“Fellow”, as in I’ve done it before, five times, and I know what you’re feeling.

I won’t be doing it this year. Final edits of book 9 will have me flat out and I need to finish plotting book 10 before I start writing that one, (plus there’s this screenplay I’m trying to sell) but I am with you all in spirit(s).

So, some very last minute tips. (If you’re in Sydney, you may have already started. Huzzah!)

1. HAVE FUCKING FUN. This is not an assignment. You’re not going to get marked. Meet fellow writers, share notes and enjoy yourself. This may seem counter-intuitive for those of you who found it difficult in the past to grind out a 5,000 word essay, but it’s not an essay.

2. SPELLING DOESN’T COUNT. Not yet, anyway. Embrace the red wiggly lines. Fix them in December. Or January. A novel is, typically, longer than 50,000 words (unless you’re in the YA territory, then that’s a bit too long), so you’ll probably be writing into December to finish it, Ignore spelling, grammar and awkward phrases. You’ll sort them out AFTER you finish your first draft. Remember:



3. DON’T SWEAT THE COUNT. The objective of Nanowrimo isn’t really to write 50,000 words. Hell, it would be great if you did. But if you write more words in November than in any other month of writing, you will have wonSeriously. Not a patronising bullshit statement. For real.

4. THAT SAID, DO THE MATH. 1,667 words a day and you’ll meet your count. Didn’t make the count one day? Don’t beat yourself up. Make the numbers up over the next couple of days. Your friendly ML’s will be nudging you along the way, so you should have a pretty good idea of your count situation. Just don’t freak out over it.

5. FINISH IT. You probably won’t finish the full story in November. A few freaks do, but they write 4,000 words a day and aren’t human. S.H.I.E.L.D. is tracking them. Don’t let them throw you off. But, come December, ice your fingers and keep at it until you’ve finished your first draft. FINISH it. Have a conclusion. Be able to produce something you can be proud of. I can’t emphasise this enough. Finish. It. Then discover the joy of editing.

So enjoy yourselves. I’ll probably join you next year.

I’m extremely pleased to announce that my ninth book, and the third in the “Matt Daly Adventures” series, is available for preorder from iBooks, kobo and nook, with more added daily.


If you preorder today (or, really, any time before December 15th), the most you will pay is $0.99 (may vary slightly based on market pricing). After the launch date, the price will rise to $3.99.

Stop by the book page here, read the description, and drop a buck on another exciting international thriller.

Many thanks for all of your support to date.



The three act structure has been around since Aristotle, and it’s a fairly well accepted fact that a story that doesn’t follow any one of the many versions of three-act structure is a poorly written story.

This applies to movies, plays or novels. Ya gotta have the three acts. I’m not going to belabour it too much. That’s what this page is for.

What I would like to talk about is a new way of looking at the three acts. New for me, anyway.

It’s called the “mini movie” method. The story is broken into eight (roughly) equal length movies, each with their own purpose. I know. Some of you are saying “Eight? I just got used to three and now you’re pushing eight?”

There’s still three acts. And the eight mini movies fit into that three act structure quite well.


And as always, not only does each mini movie need to have a purpose, each scene needs to have a purpose. If the scene doesn’t have a purpose, erase it. It will slow down the story and piss off your reader.

A great number of you have probably stop reading by this point. “Formulaic” you say. “Write-by-numbers”. “Not Original.”

Well, I respectfully disagree. The graphic above isn’t a story. It’s a framework for a story. It removes originality in exactly the same way blueprints remove originality from a house. (It is also a framework for character development.)

Build a house without blueprints and it’ll be a mess.

Write a story without blueprints and nobody will want to read it.

Next book you read, or movie you watch, see if you can pick out these elements. They’re there.

I’m stuck. My edit window (the one I’m currently using) is the older version. Looks like this:

I clicked something, somewhere, to get this abomination. What I used to have was this:
Can anybody tell me what I need to do to get back to the edit window I used to have?


I have dropped the price of all 8 of my ebooks to $0.99 on Amazon.com and Smashwords.com, and that price will filter through to iBooks, kobo, nook, etc. over the next few days.

They’ll stay that low until November 15th.

And on November 15th I’ll have another surprise.

Please pass it on. Here’s a couple of links to my libraries:

Amazon | Smashwords

And many thanks for your continued support!

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