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Recipe for a Novel

November 27, 2020-Yesterday I visited my nephews and we made cupcakes for my niece (their cousin), Harper. Happy Birthday, Harper! We love you so much:)  We followed a recipe and added eggs, oil, water, mixed it all together and then put the batter into the oven. Making cupcakes is pretty much like writing a novel. Novels follow specific ingredients in order to bake a compelling story. Let’s check out the recipe for writing a captivating novel below:


3-4 Characters
1-2 Character flaw(s) each
A Single Narrative voice (usually first or third person)
1-2 Conflict(s)
A Dash of Romance (Optional)


Preheat your narrative to first or third person. When the narrative is set, mix the characters thoroughly with the character flaws. Whip the conflict until it peaks and add a dash of romance if you’d like. Bake until all conflict is resolved, let cool (falling action), put into a box, and wrap up with a bow (make sure all loose ends are tied up). You’re now ready to serve your story to your readers.

Follow the directions with the right ingredients, and your story will turn out perfectly every time! Happy Writing, XLLB

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What is Stormwriting? Do You Know?

September 5, 2018- We’ve all heard of brainstorming and I’m confident that as writer’s, we tend to do this to a fault. I say to a fault because of how much time we spend brainstorming instead of writing, which is really what we should be doing instead.

Brainstorming, as we know, is where you start with a blank piece of paper in front of you and you’re supposed to come up with new ideas. There’s a problem with the rigidity of this. We think that we’re just supposed to write down ideas, single words, and we are encouraged to think laterally.

What if I told you there was a better way? Enter Stormwriting! Here’s how to do it:

  1. Gather writing materials
  2. Find a cozy place
  3. Write down your idea at the top of the page
  4. Write down EVERYTHING that has to do with your idea.
  5. Use Yes and What if as your guiding questions.
  6. Keep writing, don’t edit! Just get it on paper.

Let’s do an example from one of my own novels set to launch next year:

My Name is Jessica Westlake (is the title so I put this at the top of the page)

  • Her name is Jessica Westlake, why is her name Jessica Westlake? Has this always been her name?
  • She is blonde with blue eyes, tall, trim, married, no children, having an affair with her neighbour
  • Her husband is a high profile lawyer, he cheats on Jessica with the mistress that works for him
  • They are rich in money but poor in morals
  • They have a big house, a maid, and nice cars
  • Jessica grew up poor, her parents were horrible and they did things to her that are inexplicable
  • They live in Boston in a very expensive neighbourhood
  • Her husband is abusive and treats her like garbage
  • What if the husband catches Jessica and the neighbour? What if he seeks vengeance for what they’ve done?
  • What if things were more complicated? What if the neighbour was also cheating with the husband?

See what I mean? It’s pretty easy to go down the rabbit hole on this exercise, isn’t it?

Also, this contains ZERO  spoilers for my next novel:) I wouldn’t ruin it for you! Now get stormwriting!