Recent content by Kate McMurray

  1. Kate McMurray

    Craft So You Want to Plan a Novel with Kate McMurray

    Writing a good first draft in less time is not so much a matter of typing faster but rather of using your time more efficiently. If you know where you’re going before you start your journey, you’ll get there faster. This means two things. First, plan the story in advance. This doesn’t...
  2. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 10: Wrap-Up: What to do with a first draft

    Here's the story structure video.
  3. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 10: Wrap-Up: What to do with a first draft

    I wanted to wrap up by posing the question: Once you have a first draft finished… what then? Your first draft is just that: a first draft. So the next step is to change it into your final draft. I am a big believer in the power of revision. I don’t care how good or experienced a writer you...
  4. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 9: Tip 5: Make Time

    A few years ago, when I was putting this workshop together to teach the first time, I asked a friend of mine what kind of tips she would want. She responded, “How do I write when I have a full-time job?” That’s an excellent question! It’s relatively rare for writers to earn enough to write full...
  5. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 8: Tip 4: Conquer Writer's Block

    Getting stuck can stop you from being productive, so a key way to keep writing is to overcome writer’s block. We generally think about writer’s block as just being out of ideas. But I want to challenge that way of thinking. Writer’s block is your brain’s way of telling you something is not...
  6. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 7: Tip 3: Find Your Ideal Writing Time

    Starting today, I’m going to shift away from the actual content of your novel and into how to make the most of your time to get that draft written faster. Today I want to talk about Ideal your ideal writing time. When are you the most focused, awake, and on top of things? We cycle through...
  7. Kate McMurray

    I'm not sure what "end the way it began" means in the context of a book. But there aren't really...

    I'm not sure what "end the way it began" means in the context of a book. But there aren't really hard and fast rules about book endings (except for genre rules like mysteries solving the whodunnit and romance novels requiring a happy ending). For series books... it's really up to you and what...
  8. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 6: Tip 2: Waste Less Narrative Space

    This may sound intuitive, but another way to save time when you write a first draft is not to write things you don’t need to write. However, it’s not intuitive, because a lot of writers include text they don’t need to or that will be cut later in their first drafts. So how can you avoid this...
  9. Kate McMurray

    You can and should change plot points, even big ones, if they serve your novel better! Nothing...

    You can and should change plot points, even big ones, if they serve your novel better! Nothing is written in stone until the book is published. If you've got an idea for an ending that works better than the one you had planned, you can definitely change it. (I actually just this year completely...
  10. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 5: Plan Your Journey

    Apologies for getting this post up so late today! I had a busy morning and lost track of time. The good news is that I won't be posting this weekend, so you have all weekend to read it. Today I want to further explore how knowing your story can help you write faster. The bottom line is that...
  11. Kate McMurray

    Yes, absolutely. I think it's especially great when villains are well-rounded...

    Yes, absolutely. I think it's especially great when villains are well-rounded characters—villains are the heroes of their own stories, after all. Having a complicated villain adds complexity to the story. (And antagonists need not necessarily be villains, they just need to be working in...
  12. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 4: What's your story?

    I want to differentiate between story and plot. For the sake of definitions, plot is the series of events in a piece of fiction. Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back. Story is a little different, but even more important. According to Lisa Cron, “A story is about how the things...
  13. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 3: Tip #1: Plan Your Trip

    If you know where you’re going, you’ll get there faster. If you take nothing else away from this workshop, consider this: if you know what you’re going to write when you sit down to write it, you will write it faster. I’m going to talk about story for the rest of this week, and I want to...
  14. Kate McMurray

    Lecture Day 2: Pantsing and Plotting

    So, I asked on Monday about whether you consider yourself a pantser or a plotter. I did that because I wanted you to think about your own process. Now I want you to throw everything you know about pantsing and plotting out the window. In her book Story Genius, Lisa Cron debunks both...
  15. Kate McMurray

    The convention currently is for one of the POV characters to be present, but this is not a rule...

    The convention currently is for one of the POV characters to be present, but this is not a rule set in stone. I read most of Judith McNaught's backlist last year, and she does this kind of thing all the time, where she'll have one scene from a different POV because she needs to show something...