Nailing Your Novel With Roz Morris

Writer and editor Roz Morris discusses writing and how to improve your novel. In the intro, I talk about the launch of Pentecost and also the mixed blessing of having a day job.

Roz Morris has written 11 novels as a ghostwriter, including 8 bestsellers, and also writes under her own name. At her site, Nail Your, Roz helps writers nail their novels as a freelance editor and also with helpful posts on the craft.

In this podcast, you will learn:

  • How it feels to be a ghostwriter. All the positives of writing without the pain of marketing but Roz is branching out under her own name now. How she got started with her writing and began ghostwriting successfully. Roz’s own books are like Iain Banks in the early days, like The Crow Road or The Bridge.
  • Roz’s ghostwritten books have had sales of over 500,000 books and gives us some tips on writing bestsellers. Strictly defined genre that is already bestselling. No arty crossovers if you want big sales. Read a lot in the genre and make sure you give the readers what they are expecting but with a fresh edge. Hit all the points that a reader expects but spin it in your unique way. Make sure you get a good publicity package if you are traditionally published as bestsellers have promotion behind them.
  • Bestseller genres would include thriller, chick lit, fantasy, YA vampire and there are sub-categories e.g. cozy mysteries which I discussed with Elizabeth Craig. Other genres like steampunk have their own culture.
  • On formulaic writing vs creativity. You need to know the rules of your genre so you can create within these boundaries. (My example was James Rollins whose books I used as a framework)
  • Tips for writing your second novel. You know the basics now so it is about expanding on this. You can understand your method of writing better and how to fit the writing into your day. How to analyze and improve work without getting depressed. You’ll also need to write more quickly as most second books are due in one year so you need to be more organized. On writing at the same time as well as promoting the last book and keeping people’s attention on the books over time.
  • How to use the beat sheet to organize and improve your novel’s structure. Click here to find more info. Each scene is summarized as it is and also how it should be. This helps with rewriting the book to where it should be. Roz also uses emoticons to judge how the scenes should be affecting the reader and this gives an idea of pacing. It’s basically an overview of how the book holds together.
  • On how much of ourselves we put into novels. The writer as participant vs the characters in the book and where the line is drawn. How we have to take it further than real life to make a novel interesting but that doesn’t mean we are sociopaths! Ian Fleming “I am neither as brave or accomplished as Mr Bond. I’m just the writer.”
  • How Nail Your Novel can help people draft, fix and finish novels with confidence. It’s a method for writing a book and making the structure work.

You can find Roz Morris at and on twitter @dirtywhitecandy

Click here for more on Roz’s book for writers “Nail Your Novel”

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  1. says

    Great interview! Just found Roz Morris through Victoria Mixon’s site. They’re hilarious (and brilliant).

    I’m also finding your story so inspiring, since it’s similar to mine. Quit my day job 4-5 years ago and found I couldn’t write either. Now, with a night job, I feel much more structured, plus I’m not fretting about money and still have plenty of time to write!

    Looking forward to the launch on Monday!

  2. says

    Thank you. Fascinating, and lots of things to think about. I’m getting back into writing after a five year break when we moved abroad and started a new life. Getting lots of inspiration from you, thanks so much!

  3. says

    I appreciate the mention of the beat sheet. I’ve started hundreds of stories only to lose track of where I am and where I want to be. I never had a method to keep track of the structure and purpose of each scene, so my stories tend to fizzle out and die before their time. Great post!


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