Starting Your Story-Novel Writing Blueprint | Susan Palmquist | Skillshare

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Starting Your Story-Novel Writing Blueprint

teacher avatar Susan Palmquist, Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
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Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

3 Lessons (14m)
    • 1. Introduction and Overview

    • 2. Lesson One-Setting Your Schedule

    • 3. Lesson Two-What's Your Story?

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About This Class

Have you ever dreamed about writing a novel or being a full time author? Is there a book you've been longing to write but don't know how to start writing it? Maybe you've started your book but need some guidance to get you to the finish line.

This is the first class in a year long series where I'll be teaching you about different aspects of the novel writing process. Each class is a standalone one but I feel you'll learn even more if you take all twelve.

In this first class I'll be telling you about how to find time to write, setting up your writing schedule, and figuring out what type of book you'd like to write.


Meet Your Teacher

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Susan Palmquist

Author, Dream Inspirer and Writing Guru



I’m Susan Palmquist and for the last 20 years I’ve been an author, freelance writer, editor, blogger, teacher and tutor, (and before that I was a publicist).

It feels like I’ve squeezed a lot into two decades and it’s my tips and experience that I’ve learned along the way that I’m now happy to share with you here at Skillshare.

I’d like to show you how you too can write for fun or even for a living whether it be fiction or non-fiction.

Getting published wasn’t easy for me but I’m now the author, (under my own name and pen name Vanessa Devereaux), of 100 plus books and counting. There’s nothing I love more than helping others do the same thing.

