Sunday, September 12, 2010


I was fortunate to attend an excellent seminar by the bestselling author, William Bernhardt, at Thrillerfest in New York City in July 2010.
William has given me permission to pass on this list to my blog readers.

Seven Steps to Writing – and Finishing – Your Novel, by William Bernhardt

1. Develop commitment. Getting started is the hardest part. Establish a writing schedule and stick to it. Find the time!

2. Build up your premise. In one sentence, what is your book about? Explain what it’s about in a way that makes people want to read it.

3. Write what you like! Write in the genre(s) you like and read yourself.

4. Allow yourself to write a lousy first draft. Just write it! Let yourself just finish the book. Then you can worry about editing, revising, etc. Don’t spend a lot of time revising and perfecting as you go along – you may end up deleting that whole chapter later!
“Writing is rewriting.” Michener: “I’m not a very good writer, but I am a good rewriter." Amateurs fall in love with every word they write.

5. Eliminate bad habits: tobacco, alcohol, drugs. Start an exercise routine to increase your stamina – it will also make you smarter. Try meditation.

6. Understand that writing is hard, and don’t get discouraged about it. Samuel Johnson: “What is written without effort is generally read without pleasure.”

7. Be brave. The secret of getting published: “Don’t give up.” You cannot lose if you won’t fail. Keep learning, revising, attending workshops.
Finally, William says: Books change people’s lives. They affect people in a profound way. Stick with it!

William Bernhardt leads a weekend writing workshop and teaches five-day writing seminars and master classes in various cities across the country. For more information, visit his website at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks William, it makes it all seem simple but I know it's not. It's just good to remind yourself to keep it simple so it doesn't all seem so overwhelming.

    Jessie Mac