Writing Books/My Novel

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Question
Well, I've been trying to figure out exactly what I will be writing about, and I have found my topic. There's only a few problems that I notice I used/still have.

1. I would write down what happens as I thought it up

2. I didn't know how to do proper dialogue

3. I don't know the exact structure to which I set up my novel before I begin to write it.

I am writing a Trilogy, and I was wondering should I plan the entire thing out, or do it book-by-book.

Answer
Rob:

Certainly, the more planning you're able to do ahead of time, the better things generally work out.  Of course, you have to be careful about planning fiction, because fiction tends to take on a life of its own.  It's not like writing an outline for a reference book, after all.  Fiction "outlines" generally will be very sparse, with a general direction, but with very little (if anything) that is set in stone.  In other words, be wary of making an outline and then being married to it; be open to change as you're writing.

Dialogue, of course, is important, and there are any number of good books out there to help you become better at dialogue.  I recommend to my students that they pay attention to how dialogue is done in the movies.  It's often quite well done.  (Not on TV; most TV dialogue sucks.)

The structure of your book is also something that will depend a lot on the type of book you're writing.  If you can find a copy, get your hands on SCENE & STRUCTURE by Jack Bickham.

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Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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