I have my own coaching and critiquing business... See full profile

Related Skills

Writing Creative

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1. Introduction and Overview: hello and welcome to the novel writing Blueprint class. Actually, it's going to be the first in a series of 12 classes that will continue through 2018. And let me ask you this question. Have you ever dreamed of being an author of writing a book? Or maybe you've started to write a book but haven't had the motivation all the time or dedication to finish it? Well, let me tell you, this is going to be your year. If you've ever thought of writing a novel, it's the new year, and I hope you'll make it this year in which you finally achieve your goal and get that book both written and finished. It's one of the reasons I decided to create the year long set of classes here at scale share. Each month, I will be uploading a class that will tackle each aspect of the novel writing process. Things like Dar log Point of View will also brainstorm to get your plot worked out on towards the end of the year, there will be a class on writing a synopsis and putting together a submission package. Hopefully, by the time December 31st rolls around, you'll have a novel you can be proud of, one that's ready to submit in 2019. So who am I and what makes me qualified to teach such a grand venture? Some of you might know me from my other classes on skill share on If you're here for the first time. My name. Susan Palmquist and I'm the author off almost 100 plus books now under my own name and my pen. Nine. Um, for the last 10 years, I've been tutoring for an online school on also been teaching workshops for various chapters off the romance Writers of America. But like you always wants a beginning writer, I was gaining rejections faster than I could actually write stories, But one thing I never gave up. I kept writing, figured out all my mistakes, stayed the course and eventually got published on I know you can do the same thing. I won't say that writing a book is easy because it's no, it wasn't, you know. If it waas, more people would be doing it and be published authors getting started and sticking with it . It's half the battle, so I hope you'll see that this year long set of classes. Not only is way to learn the craft of writing, but as a way to stay motivated until your book is written. Each month, the class project will take you one step tuck closer to finishing your book. Okay, that's my introduction. So I hope you'll come along with May for this 12 month journey on in. The first lesson will get started. And I'll tell you about setting up your writing schedule. See you then. 2. Lesson One-Setting Your Schedule: hello and welcome to Lesson one off the novel writing blueprint class. This one of focused on setting up a writing schedule. You know, lots of people say they're going to write a book, but very few people actually finish on. It's not anything to do with lack of talent or even lack of applause or an idea. It's because they don't manage their time very well. They get sidetracked on eventually there. Once loved Project falls by the wayside, so we're going to start with you, making sure that doesn't happen to you. So let's start the right way. It take a calendar, or maybe a plan or whatever you use to track time on, actually make an appointment with yourself. I know this sounds really kind of silly. Maybe, but if you write something down on your calendar as if, like, say it's a dental appointment or getting the oil change in your car, you're more likely to do it because you're seeing it. It's a reminder that it's something that needs to be done. So take some time. Maybe it's in the evening. Maybe it's first thing you get up in the morning, but right in the time and put their I am going to write or my writing, appointment or whatever, uh, jogs your memory the best and pencil in. It doesn't have to be on our. It could be 10 minutes, 15 minutes on the more you do it, maybe you know it construction to an hour, but it really is. I know from experience that practicing even, You know, just practicing writing every day can get you into a good habit. So maybe this is something that you'll do for a month before you start writing your novel. But it's that repetition. It kind of becomes, um, you know, ingrained in your everyday activity that I write. I write every day, so make sure that you do that, and it could be maybe even two or three times a week. Doesn't have to be every day whatever your schedule allows. But don't give up and make sure that you do it, and some days you'll find yourself more productive than others. Even when you've been writing a long time like I have, sometimes you know I can write for a couple of hours and time seems to fly by and other times I'll sit in front of the computer screen and kind of maybe look out the window or something and you don't feel very productive. But that's that's par for the course. I don't think it's you. It happens to all of us. So don't let that stop you from continuing on. Another thing I'd like you to do is to figure out when you're most productive. Maybe it is in the morning when you first get up. I know a lot of people write it soon so, you know, jump out of bed before they clean their teeth. Uh, do anything like that. Eat breakfast. They sit down and they right, and maybe for 10 minutes, maybe for 15 minutes, maybe before they head out the the door for work or to take the Children to school. But some people are morning people, and that goes for every activity. Some people like to exercise in the morning, but just figure out when you're most productive, and a great way to do that is to write in the morning, maybe during your lunch break, and then to write again at night. Maybe before you go to bed, or maybe when you're sitting in bed. I figure out what you felt most comfortable with and when you felt most productive, because each of us of our own schedule on knowing it is a huge plus and can really keep you on track with your writing. Another thing to Dio this matter may sound like, you know, but it is strange, but there are certain places in your house or maybe down at the coffee shop where you can write better than other places. My favorite spot for writing fiction is actually on the couch with the laptop, but when it's nonfiction, I have to be at my desk with a bigger screen from, you know, attached to my laptop. It's just one of those things, and I think I got into the habit when I was switching from freelance writing in the day to writing fiction at night on dumb. There again, you can you can really pick up some really productive habit. If you realize where you're most comfortable writing, it could be an armchair there again, it could be in bed. Maybe you're one of those people that just like to write down at the coffee shop. I can't do that because I'm a people watcher, and it took me a while to figure that out. But now I can never take my laptop down to the coffee shop because I don't get anything done. But for you, that could be a great thing. It might even Sparks and Craig, you know, creative ideas for a story, so figure that out. Ah, put, you know, let's go through that. Put your mark it on your calendar. I'm going to write, figure out when's the best time to write on Where's the best place to write and it might take you a month might take you a day to figure that out. But make sure you do and stick with it, because I can assure you that's when you're gonna be your most productive and stick with this novel writing venture on in the next lesson, I'm going to cover some of the stories that you might be writing and how you should choose the story. You're right, so I'll see you in lesson. Teoh 3. Lesson Two-What's Your Story?: hello and welcome to lessen to in the novel writing blueprint class. In the last lesson, I told you about setting up a writing schedule on how important it is, because sometimes that's when you know people don't organize their time or set time for writing. That's when novel get kind of sidetracked and you never get your book finished. And another common reason they're nice is the focus of this lesson. Why people never finish a book. Is there actually writing the wrong sort of story for them? And so let me ask you this. What sort of books do you enjoy reading the most? Maybe you love mysteries. Maybe your SciFi fan or maybe romance Rocket. You know, books are kind of the thing that you always gravitate towards. Or maybe it's more literary books that you enjoy reading. One thing I always. When I'm working with my students, I recommend that they, at least with their first book, write in a genre that they love reading. You might be asking yourself, Why is that important? Well, first of all, we're gonna be more familiar with the genre and all of its nuances and requirement. And yes, each genre does have some of those, and we'll be getting more into that as the year progresses. And we move through the lessons on the second reason age something that you enjoy doing like, you know, reading a particular like So you're a huge mystery fan writing it is gonna be enjoyable to . And the more things that are enjoyable, the more likely you are to stay the course. If it's something that you're doing just because you feel that you have to or that's where the money is, sometimes you lose interest on a lot of people. I think don't conclude their books is because they're writing the wrong kind of story. And that's why I'd like you to begin this year doing, ah, you know something that you really enjoy and picking a genre that you love and not just because it's ah hot genre. Or you think that's where writers are making all of their money? Uh, kind of, You know, I think it's a bit like exercise. If you do something you don't really enjoy the chances of you doing it every day, I think you're gonna be zero. And like I mentioned before, some people have just decided to write in a journal because they've heard that it's hot and you know so until was a millionaire. Now, if you think back to the Harry Potter and the Twilight Books, I mean, they were huge. So I made a lot of money for their officers, and everyone started to jump on. The vamp are and the Wizards and, ah, you know, everyone condone right well about those things paranormal elements. And if you don't really enjoy writing paranormal books, it's it's going to show through. We're probably going to get rejected. And like I said, you're never gonna finish your book. So if writing a book and finishing it is truly what you want to do, then pick something that you enjoy reading. Think about it. And this is actually going to be this month's class project. So between now and February is class I want you to focus on what kind of story would you like to write? Think about what you love to breed, maybe even make a list of books that you've enjoyed reading. Maybe you haven't figured out what Sean your that is yet, but make a list and maybe check on Amazon even go to the bookstore and think about what you enjoy reading on encouraging to write a story within those parameters and not wonder outside and think Well, yes, sometimes hot right now I'll give that a try. Believe may you're gonna fall by the wayside because you're gonna lose interest. So that's the class project, Onda, Um, if you need anyhow or have any questions about, you know, books and genres. I'm here to help. Just leave me a message on I'll get back to you as soon as I can. And I'm here to help you throughout the year. I really want to see, uh, you know, you you produce a good book on one that stands a really good chance of getting published. So if you have any trouble with the class project or you have a writing, you know, general writing question, I'm always here for you. I love to help aspiring writers, and I'll tell you what's coming. Next month we're going to work on plotting your novel, working on some outlines and getting all that sorted out the basis of the novel. Before we move into the more detailed aspects like characters and dialogue. So I'm glad you're coming along. And I hope you'll stay along for the journey and all the way to December. Like I said, if you have any questions, just leave me a message. Onda hope to see you in February. Until then, enjoy the month. Take care on. See you then. Bye.