January 25, 2017

Tour Day! Russell Nohelty brings us "Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs"

Author Bio:
Russell Nohelty is a writer, publisher, and speaker. He runs Wannabe Press, which publishes weird books for weird people, and hosts The Business of Art podcast, which helps creatives build better businesses. 

Russell is the author of Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father and My Father Didn’t Kill Himself, along with the creator ofthe Ichabod Jones: Monster Hunter, Gherkin Boy, and Katrina Hates the Dead graphic novels. He makes books that are as entertaining and weird as they are thought provoking.  

Social Media Links: @russellnohelty on Twitter and Instagram. /russellnohelty on Facebook


5 Writing tips that will make sure you finish your novel in 2017

I used to look at a novel like it was an impossible task. I still often look back at the novels I’ve written and can’t believe I finished them. Honestly, just three years ago I thought I would never write a novel, and now I’ve released three and finished three more.
When I look at writing a novel, even after all my finished books, I still think the it’s crazy that I can finish one, even as history has proven than I can.

I mean, 60,000 words is a lot. I have historically been a screenwriter, where a long script might break 10,000 words. Which means every time I finish a book, it’s like finishing six screenplays. 

Now, I’ve always been a fast scriptwriter, but six scripts would be a lot for me to finish in a year.

Yet, I’ve finished roughly two novels a year, plus comic book work and other writing, in the past two years. Last year, my total word count was well over 200,000, not including blog posts.

So how did I train myself to be so prolific?

I created a system, full of little hacks, which allowed me to look at writing differently than I had before. Instead of a giant mountain to scale, I started thinking of books as many little hills to jump over. That little switch allowed me to go from thinking a novel was an impossibility to an inevitability almost immediately, and I want to share with you my five best tips to help you stop thinking of books like a daunting, harrowing journey and begin thinking of it as something you can and will accomplish in 2017.  

That’s how I was able to complete My Father Didn’t Kill Himself (www.myfatherdidntkillhimself.com), a mystery novel told all in blog posts, and its follow-up Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs (www.spaceshipbrokenbook.com), a sci-fi book about broken families. 

1.       Break your book up into chunks
Novels aren’t really a singular thing. They are a collection of chapters, and those chapters are a selection of sections. In order to keep moving forward in your novel, it’s important to think of your novel in these chunks. First, break your novel up into chapters. Then, break those chapters up into their natural section breaks. It’s important that each of these sections are complete thoughts, and further the story along. You don’t want to stop writing mid-thought.
For Spaceship Broken, Needs Repairs, I broken the 60,000-word novel into twenty 3,000 word chapters, and broke those chapters up into three sections of 1,000 words each. For my first novel, Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father, I broke down my chapters even further and separated the 1,000-word sections into 250-word subsections. Then, I made a goal of 1,000 words a day, and made sure to finish four sections a day, which allowed me to celebrate little victories every time I sat down at the computer. This psychologically allowed me to get little “wins” every day, and kept me motivated to keep going.  

2.       Plant your butt in the seat and don’t get up until you’ve hit your goal…for any reason
I am easily distracted now more than ever. Not only am I a writer, but I also run a publishing company called Wannabe Press (www.wannabepress.com), which makes weird books and comics for weird people. There are always a million things distracting my attention on top of the normal distractions like Facebook and Twitter. 

That’s why I make sure that the moment my butt hits my seat, I don’t get up for any reason until I’ve hit my daily goal. My daily goal is 1,000 words, but yours can be anything. I do recommend that if your daily goal is less than 1,000 words, you break up your sections into equally long segments so you can finish at least one section a day and keep yourself motivated to continue the next day.
It doesn’t matter if the doorbell rings, or my dogs bark, or if I have to use the bathroom. If I haven’t hit my goal for the day, I’m not going anywhere. You would be surprised how fast you finish your daily goal when your bladder is full. 

3.       Set a start date, then start a couple days before
This is a little trick I learned from my second novel My Father Didn’t Kill Himself. I set a goal to start my book on a specific date, but I was so motivated that I started writing a couple of weeks before. By the time I got to my start date, I had already finished 10,000 words, and I had the motivation to finish my book a month early. It always takes me time to get started on a project, and being able to hit that start date with some momentum allowed me to build momentum throughout the writing process. 

Now, I start all my books a couple of days before the start date, so that I have a little buffer built for myself if I slack off a day. 

4.       Don’t stop in the middle to rewrite.
Your first draft is going to suck. Even if you are a seasoned pro the first draft will suck for you. All that the first draft needs to be is done, but too many writers go back and rewrite mid-stream and never get their book done. Just accept that the draft is going to suck, make a note of what to change, and keep going. Writing a book is all about momentum and stopping to rewrite means you have to start from scratch to build that momentum all over again. 

5.       Write a smaller book first.
Just because your dream is to write 100,000-word fantasy epics doesn’t mean you have to start out that way. Somebody that wants to run marathons doesn’t start out their first day of training running 20+ miles. They start slow and build up.

My first novel was Gumshoes: The Case of Madison’s Father, a 37,000-word middle grade fiction novel. I chose that novel because I knew I could complete it really well. I could nail the middle grade reading level and come up with something really fun. Additionally, 37,000 words felt manageable and doable. With each successive novel I increased my word count. Now, I’m writing 70,000+ word novels, but I didn’t start out that way. 

I hope these tricks helped you out. If they did, let me know on Twitter @russellnohelty, or by finding me online @ www.wannabepress.com. I hope you pick up and enjoy my first three novels and enjoy them. If you are a writer, check out my podcast The Business of Art (www.thebusinessofart.us) which helps creatives build better careers.  

Sammy's had a tough life. His father is abusive. His mother is an alcoholic. He developed pulmonary fibrosis from asbestos and need an oxygen tank to breath.

His family is poor and getting poorer. 

One day his mother's had enough and steal him away to a life on the run. She'd rather be a fugitive than subject Sammy to his father's rage. 

It doesn't take long for life on the run with a sick child to catch up to her. In order to keep Sammy alive she has no choice but to move in with her emotionally abusive grandfather. 

Sammy just wants a normal life. He just wants to get along, but when he meets a homeless alien that all changes. Now, he has to help her fix her ship and get off the planet. 

This is a book about families, broken homes, and the power of friendship. Whether you enjoy whimsy, dark humor, or coming of age stories, there is something for you inside these pages.
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