Here, some of the most successful writers in recent (and not-so-recent) memory share their take on everything from how they get ideas (or go find them), to the best way to start a manuscript (or why the only important thing is that you start at all), to their most methodical writing habits (and quirkiest rituals), to writing with the readers in mind (or ignoring them entirely).
After you read Nancy Ellen Dodd’s piece on all the key essentials of a novel, print off her blank story map worksheet to chart your own course through your book.
Jor-El. Jondalar. Modir-Rettr. What makes for a solid sci-fi character’s name? Get genre-specific tips and tricks from novelist Elizabeth Sims.
For fascinating details on how Outlander series author Diana Gabaldon writes scenes and constructs her stories, check out these exclusive outtakes from the January 2012 cover story.