How To Write A Novel From Beginning To End Part 1

This is the kind of video our novel writing friends have been craving!

More to come at Tom Leveen’s YouTube Channel

Tom Leveen freebies

What does a theater company do when it can’t make theater? Make a film.

If there ever was a time that demanded that we put our actions where our mouths were and do what we do best, this is it. Here’s a fine example of truly positive thinking.


by Peter Marks

The idea struck Molly Smith, Arena Stage’s artistic director, on a morning of the pandemic when she was reading the newspaper and reflecting on what a theater company might make when it can’t make theater:

Capture the moment, in the manner of a news crew.

“Newspapers do really well with thumbnail sketches, and I thought, ‘Why aren’t we doing this?,’ ” she recalled. “What if we interviewed 10 diverse people in one day, with really good writers. A real snapshot in time. A love letter to this area. Something to say: ‘This happened here.’ ”And so, a renowned theater company has taken a novel turn — into moviemaking.

In short order, Arena found 10 actors, 10 playwrights and 10 ordinary people from in and around Washington — among them, a nurse on a covid-19 ward; a high school senior; a pharmacist; a police detective; a climate change activist. On a single day — May 22 — each writer contacted their subject, spent two or three hours in conversation, and then set about the task of turning their words into five-minute monologues. All of which, too, would be filmed on a single day.

The result is titled, crisply and dramatically, “May 22, 2020.” It debuts online Friday for those who have signed up for Arena Stage’s Supper Club — a dine-and-watch experience — and then it will be available free to the general public beginning Saturday on Arena’s website, arenastage.org, for the immediate future. The project includes such accomplished actors as Holly Twyford, KenYatta Rogers, Edward Gero, Rachel Zampelli, Dawn Ursula and Nancy Robinette. They were hired to recite speeches by such writers as Psalmayene 24, Karen Zacarias, Caleen Sinnette Jennings, John Strand and Annalisa Dias. It is all meant to evoke the style of Studs Terkel, the Chicago journalist who in his book “Working,” and other works, catalogued the verbatim accounts of average Americans….

There will be a time after this when…

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants is here with some thoughts about how those of us who write for print media – especially books – can make a difference in these chaotic times.


by Nathan Bransford

This week! Books! Also justice!

We’ve had an incredibly distressing week in America, and I know a lot of people are wondering how to get involved and support this movement to end systemic injustice and brutality.

There are tons of exhaustive resources out there, from bail funds to proposals for reform to call scripts for contacting local representatives.

I’m going to focus on the book world. This is by no means an exhaustive list and please feel free to add your own suggestions. But here are some things you can do.

You can buy from this list of Black-owned independent bookstores.

You can donate to We Need Diverse Books, an organization dedicated to ensuring all kids can see themselves in print.

You can give these appalling statistics a long, hard look and do whatever you can to pressure book publishers to stop paying lip service to diversity:

You can read this essay and reflect on how Black authors have continuously been forced to engage with white expectations for how Blackness is portrayed and contend with the immense pressure of the white gaze.

You can read about how Celeste Ng and Shea and Larami Serrano and others are taking diversity in publishing into their own hands and think about how you can do something similar.

And you can SUPPORT BLACK AUTHORS….

Read it all at nathanbransford.com


Need help with your book? Nathan is available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out Nathan’s guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and his guide to publishing a book.

And if you like this post: subscribe to Nathan’s newsletter!

There will be a time after this when…

Nathan Bransford, one of TVWriter™’s favorite writers and writing consultants is here with some thoughts about the fear many (all?) of us are living with right now.


by Nathan Bransford

One of the things I’ve noticed lately is that amidst the pandemic I’ve started worrying a ton about very small things.

Tiny intricacies of my business. Whether I should have used this or that word in an email. Whether I took too long to respond to a text.

I have plenty of big things to worry about! But for some reason these little nuisances are the things that keep me up at night.

It’s almost like my brain is grasping to find things to worry about that are actually within my control. All of my stress about the gigantic stuff that’s out of my hands is being dumped onto things that really don’t merit the weight.

On the one hand, this is a recipe for feeling super crazy. I know these aren’t things I would be worrying about in a more normal time and that disconnect can be maddening.

On the other hand… it’s actually kind of useful. It’s motivating me to make changes that will hopefully improve my business and make me a better person.

Fears can be useful

One of the things I learned when I was writing the Jacob Wonderbar series was that fear can be a really useful tool….

Read it all at nathanbransford.com


Need help with your book? Nathan is available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!

For my best advice, check out Nathan’s guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and his guide to publishing a book.

And if you like this post: subscribe to Nathan’s newsletter!

Grant Snider Asks, “What Sound Is Morning?”

Last week we talked about cartoonist/philosopher Grant Snider’s new book I Will Judge You By Your Bookshelf. Today we’re telling you to run out and buy another of his hot new creations. Check it out.


by Grant Snider

My next picture book is out soon from Chronicle Books! It’s a brightly illustrated poem of morning sounds and a reminder to slow down and LISTEN. One sound I’ve noticed lately is birds singing at sunrise. They seem louder without the usual commuter traffic. It’s a small joy in a difficult time.

WHAT SOUND IS MORNING? will be published on May 12. You can pre-order it now wherever you get your books, and signed copies are available from my local bookstore, Watermark. It’s a perfect companion to my first children’s book, WHAT COLOR IS NIGHT?

See the sensitive and wise excellence of Grant Snider at Incidental Comics!