"" Rob Parnell's Writing Academy Blog: October 2016

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Writing is a Life Long Sentence

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1. Read Like it's Going Out of Fashion

You've heard it a million times before. You can't love writing without first loving to read. Read a lot. Read everything. Analyse writing and writers. Study what works, what doesn't, wonder why and learn from it.

Realize too that the published writing you see has probably been worked and reworked over and over to appear effortless. Don't assume professional writers get it down perfect every time. They don't. Their work has been analyzed, edited and beaten into shape by themselves and other editors.

2. Study Your Own Writing

Study every word, every sentence, every phrase. Are you maximizing the effect of your words? Could you say the same thing a different way?

Don't just blindly accept your words as perfect. Professionals know there is always another way of stating something, setting a scene, explaining an emotion. Too many novice writers fall in love with their words, refusing to accept there might be a better way to get to what is true.

3. Learn to Love Criticism

When we start out, criticism hurts - big time. We've bared our soul. We've agonized over our words and are proud of what we've said. Off-hand comments about our work can feel like a body slam, even an attack on our capabilities, our character, our integrity.

But that's not what is going on. People love to criticize - it's human nature. Even the best writers are criticized. The point is to learn from criticism and rise above it. Listen to what is being said, make changes if necessary but do it for yourself. You are the final arbiter - but don't be blind or sulky about it. Take it on board.

4. Read Aloud to Others

Reading out loud can highlight the strengths and weaknesses in your writing. Especially in the areas of rhythm, wordiness, and dialogue. It's a great test.

Read to friends and family, yes, but also read to other writers. Let them make comments. Enjoy the process.

Try this. Read a short piece to a group of friends/writers. Make note of how your writing sounds to them. Listen to suggestions. Make changes, read it aloud again. Keep doing this until everyone involved thinks the writing - every word, every phrase - is perfect.

5. Try Different Styles

It's too easy to get stuck in one area of expertise. If you're a fiction buff, try writing magazine articles or screenplays. If you're a journalist, try free-form fiction. If you're a literary type, try writing advertising copy. Don't limit yourself. All types of writing are good in their own way and experimenting with them can teach you little tricks that help you become a more mature, fully rounded writer.

Novice writers tend to think they shouldn't experiment, that somehow it might taint their art. Nothing could be further from the truth.

6. Take Courses, Read More Books on Writing

The process of being taught, of exposing yourself to the ideas of others, cannot be underestimated. Even if you disagree with what is being said, it all helps stretch you and give you a deeper understanding of what is good and right for your writing.

When you take lessons in writing, study hard, do the exercises, listen to the feedback, act on it and write some more. Your writing will improve the more you do it. Don't sit and fret over your writing. Just do it.

7. Seek Out Good Advice

I quite often hear novice writers complain that they're learning nothing new about writing from the various authorities they consult. They sound disillusioned, as if there's more pertinent information out there if only they could find it.

Odd. considering I've never met a seasoned writer didn't love to debate the absolute basics of word-play, grammar, sentence structure and all the other little things that novices seem to grow weary of hearing.

Remember. You can never hear good advice too many times.

8. Give Back

Share your knowledge. Teach what you have learned about writing to others. Too often novice writers can feel there's some sort of clique of professionals who don't want to talk to them or associate with them.

We writers, whatever our abilities, must learn to see ourselves as a community with similar aims - to actively enhance all our writing - to raise the bar and to act for the betterment of all writers.

9. Constantly Want More From Yourself

Stretch yourself continuously. Find new ways of expressing yourself.
Writing is sometimes a strange past-time. A writing project that begins like an adventure can quickly become an obsession that ends up feeling like some self-inflicted curse!

But all writing experience is good, whether it's fun or not. Not all of your writing is going to be fun and fulfilling. Some of it may be a hard slog or a nuisance. This is okay.

If you want to succeed in writing, it should become your life, your passion, even your reason to be. It's a fine and noble way of life. If you want it, embrace it, and your writing will benefit enormously. Go for it!

Best of luck and - whatever you do - keep writing.

Rob Parnell

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Anatomy of the Modern Bestseller

Today sees the launch of Anatomy of the Modern Bestseller

It's a step by step course for creating and writing a fiction bestseller, based on studying five of the bestselling novels of our time.

You're going to want to get this!

Rob Parnell
Anatomy of the Modern Bestseller
I don’t know about you but during my life, I have spent a lot of time wishing I could create a bestselling novel.

You know what it’s like. 

You see a book selling bucket loads. You eventually read it to find out what all the fuss is about.  You quite like it but a small part of you is thinking, “I could have done that.” 

