer who’s completed their magnum opus and try and sell that instead.
As Dorothea Brande once said in her great little book "Becoming a Writer"”, you have to create your own ‘sense of emergency’, and use it to motivate yourself.
But how do you do that? I think the most pain free way is to absorb yourself completely in your work. Get to know your characters as though they are your best friends. Care about them. Love them. Cultivate in yourself a desire to see their stories told, and told well.
Write and, as you write, be aware that you are the only person that can tell the story you want to relate. No-one else can do it. You’re alone – and the fate of your characters’ world rests in your hands. Without you, they will cease to exist, their world will crumble. To them, you are God. What kind of god lets his creations, his stories, suffer, fade away and go unresolved?
It’s okay for you to take your time, as long as you keep returning. As long as, word by word, you keep creating the work that will one day soon become your novel.
In much the same way as you set long-term deadlines, you need to aim at a daily word count. Believe me, if you don’t set yourself a regular daily target, you probably won’t find the motivation to keep going. It’s that simple. Promising yourself you’ll catch up doesn’t cut it. You have to force yourself to produce at least your minimum count every day, even if it’s just a sentence or three. It’s the only way to stay on top of the business of writing a novel.
Most professionals, I would say, want to write at least 500 to 1000 words a day. Less than that and you’re not really getting things done. Write around 2000 to 3000 words a day and you’ll be up there with the big boys in no time.
Don’t see it as penance, see it as your life.
Writing is what you do – it’s how you occupy your time. It’s not hard. It may be draining sometimes but it doesn’t have to be exhausting.
Robyn and I work around tea breaks and meal breaks – and the naughty afternoon Judge Judy break. One of us will get up and make tea or coffee every three quarters of an hour or so. During these breaks we’ll stop writing and talk for a while. I make lunch every day at noon and that provides a chance for me to catch my breath. Plus we have an indulgence – we stop to watch Judge Judy at 3pm every work day!
I’m sure you get the idea that writing is about rhythm - and not pushing yourself too hard. If you’re writing full-time, you need regular breaks to punctuate your writing day.
If I’m stuck for ideas or in between projects, I’ll often get up to walk around the garden. I take the dog for a ramble twice a day. I’ll use that time to think of reasons to continue with my writing projects. This helps build enthusiasm for the next piece of writing – and is a good example of what you need to do to reinforce the writing habit. Consciously give yourself lots of reasons to write your novel. Give your reasons weight by imagining the positive outcomes that will be achieved. Let the anticipation of those future events get you excited – and let that excitement brew in you and spur you on.
Till next week.

Keep Writing!
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write

Thursday, November 21, 2013

How to Write a Lot and Quickly!

Dear Fellow Writer,
I read a fascinating report yesterday.
Apparently one in ten self-published authors now make over $100,000 a year. 
That's amazing enough - and something that would surely have been impossible even just ten years ago. 
But there's more.
The other 90% of writers make less than $500 a year. 
Interestingly, the average daily word count of the 90% is less than 1000. 
BUT, the average daily word count of the top ten percent (those earning $100K+) is over 2000 words a day!
The inference is clear: write 2000 words a day and you're much more likely to move into the big league - and become a bestselling author!
But how do you increase your daily word count?
Funnily enough, that's the subject of this week's article.

