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Excerpt for Novel Writing Blueprint-Think Write Create by , available in its entirety at Smashwords



Novel Writing Blueprint

Write Think Create

Susan Palmquist



Published by Coldstream Publishing at Smashwords

Copyright 2019 Susan Palmquist



Smashwords Edition, License Notes.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Thank You

Social Networks



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Chapter 1

During my 11 years of teaching and mentoring aspiring writers, something I commonly hear is I’ve just retired…my kids have left home and now I have time to work on the book I’ve always dreamed about writing.

Did you know that writing a book ranks in the top three things on bucket lists?

You’ve purchased this book so maybe it’s on yours too.

Let me tell you upfront that this isn’t one of those how to crank out a novel in a month instruction book. There are plenty of those around if that’s all you want to do and continue to do.

My approach to teaching you how to write is different. My aim is to get you into good writing habits, daily writing habits if possible. I’ll show you how to learn the craft of writing so you’ll get into the right habit the first time. My hope is that this book will lessen your learning curve and get you to published author status that much faster. There are no quick ways to do something like write a novel and be good at it…well, maybe for a few lucky people.

I decided to become an author 31 years ago. I made terrible mistakes along the way, was even told by a famous editor to think about doing anything else besides write, but I was determined, (and arrogant), enough to believe I could achieve my dream. I learned by experience, I learned the hard way, but I finally got there. I’ve now written and published over 100 books and been tutoring and teaching aspiring writers for more than a decade. It’s through teaching that I’ve experienced another level of how to be a writer, deciding on makes a good book, and what captivates a reader from the very first sentence of a story. All great books have certain things in common and that’s what I’m going to teach you in this book.

It’s my hope that this book will help you to be the best storyteller you can be, and that it will be the last writing how to book you’ll ever need. Some chapters are shorter than others because some aspects of the storytelling process need less explanation. In every chapter, I’ve done my best to make the concepts easy to follow and simple to put into practice.

This blueprint is going to show you-

How to plot

How to create characters readers will love

How to choose the right person to tell the story

How to write dialogue so that your readers will think they’re eavesdropping on a real conversation.

How to show and not tell

How to make sure your character has a goal and there’s enough conflict throughout your story

Ways to up the emotional impact

And lots more…



Writing a book is harder than you think. The number one reason why people who say they’re going to write a book never get published is simply because they never actually sit down and begin writing.

I hope that’s not going to me you. If you follow the advice I give to my students and that’s learn the craft, keep writing, keep trying and never give up, the dream of being a published author can be yours.



My Own Writing Journey

Before we dive in, I’d like to tell you about my own journey to becoming a published author.

I’m not one of those people who wanted to be a writer since I could hold a pen in my hand. My urge to write came later in life when I decided to write a children’s book. I knew nothing about writing or publishing so I just started to write. I enjoyed the process so much I sensed this was going to be a new hobby I’d pursue for years to come.

My first attempt was a story about an only child who kidnaps the next-door neighbor’s new baby so he can finally have a sibling. I thought it would be for my eyes only but then the dream of being published took over and I decided to start sending it out to publishers.

Like most newbie writers, I was convinced my story was flawless and so wonderful that no one would say no to it. Also, like beginning writers, the rejection letters started piling up.

But unlike many writers, I didn’t give up, and my next move was to enter it in a contest. The Loft’s Children’s Literature Award. After I sent in my entry, I tried not to think about it, but in the back of my mind, I wished and wished that this would be my first lucky break.

Guess what? It was.

I got a phone call from the coordinator telling me I was one of the four winners. It netted me my first paycheck as a writer… $250 to be exact, and yes, I still have a photocopy of the check.

I thought it would be a turning point and that publishers would sit up and take notice of it after this award, but sadly, no. I continued to send it out for the next two years but had no luck. I then read that books for children are actually the hardest to sell so I decided to move onto another genre.

I’d been an avid fan of mystery novels since I was a child so I opted to try my hand at that genre. I was in the middle of writing one when my father was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given six months to live. He’d been my biggest supporter and I always talked about my plots and characters with him. After he died, I discovered I couldn’t write any more…well not for long stretches of time. I wrote some non-fiction and short stories that did get published, but writing and getting a novel published seemed to be out of reach until one day…

One day I realized he’d want me to live my dream so I slowly got back to work on the mystery and started to send it out. Getting published still wasn’t happening but then I heard that romance books were the best route to becoming an author so I switched genres starting with romantic suspense novels. One day, I sat down and began work on a time travel romance that while it still didn’t net me a contract, I started to get personal rejection letters telling me they loved the story but it wasn’t quite right for them.

