In this post, I’m following up on the first entry and giving you the last 10 steps in my 20-step process to writing a book you can be proud of.

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Writing a book is hard work – it’s easier to quit than finish. When you become overwhelmed by the sheer scope of the task, you might be tempted to give up. The key is to follow a proven, straightforward plan.

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One way to create a memorable story is to take a minute to let your characters breathe. Build a scene where you exit the narrative structure and allow your readers to bond with the characters.

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"You don't give up writing," says Warren Adler. "If you're a true artist, this is your artistry. Keep writing, keep reading, and stay curious. When in doubt, write on."

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Discussions about structure tend to offer formulas, though formulas often lead to formulaic stories. But an understanding of narrative structure is important: you have to know the rules before you break them.

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Two of the classic story shapes are "the fall" or "the rise." In these story arcs, the main character climbs to a peak of happiness, falls from one, or does a round-trip for maximum emotional impact.

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You can be the sweetest person possible in real life, but if you want to write great fiction, you need to be the opposite. You must be the cruel overlord of your story.

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