How to Write a Lot and Quickly

I’d like to introduce you to the concept of ‘Easy-Writing’
I can’t claim to have invented the technique, although my students and subscribers often refer to ‘Easy-Writing’ as if it is unique to my teaching. 
Besides, it’s not so much a technique as a mindset.
There’s a common misapprehension among many people that good writing should be hard. 
That you can’t have substance as a writer unless your words are extracted from your soul, one at a time, and that there is some requisite amount of suffering, angst and pain involved in writing well. 
Indeed, over the years, I’ve heard this argument frequently - and many writers who prefer to suffer as they write have emailed me to assert that ‘there’s no such thing as an easy way to write’
Writing well, they say, requires torment and unpleasantness.
Well, all I can say is that if you find writing in any way uncomfortable or stressful, you probably shouldn’t be doing it - or that you’re not doing it correctly.
Pain is the body’s way of telling you to stop whatever you’re doing.
And writer’s block is your brain’s way of telling you to stop calling yourself a writer!
Honestly, writing should be easy for you.
As natural as breathing.
Learning how to write well might entail some study and a fair amount of practice but once the writing habit is firmly part of your being, the process should then become effortless and fun.
Otherwise, why would you do it? 
You wouldn’t expect a good musician to experience pain every time he or she played an instrument. 
And you wouldn’t expect an actor to hate acting - or find it overly difficult once their lines are learned and he or she is in the throes of a performance. 
So why would you expect writers to be consumed with agony when they’re writing? 
It doesn’t make sense.
Writers should enjoy writing in the same way as an artist enjoys painting, or a bricklayer enjoys laying bricks.
The main difference between writing and most other vocations is that writing also requires constructive thought - and it’s thinking that is hard for many people - and not the actual writing.
But this is where Easy-Writing will help you.
Because the easy way to write is to stop thinking so hard - and to let your subconscious write for you.
The brain is a fabulous item. 
Not only does it juggle a million thoughts simultaneously, it also houses everything you have ever experienced in your life. 
Literally, it knows more than you. 
It knows better that you. 
But it also cleverly shields you from all it knows to enable you to get on with important things like living in the present and getting things done.
When it comes to writing, the problems start when you try to use your rational, conscious mind to piece together ideas, thoughts, concepts and abstractions into words and sentences. 
The rational mind is also the critical mind - and will reject ideas as quickly as you can think of them - creating a self-defeating circle of inactivity or the sense you are forcing every word. 
The way to bypass this phenomenon is to go deeper and rely on your subconscious mind which, to a large extent, already knows what you need to write - and has it all neatly packaged and ready. 
All you need to do is to access the steady stream of output the subconscious delivers naturally and transcribe what it’s saying to you.
How do you do that?
We all have a "commentator" inside our heads. 
You know what I mean by this. 
The commentator is that incessant voice that likes to talk, make observations on and analyze everything happening in your life - including your actions, emotions, thoughts and memories. 
It’s constantly weighing up what it sees and experiences with what it knows and then tells you what it thinks. 
It’s as irritating as it is useful. 
But the commentator is really the metaphorical conduit between your conscious and subconscious mind. 
It’s the valve that accesses and regulates both. 
It is both wise and frivolous. 
Essentially, it is the voice of who you are. 
So when writing, all you need to do is listen to that voice and record what it’s saying. 
Then, writing becomes easy. 
The hard part, if there is one, is keeping up with the voice - as in writing fast enough not to lose track of where the voice is heading!
You need to trust this commentator’s voice because it’s much more coherent than you probably believe. 
Not only does it know what it’s talking about from one moment to the next, over time it can present entire arguments, sophisticated propositions, whole chapters, and even books in a much more coherent way than your rational mind could ever hope to do.
Because, you see, your subconscious mind is designed to create order out of chaos. 
That’s its function.
To work against the inherent logic of your subconscious is to give yourself pain, angst and unnecessary suffering. 
That's when writing is hard: when you let your rational mind fight your subconscious.
But when you work with your subconscious mind, listen to the commentator and merely write down what it’s saying to you, then you’ll find writing easy, fun and rewarding.
That’s Easy-Writing.
Till next week.
Keep Writing!
Your Success is My Concern

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Amazon Collection from the Easy Way to Write!

The Easy Way to Write
Amazon Collection

People keep asking me: what do you have on Amazon? The answer is the books below!

They're all top ten bestsellers - with a couple of #1 bestsellers in there! Take a look by clicking on the pics below!

Keep Writing!

The Easy Way to Write
Keep Writing!
The Easy Way to Write

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Join My Kindle Review Club - and get FREE ebooks

Dear Fellow Writer,

I hope you're well and happy - and that you're writing!

I want to start a club - with you as a member.

If you join my Kindle Review Club you get to:

1. Download my Amazon Kindle ebooks for free

2. Get my Amazon releases before anyone else

3. If you want, become a beta-reader for my new books

4. I'll offer paperback versions (when they're available) at discount

In return, I just need you to put reviews for my books on Amazon!

Does this sound like a good deal to you?

I hope so.

Please sign up below if you'd like to join Rob's Kindle Review Club:

 Kindle Review Club

We respect your email privacy

Till next week.

Keep Writing!


Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Easy Way to Write

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New book, music and film, free newsletter

Dear Fellow Writer,

I hope you're well and happy - and that you're writing!

You probably noticed I released another book on Amazon Kindle this week: "The Easy Way to Write a Novel That Sells".

That brings the total EWTW books on Amazon up to five so far!

The Easy Way to Write a Novel That Sells

I have to say I'm thoroughly enjoying the process of re-creating my courses and putting them out into the 'world.'

I especially wasn't expecting them all to do so well.

All of the books are in the top one hundred Kindle main chart - the Romance and the Novel books are currently at #1 - and on days I have 3 or 4 in the top 20 for the 'writing skills' chart!

I have another 20 courses that I'm planning to put up in the next few months. 


Who knows? 

Actually what I want to do is to finish my latest novel, "The Essene Heresy", which has taken a bit of a back seat while I'm re-writing and editing the courses.

Apologies if you're following the story - which was intended to come out weekly - but seems to have slipped to bi-weekly.

These things happen.

But the novel is mostly plotted. I've been using Scrivener - which is probably the only writing software that I can say actually helps the book writing process. I've used lots of other software in the past but Scrivener is THE ONE as far as I'm now concerned!

You can download it for a free trial here: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/

You can use it for 30 non sequential days and then it costs around $40, depending on where in the world you are!

I highly recommend it for longer works.

In other news I've produced a new music video.

It's a rock song called "Never Say Goodbye" and is dedicated to my lovely wife Robyn, of course.

I had big plans for the video. I had story-boards drawn for all kinds of scenarios but again - because I've been so focused on Amazon since we got back from holiday - these had to be simplified.

Anyway, here's the current video version:

If you like the song (or any of my others) you can get some of them from Apple iTunes here: http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/rob-parnell/id627534447

Next year I'm planning on recording an album of new songs with a band. And perhaps play some gigs. That should be fun!