I thought maybe it wasn’t meant to be but then my mother was diagnosed with cancer, a dear friend and mentor passed away from cancer, and if that wasn’t enough, my uncle/godfather, (my father’s baby brother), was diagnosed with a brain tumor and was dead six weeks later.

I felt like this was my wake-up call…live your dream because life is short. To honor these people, I was going to keep sending out my time travel romance until someone offered me a contract. I was going to get published before I died.

Four months later, I received an e-mail from The Wild Rose Press telling me they were offering me a contract. I was finally going to be a published author of a novel.

I’m thankful that my mother lived three more years to see my dream come true.

And guess what, yes, the mystery I was writing while my dad was ill even got published, and the children’s book that won the Loft Childrens’ Literature Award, yep, that eventually found a home too.

I haven’t looked back since, and now I’ve written romances, how to books, and for the last eleven years, I’ve been teaching and tutoring aspiring authors too.

I love passing along my knowledge (and I hope my enthusiasm), to tomorrow’s new authors.

That’s my goal for this book, that someone or all of you will be the next bestselling author.

Let’s get started on your own journey to becoming a published writer…

I won’t lie and tell you that writing a book is easy because it’s not. In fact, if it was then everyone would be an author.

Getting started and sticking with it is half the battle so I hope you’ll see this book as not only as a way to learn how to write, but a way to stay motived until your book is finished. Running out of plot or ideas isn’t the main reason why people fail to produce their book. Most of the time, it’s due to lack of motivation or they get sidetracked by some other pursuit. Let’s start things the right way.

The first thing I’d like you to think about is your why?

Why do you want to be a writer?

Why do you want to write a book?

Be honest with yourself.

If it’s because it sounds cool or will be a conversation starter at parties then let me tell you, you’re going to fail.

All goals we eventually accomplish have one thing in common. They are things that are in our hearts. It’s that thing we know there’s nothing else we’d rather do. It’s our passion…maybe even our obsession. You can’t imagine yourself not doing it. It’s one of the things that make you jump out of bed every morning. It’s the thing that makes you think, I can’t wait until all my other stuff’s done so I can go do my thing…in this case, write my book.

Any of this sound familiar to you? If you’re nodding than you know your why and I’m guessing you’re going to write the book and get published.

It’s this why and the drive that’s going to allow you to keep to your writing schedule. Yes, even on days when you’ve worked late and you’re tired. Or the nights when you’d rather binge watch something on Netflix. Even on the days when you receive a rejection letter from a publisher.

Tell yourself this…Published Authors Never Gave Up.



Make an Appointment to Write

Take a calendar or planner and make an appointment with yourself to write at least two or three times a week. It could be just for an hour or two. Maybe even a 15-minute sprint here and there. Keep going until you’re writing something every day. You’ll find the more you get into a routine then the easier it will be to eventually just sit and write. They say it takes about 30 days for a habit to form so after a month, you might even find you don’t need to schedule writing in your planner ever again.

Once you start your daily writing schedule, I want you to figure out where and when you do your most productive work. Maybe it’s sitting in bed with the laptop while you watch TV. Perhaps it’s at a desk in a quiet part of your home. We all have our favorite spots and time of day to write. For me, it’s early evening with my laptop balancing on my knees.

And how about noise and having other people around?

If you have a family or roommates, are you okay with them talking or having music playing or the TV blaring in the background?

Do you need to go to a quiet place like a spare room or the basement or attic?

How about being in your home versus at a coffee shop or the library?

Write in all situations and spaces and make a note of where you’re most productive.

Some writers can work anywhere but most of us have our favorite areas and know immediately if we can work with others around or need to escape somewhere else.

For me, I’m hopeless at writing in public places. I’m a people watcher and I end up doing that and nothing gets written.

One final thing that I feel will also lead to a higher success rate is to give yourself a deadline.

I will finish the first draft of the book on July 18th.

I’ll have the first three chapters finished by March 18th.

I will have half the book written by May 18th.

And so on…

Once you have all that figured out and you’re writing something daily or at least on a regular schedule, let’s move onto the next thing that can sometimes stall your writing progress.



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Chapter 2


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