You don’t mean it in an arrogant way. Just that, it’s got words you know, strung together in a way that’s not dissimilar to what you might do, and there are a whole bunch of characters and a story line that doesn’t stretch much beyond what you could have imagined.

Pretty soon, you see the author’s name everywhere. Next, they’re making a movie and you’re thinking, “Wait a minute, my book’s just as good! Why isn’t my name up there? Why isn’t my book a bestseller too?”

Yep, it's every writer's dream.

To write something that sells millions and pretty much guarantees the author a place in history. Now that's sweet - the idea of it anyway.

I read a US publisher's blog recently that said that it was RARE for ANY author to sell more than TWO HUNDRED of their own books - and only then if they were lucky! This figure is apparently true for Amazon and iTunes authors, as well as traditionally published authors with bona fide book deals.

Yes, even mainstream publishers with worldwide distribution often have trouble selling the first print run (usually less than one thousand copies) of what they call their 'B List' authors - a category which pretty much covers the majority of us!

That's the reality. 

Bestsellers have a habit of surprising everyone: their authors, the media, Amazon and publishing companies too.

It's been said often that even publishers are pretty bad at spotting potential bestsellers. If anyone has an inkling of what a bestselling book looks like, it must surely be writers like you and me. After all, it's our job to write them!

It should, therefore be in our own interest to know what a potential bestseller looks like. 

In the movie business, there's a whole industry built around teaching writers how to write effective blockbuster movies - to a kind of formula.

(Okay, if you don't like the word formula, think in terms of a set of conventions that are necessary to make a movie work for a large audience.)

The sheer size of the film industry and the lure of the millions to be made have effectively necessitated the need to teach writers how to do it 'properly'.
Why, I wonder, is there no similar resource for novel writers?

(There is now, of course, because I’ve created one for you!)

I mean, it's not as if you need to be a great literary talent to write bestsellers. As the bestselling author, Ken Follett, says, “It's enough to be literate - that is, to be able to string a few sentences together.”

Bestseller writers are routinely criticized for their lack of literary finesse - but surely that's to miss the point.

It's the story that makes a bestseller. The story, the characters, the setting - and the big idea.
Isn't it about time somebody instructed ambitious writers on the fundamentals of writing potential bestsellers?

Yes. I definitely think so. 

That's why I put together my latest writing course, Anatomy of The Modern Bestseller. 

To teach novelists the basic conventions contained within all bestsellers. And if you think there's no rhyme or reason to these things, then you'd be wrong.

There are glaring similarities between all bestselling novels but as writers, we often can't see the forest for the trees. We get so involved in the writing process, we fail to see the big picture.

The reality is you really can plan, create and manufacture a potential bestseller. (Assuming you are literate, of course!)

There are conventions that always work. There are indeed templates - just like you'd use to write a screenplay - that a writer can use to hang their own novel on - and make their story look and feel and read like a bestseller.

Click below to find out more about my latest writing course: Anatomy of The Modern Bestseller:

I think you’ll find it’s information you need to know!

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell

Your Success Is My Concern
The Writing Academy

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

The Art of Story Revealed

I don’t do as many live seminars as I used to but when I do, the most popular topic is my Art of Story course. 

I once gave a whole day over to the course with a live audience, slides, and an intense Q&A. It was great fun. Plus I got to go to Singapore to give it, which is a lovely city in the springtime.

The best part about The Art of Story is that it’s a fun way for writers and authors to learn something new. Plus the substance can be easily implemented immediately after the course and turn amateur writers into seeming professionals instantly. 

It’s all about structure, you see.

The Art of Story shows you what the greats, the classic literary authors, and modern bestselling authors have known all along: that structure IS story. 

That even a bad story well told will be considered brilliant. And that, conversely, a good story told badly just won’t work. Ask any Hollywood producer if you don’t believe this is true!

The story-telling structure that is used is simple yet profound and if you begin to use the structure yourself, you’ll find it immensely helpful when you’re trying to get published and when you’re selling your own books, perhaps on Amazon - which just about EVERYONE is doing these days!

Structure is crucial when you want to look professional and inspire trust in readers, fans, and industry people like literary agents and traditional publishers.

I have revisited The Art of Story for my new Writing Academy. It’s now in four parts, lessons if you like, with a couple of bonus ebooks to help with your creativity.

Plus this one’s a bargain. Robyn, my beloved wife, (and resident mystic) recently told me that eight was currently my lucky number.

So what better way to celebrate that fact than by releasing this course at the one-time special offer price of $8 - normally $197.

That’s a huge discount!

Go here to enroll: 

Right now!

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell
Your Success is My Concern
Rob Parnell's Writing Academy

The Writing Academy

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