It's really just an opportunity to do something I've always wanted to do - to create a definitive 'record' of my songs before I get much older!

If the Rolling Stones can still record albums and play live - anyone can.

What else?

I'd hoped to be able to tell you that my movie, First Cut, was going to be playing at the Barossa Film Festival. It looked like it was all set to go but I haven't heard back from them - and the festival is only two weeks away. 

Fingers crossed. I'll let you know if that transpires too. 

So this newsletter was just a bit of a ramble. Apologies if you'd prefered some sort of writing instruction.

To be honest I'm a bit frazzled from all the work I'm doing at the moment.

Till next week.

Keep Writing!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Easy Way to Create Your Perfect Life

Dear Fellow Writer,

Great to be talking to you again.

This week we host a special event. 

Once in a lifetime comes a book that can change lives. And, all modesty aside, I believe my wife has written it!

It's about how to easily manifest your perfect life using the infinite power of the Law of Creation.

And the best news is that the first 25 copies are available to you for just 99 cents - yes, less than one dollar!

You're Amazing!

Here's what Robyn has to say about this book:

As you read this book, you’ll gain a greater understanding of the Law of Creation and how it affects your daily life. In the meantime, I’ll briefly share my story so you can see the difference the Law of Creation has made for me.

A lot of the time, I feel so happy I could burst. I love my life. I love waking up in the morning. I look forward to every day.

I’m happy with who I am. I’m happy with the way I look. I’m happy with my relationships. I’m happy with my home, my friends, my work—everything. 

If I’m not happy with something, I change it. Simple as that.

Nowadays, I only allow good experiences into my life.

I haven’t always felt this way. In fact, for the first half of my life, I wasn’t very happy and, to be honest, I wasn’t always a likable person. I had problems with myself and other people. I struggled to get through days. I was often grumpy and difficult to get along with, and sometimes I was mean.

I sent all of this out into the world and I got it back.

Then I became ill. You may have heard doctors report that many of our health problems are caused by stress—negative thoughts and feelings. I realize now that I brought this illness on myself through the negativity in my life.

About this time, someone—who I now think of as an angel—gave me a copy of a book about the power of our thoughts. I read the book and experienced not one, but many light-bulb moments. 

I’m indebted to the little angel—okay, he was a large man—who gave me the book. I went on to read everything I could find on the subjects of positive thinking and the Law of Creation.

Some of the books I read were old, written back in the early 1900s. Wow! We’ve known this information for a long time.

Yet we’re not taught this information in schools. Our parents don’t teach us. We’re left to find this information by ourselves. But what if we don’t know that this knowledge exists? How are you supposed to find something you don’t even know is out there?

If I’d learned this information when I was younger, I could have been happier and experienced a better life, instead of struggling for so long. Imagine what I could have done. I’m grateful that I’m doing it now!

I want to give you all the help, within the pages of You're Amazing, for you to be happy and create your perfect life.

Basically, every person wants to be loved, happy, healthy and successful. We’re human and, in a nutshell, this is what life is about—love, happiness, health and success. But a lot of people don’t know how to get these things or make them happen. In fact, many people get what they don’t  want.

I was lucky enough—thanks to my angel—to discover the information about the Law of Creation

I began to use the information. I began to change my thoughts.

It works, trust me! I’m living proof. All the good things I’ve experienced in my life have happened since I began to practice the universal Law of Creation.

Instead of sending my anger, frustration and dissatisfaction out into the world, and getting it back like a boomerang, now I send out good thoughts and feelings. Guess what I get back? 

You got it! I get plenty of good stuff in return. This is how the Law of Creation works. Simply put, the Law of Creation is a natural law of the Universe, where like creates like. So I create good in my life through my good thoughts.

Your thoughts create your life and the world around you. If you believe something—if you think that it’s true—then it is true. Whether your thoughts are right or wrong doesn’t matter. If you believe something, it becomes your reality.

Did you know that you control your thoughts and feelings? You control your life. No one else does, only you. This is fantastic news.

Did you know that happiness is a decision? Right now, if you’re unhappy, you’ve made a decision to be unhappy. Everything in your life relates back to your thoughts. You can decide to be happy and you will be happy.

Take a moment to smile, really smile. How do you feel? Feeling sad or negative is impossible when you smile. Make the decision to smile as much as possible.

You might not believe that you can do so much good or bad with only your thoughts. But you can. You're Amazing will explain it all to you and how you can create your perfect life. Yes, by using your thoughts in ways which are helpful to you. Too many people allow their thoughts to be unhelpful, even destructive. 
This is the beginning of your perfect life. Make the most of your life and live the dream. I hope you, too, will soon feel like bursting with happiness. There’s no shame in wanting to be happy. It’s not geeky. You’re not being a dork. Happiness is what all people want. It’s why we’re here. You’ll see!

Click on this link to go get your own copy of "You're Amazing" for less than one dollar right now!

Keep Writing!


"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Anne Frank

The Writing Academy

Welcome to the official blog of Rob Parnell's Writing Academy, updated weekly - sometimes more often!