Podcast: Mur Lafferty on Writing Novels and Top Tips for NaNoWriMo

There are some great authors online who are years ahead of me, who are achieving success and who also share their knowledge with other writers. Mur Lafferty is one of those people and I was thrilled to interview her during NaNoWriMo to get her tips on writing.

Mur Lafferty is an author, podcaster and freelance writer. Her first novel, ‘Playing for Keeps‘ won the 2008 Parsec Award for Best Novel and was subsequently published by Swarm Press. It reached #1 in Science Fiction on Amazon.com and is also available as a free podcast novel.

Mur has co-authored a book on podcasting, as well as writing role-playing games. She is currently working on the Heaven series of Podiobooks, as well as new projects and has also joined NaNoWriMo this month. On top of all this, Mur has a fantastic podcast for wannabe authorsI Should Be Writing“, which I highly recommend!

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • About Mur’s journey as a writer. From having her confidence knocked in college, to getting back into writing in her 30s, first as a freelancer and then as a novelist.
  • Thinking people are better than you is fair enough, but you don’t have to be a great literature writer to be an author. You can write what you love!
  • No one can do the work for you. No one will make sure you get your word count done. You have to do it yourself. If you keep doing something every day, you will get better at it. Mastery takes time!
  • The journey of a writer – it takes 10 years to make an overnight sensation. The authors who “suddenly” become famous have been slogging away in the background
  • You have to start… and then keep going. In writing and in podcasting. Stubborn-ness goes a long way!
  • Losing the fear of failure. It’s not a big deal. You just have to pick yourself up and do something else.
  • “It’s ok to suck” (click here for the link to Mur’s podcast on this topic). Your first draft is not supposed to be a masterpiece. You don’t step out of the door and run a marathon without training. You need to be in writing training too. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Don’t think about it too much. Just let yourself express yourself, and don’t worry about the outcome.
  • Mur’s top tips for novel writing in #NaNoWriMo!
  • 2 parts to your brain – the writing side and the editing side. Keep them separate. Express first and then edit. Do not obsess over that paragraph forever. Move on! (You can always get an editor).
  • Outlining even just a little bit can help – even basic 5 point plot outline. It keeps the writing a lot clearer. Organic writing is fine and can come up with plot twists but still an outline helps.
  • How ‘Playing for Keeps’ developed as a novella, then a novel and then into a potential sequel (which Mur is writing as her NaNoWriMo project). How ideas do come as you write, and how plot threads can reappear later in the novel – it’s an amazing process!
  • On drafting and how rewriting and editing is a HUGE part of writing a novel. It needs revision and editing. That’s part of the process! Don’t expect it to be perfect at first try.
  • How podcasting has got Mur the most attention from agents and publishers. Her journey has been unexpected (and wonderful) because of it. Has lost fear of public speaking through podcasting.
  • Podcasting is great for connection with people. Hearing your voice creates an intimate relationship with the listener. It builds an audience and they actually care about your success.
  • Get over your voice! (if you want to podcast!)
  • The Storytellers Unplugged post from Mur.  More people will give away free chapters and also dabble in podcasting. Embracing the internet as a new author is imperative, or you will be left in the dust.
  • Get over the piracy debate as well – successful people get pirated! On giving it away for free as a sales technique. The dandelion method via Cory Doctorow.
  • On writing humour as a novelist. Write what you find funny. Don’t try to write what you think others might find funny.

You can find Mur at Murverse.com and also on Twitter @mightymur .

Definitely go and subscribe to “I Should Be Writing” where Mur shares her own tips as a novelist and also interviews some very cool people!

You can download the transcription in PDF here => Transcription Mur Lafferty

Or you can read below, just click Show right => show

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  1. Kim Gonzales says

    Thanks for the tips. I just started writing my blog a couple of months ago and I’m having a blast. I am researching podcasting and hope to start that soon.

  2. says

    Great podcast. I really loved it. You two are like peas in a pod, you’re entertaining and funny. And if I may add you both have lovely voice. I’ve listen to her audio book “Playing for keeps” and it was quite addictive. I enjoyed her comment and tips about the NaNoWriMo contest. I’m undertaking the task myself this year(2012) and I’m so nervous and excited. And I will definitely allow myself to sucks. Because I know something good WILL come out of it.
    Again I love the website. It help me progress a lot as a writer so thank you.


  1. SF Tidbits for 11/6/09 …

    Interviews/ProfilesThe Agony Column interviews Kim Stanley Robinson (podcast).David Hartwell and Kathryn Cramer (podcast) (via SFWA)Jonathan Moeller interviews Dave Smeds.The Creative Penn interviews Mur Lafferty (podcast).Lark Neville interviews Amy G…

  2. […] Mur Lafferty – It’s ok to suck. After speaking with  Tom, I decided to do Nanowrimo in 2009 and get into some fiction. I’ve been listening to Mur’s I should be writing podcast for a while and asked her on to the show to discuss one of her mantras which is “it’s ok to suck”. Basically your first draft is going to be bad. This is also said by Anne Lamott in Bird by Bird “shitty first drafts”. IT’S OK! This released me from more fear and I wrote 20,000 words of crap during Nanowrimo BUT that turned into the seed idea for Pentecost which has now sold over 7500 copies and is still in the Amazon bestseller lists for Action-Adventure and Religious Fiction. I am now 20,000 words into Prophecy and I see myself as a fiction writer. This is a HUGE turnaround for me. HUGE. I mean my life has changed and I am thrilled and overjoyed to be here! Here’s the podcast with Mur Lafferty. […]

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