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Saturday, July 29, 2017

Yet Another Tip On How to Write A Great Novel

by Rachel Hauck, @RachelHauck

Do you ever weary of all the do’s and don’ts of writing a novel? I do. Sometimes I get so bogged down with the “rules” and guidelines I end up writing something that doesn’t work. But in the end, it all forms together to create the novel I do end up sending to my editor. Nothing written for a novel is ever wasted. Every word becomes a layer and texture of the ultimate story. On my latest novel, I learned a valuable lesson. Reading. Shocker, right? Y’all are rolling your eyes, moaning, “Gee whiz, Rachel, and you have more than twenty novels published!? Where’s the justice?”Simmer down. I know reading is important. I’ve always read. Let me be more specific. Reading for research.

I do a ton of research for my novels. I read books, store web sites, but this time, I came to the reading table late. I don’t know why, or how I skipped this step, but I think I got in a hurry. I forgot there were books out there for me to read on the subject! Read for research before starting the novel. And read for research constantly. In other words, bump up my non fiction reading.

Non fiction opens us up the real word in a way we cannon glean from news reports or short web page blasts of how this thing works or that thing goes.

When writing the Nashvegas books, I read several non-fiction works about how the Nashville music scene worked. While I’d done a bunch of research online about songwriting, it wasn’t until I read these books that I understood the details of songwriting.

It wasn’t until I stumbled across a book about Tom Petty book where I truly understood what “artist differences” with a record label meant.

When writing Dining with Joy, I read several memoirs, talked to a television producer as well as speaking with a chef. I thought I had the opening cook-off scene nailed but something was missing.
Finally, I talked to the chef. “Even the best chef will get nervous at a cook-off and make major mistakes.”

That one line made my scene, and Joy and Luke’s motivation, click. Now when Joy fudged cooking, Luke could legitimately think she was just plain nervous and jump up to help her. That worked way better than having him wonder what she was doing by juggling peaches instead of pureeing them.

So… if you’re stuck in your current WIP, here’s some thoughts to help.

  1. Maybe you’ve not done enough reading up front. Take a break, Google around, and find memoirs or non-fiction works that will give you details related to the theme of your book.

  2. You might not be emotionally connecting. So read more. While reading about Queen Elizabeth II, I found myself gaining more than details, I started feeling passion and affection for the Crown. I got a feel for what it must be like to be a descendant of Henry VIII and Queen Victoria. Head knowledge merged with heart understanding.

  3. You’ve underestimated your need for research. Don’t skip it. Every book, contemporary or historical, romance to thriller, needs research. For language, dialect, setting, mood, emotion, even small, unimaginable details that give a book texture.

  4. Invest in an e-reader so you can download instantly. Plus it keeps your house from overflowing with research books.

  5. Block off time when you’re not writing to read memoirs, non-fiction works along with your fiction.
Happy writing!!


Yet Another Tip On How to Write A Great Novel by Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)

Read for research before starting the novel.~ Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)

5 things to consider if you are stuck in your WIP by Rachel Hauck (Click to Tweet)


Tenley Roth’s first book was a runaway bestseller. Now that her second book is due, she’s locked in fear. Can she repeat her earlier success or is she a fraud who has run out of inspiration?

With pressure mounting from her publisher, Tenley is weighted with writer’s block. But when her estranged mother calls asking Tenley to help her through chemotherapy, she packs up for Florida where she meets handsome furniture designer Jonas Sullivan and discovers the story her heart’s been missing.

A century earlier, another woman wrote at the same desk with hopes and fears of her own. Born during the Gilded Age, Birdie Shehorn is the daughter of the old money Knickerbockers. Under the strict control of her mother, her every move is decided ahead of time, even whom she’ll marry. But Birdie has dreams she doesn’t know how to realize. She wants to tell stories, write novels, make an impact on the world. When she discovers her mother has taken extreme measures to manipulate her future, she must choose between submission and security or forging a brand new way all on her own.

Tenley and Birdie are from two very different worlds, but fate has bound them together in a way time cannot erase.

New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal best-selling, award-winning author Rachel Hauck loves a great story. She serves on the Executive Board for American Christian Fiction Writers. She is a past ACFW mentor of the year. A worship leader and Buckeye football fan, Rachel lives in Florida with her husband and ornery cat, Hepzibah. Read more about Rachel at


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