Experiencing A Novel Writing Intensive.

Novel writing intensives
are great ways to
build yourself as a writer

I recently got back from a novel writing intensive with acclaimed authors Steven James and Robert Dugoni. It was amazing.

Me, Robert Dugoni, Pam Johnson (Steven’s assistant & editor) and Steven James

The intensive was held on Whidbey Island in Washington, which was a beautiful place for a writer’s imagination to go wild. Or as Anne of Green Gables would say, “So much scope for the imagination.” I love quoting her. 

© Devin Berglund
© Devin Berglund

I learned so much!

The intensive was definitely intense… but, why would they name it an intensive if it wasn’t going to be intense? Continue reading “Experiencing A Novel Writing Intensive.”

How To Prepare For A Novel Writing Intensive



Next week I will be headed to Washington for a Novel Writing Intensive. I am totally excited about this, so I thought I would tell you all what I am planning on packing.

Have you ever gone to a writing retreat or intensive? Have you ever wondered what you should pack? Or do, to prepare for it? If so, read on.

1. Do Your Writing Homework

• Read the speaker’s blogs, books, and more.

• Take notes.

• Implement what you’ve learned into your own writing.

2. The Essentials

• Make sure you book your accommodations and transportation ahead of time.

• Also, print the booking papers ahead of time. (such as: tickets, accommodation bookings, play bookings, ect.) Continue reading “How To Prepare For A Novel Writing Intensive”

Editing with Steven James

Steven James, Editing, Writing, Devin Berglund1. What is your editing style like?

Old school. I print out the book I’m working on and then make changes by hand, type those in, then go at it again. I find that when I edit on the computer screen, I just don’t catch as much and my prose becomes bloviated. I do some free writing on my keyboard, but all of my editing has to be done by hand or my story suffers.

2. While on a deadline, how do you stay on top of your edits?

Well, over the last decade I can’t think of a time when I haven’t been under a deadline, so I suppose this is an easy question to answer—I work as hard as I can and try not to sweat it. I have a sign in my office that says, “Focus on progress not deadlines.” And I suppose that’s my philosophy—keep plugging forward and don’t let stress interfere with the story.

3. About how many chapters do you aim to finish in a day?

I typically don’t go by word count or chapter length, rather, I time myself and shoot for a certain number of hours. (The goal each day varies on my other obligations and where I’m at in the project, but it’s usually 5-8 hours.) I actually have a stopwatch and when I get up to get a cup of coffee I stop the clock and only let it run when I’m actually working on my manuscript. In addition to this writing and editing, I work in my other obligations (like answering blog questions, email, interviews, etc…). I write most days

4. How long (week wise) do you edit for?

This isn’t meant to be a smart-ass answer, but until the book is done. When I can’t improve a book anymore, then it’s done, then I’m through editing. If I can improve it then I make the necessary changes. Most of my books take me between six and eighteen months writing full-time, depending on how long they are.

Check out Steven James books on his website, follow him on FB, and read his blog.

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Ditch the Gimmicks & Tell the Story

I would like to give a big warm welcome to my friend and fellow writer, Steven James. Hope you enjoy his words of wisdom. 🙂

In fiction, story matters more than anything else.

Yet, all too often, authors forget this and in their zeal to impress readers or wow editors, they end up peppering their writing with distracting gimmicks that undermine the story.

Never let anything get between your story and your readers. Here are six ways to remove some of the most common stumbling blocks:

Continue reading “Ditch the Gimmicks & Tell the Story”