1. Find somewhere you can be alone. Go to the library, take a pad and pen, get a cup of coffee and brainstorm your plot. Don’t worry about punctuation, grammar or style. Get the story on paper.
2. Don’t set impossible goals. If the story clicks it will tell itself; if you’re struggling with the plot it may be that you haven’t done the background work to know what the story is. Sometimes you have to struggle to get to the point where it “clicks.”
3. Read what’s being published (but keep in mind that books you are reading were written at least a year before. You need a balance between being so aggressively individual that you’re completely out of touch with what may reach people and staying a step behind by looking only at what’s currently out.
4. Watch movies and try to discern the plotting techniques. Here’s the Carolyn Greene plotting method that I use: Opening scene—real world. Inciting incident: call to adventure. Lead up to first turning point: roughly in chapters 2-3. Then major turning plot or turning point—chapter 3-4. Tightening the screws: 5-6. Halfway: The big ordeal; or the point of no return. Pinch #2: the downward arc of relationship, 7-8. Then second major plot or turning point—what inevitably leads to the crisis. Crisis/dark moment, difficult choice; rock bottom. This happens around Chapter 9. Then climax of main conflicts—the death-and rebirth ordeal. Final scene.
5. Here’s the breakdown for book lengths:
Novella; 20-25,000 words, 80-100 pages, ten to twelve chapters. Short Contemporary: 50-60,000 words. 200-240 pages, 18-20 chapters. Long Contemporary: 70-80,000 word, 280-320 pages, 18-20 chapters. Short Historical/Mainstream: 90-100,000 words, 360-400 pages, 18-20 chapters. Long Historical/Mainstream: 108-120,000 words, 432-480 pages. 18-20 chapters.
6. Invest in a "Writer’s Market." Study it.
7. Write 1 page a day, 5 days a week, for 42 weeks and you will have a short (210 page) book in a year.
8. Don’t be a slave to your writing. Being a workaholic will lead to burn out quickly. Let God lead with your stories, you type.
9. If you’re a full time writer, don’t neglect your personal life. Do something fun and relaxing at least three times a week. Be with non-writer friends. Learn to recharge, to allow your creativity to rest and refresh. Spend time with God asking what stories He wants you to write, and ask Him to open your eyes to others’ quandaries.
10. Enjoy your craft. Realize that you’ve been given a unique gift; protect and preserve that gift.