Essential Guide to Writing a Novel

How To #23

Hosted by James Thayer, the podcast is a practical, step-by-step manual on how to craft a novel. It presents a set of tools for large issues such as story development and scene construction (Kirkus Reviews said Thayer's novels are "superbly crafted') and it also examines techniques that will make your sentence-by-sentence writing shine. The New York Times Book Review has said Thayer's "writing is smooth and clear. it wastes no words, and it has a rhythm only confident stylists achieve.

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Recent Reviews
  • Latinaspop
    What I was looking for
    As an emerging writer I have been searching for some time a podcast or workshops that teach you from beginning to end the basics of writing a book. They either were brief or all over the place with the material presented. It helps that Jim Thayer is a published author and a professor. His instruction is good and I have learned good tips from the first few episodes alone.
  • Scrs
    Finally, a great writing resource!
    As a published author with lots of books to my credit, it’s hard to find a podcast focusing on craft. Especially hosted by a host with wit and great examples. The lessons are short enough to binge. And each episode uses classic great novels instead of obscure nitsch-y genre novels. Too many podcasts out there focus on how to get published or start writing but this focuses on the nuts and bolts of making your writing sing. Thanks!
  • Razoon
    Hilarious and informative
    This podcast is a recent discovery for me and I’m binging on it. I love it! The speaker has some really hilarious comments here and there and I think it’s really funny when he seems tickled himself 🤣🤣🤣 Aside from the wit and funniness, he makes some amazing suggestions about improving your novel. Loving it!
  • Smith heart echo
    Highly relevant for novel writers
    Outstanding concise episodes to put to use immediately.
  • InLoveeeewithHim
    Great Information
    I have learned something useful in every single episode I’ve listened to. Jim Thayer offers practical advice for writers, along with easy to understand examples of the concepts he discusses. I have learned so much from listening in, and I find this podcast to be extremely helpful and informative.
  • StevenMiletto
    Awesome show!
    I started listening at the beginning of February and now I am getting caught up. I’m hooked. Can’t get enough as each episode is filled with awesome stories, thoughts, and lessons. Thank you!!!
  • A Random Writer
    I Use Each Episode As A Writing Sprint
    Sure, I may have just started this podcast, but I already love it. I’ve been using each episode of this so far as a writing sprint with a five minute break between each episode of the podcast. It’s been helping already, and it’s a good break from writing with music.
  • Mountainlands06
    This podcast plays like a pro writing book you should be paying big money for. Episodes are short and to the point and full of little gems.
  • chrisgregory
    Writer’s treasure
    I have written stuff my whole life, and Jim Thayer has moved my knowledge further and faster than anything else I have done to hone the craft. What a wonderful podcast.
  • Beanepie
    I’ve only recently started writing and knew next to nothing of the technical prior to listening to this podcast. I now know a whole lot more and am beyond excited to put this new knowledge to use. As an aside, Mr. Thayer is lovely to listen to. He has a calm, relaxed, joy about him I find contagious.
  • Tony from L.A.
    Very Motivating Approach to Writing
    Jim Thayer has a gentle and humorous voice that I find very comforting. You can tell he's genuinely excited about sharing what he knows. I strongly recommend this podcast as the perfect entry point to writing your first novel.
  • Vera_333
    Best podcast on writing!
    James Thayer is not only a good novelist but a terrific teacher. His segment are well thought out with excellent examples. Not only that but Mr. Thayer is generous not only to his audience but to fellow writers that he admires. He spends more time plugging other writer’s books than his own. He’s generous and self effacing. Thank you! Vera
  • betarj
    Excellent resource for new writers!
    Great information resource for new writers. Really appreciate the multiple examples for techniques and principles of creating a great novel.
  • Angelina J. R.
    Superior podcast on writing!!
    I adore everything about this podcast, from Jim’s voice to the advice it shares. In just the few weeks of listening my writing has improved significantly. I’ll listen then re-listen to each episode at least three times to ensure I absorb it all. The only thing I don’t like is there aren’t hundreds of episodes for me to binge all day long. Thank you for making this show, Jim!
  • Basiafabian
    Great podcast
    Just one thing- something’s it sounds like the speaker is eating, the audible swallowing and even occasional silent belching is very distracting, e.g, in the Dialogue episode. Please edit it out! The content is so good but I don’t want to hear mouth noises. Sorry.
  • laurenWynns
    Fun & Constructive
    This podcast is digestible, easy listening. James is a competent and constructive teacher. Thank you!
  • JKHum
    An invaluable educational tool
    I appreciate Mr. Thayer’s teaching style and look forward to these lessons each week. His specific examples of good and bad writing are invaluable to aspiring writers. His wisdom and words of encouragement are appreciated and I particularly treasure the stories he shares about other authors. I discovered this podcast while out of town at a work conference and ended up ditching two days of class to binge listen to it. Highly recommend.
  • JessecaAmmon
    Great learning tool
    It’s nice to see I am doing some things “write” and learning new things to help reach my goal one day.
  • princessjade09
    Excellent content
    This is one of the best writing podcasts that I’ve come across. The short length makes the topics easy to digest and perfect to listen to on a walk or running an errand. Looking forward to more episodes!
  • nurself23**
    So helpful
    Love these podcasts. Has helped me so much! Love that they are shorter and to the point!
  • Penguin209
    Extremely Helpfull
    I’ve listened to other writing podcasts that only succeeded in confusing me and draining my creative energy. This podcast is easy to understand and I appreciate hearing examples of what is being discussed.
    Great writing podcast!
    Helpful information and fun to listen to!
  • Humanfactor-Cambridge
    A great coach…
    I greatly appreciate James Thayer's efforts in making us all better writers. James has a solid background in writing and teaching. He has published many books, which alone doesn't necessarily mean a person is a good teacher. But James is a good teacher. Through his series of Podcasts, he coaches new/old writers in the many foundational areas they need to pay attention to for writing well. These are the "Basics". They are crucial to supporting a good story and a good reader experience. Before I write my next book, I will listen again to his Podcasts as it encourages good writer hygiene.
  • rhinocwriter
    Thank you!
    Very helpful information. Just discovered the podcast and cannot wait to hear them all! Thank you for providing this information to help beginning writers like me.
  • heyshlay
    Loving it
    Thank you!!!!!
  • Smkai
    This podcast espouses some of the worst writing advice I’ve ever heard. Like, comically bad. In the literary world according to Jim Thayer, only genre fiction is worthwhile—literary fiction and realism are apparently “too boring,” and the art and sweat of writing exists solely to “entertain readers.” As with all advice, please take whatever is useful to you, but for the love of Pete, don’t follow this advice as gospel. The world will certainly be poorer if you do.
  • whchaseiv
    Great Podcast for Storytelling
    If you’re looking to get a little inspiration, some instruction, and lots of examples of good writing, this is an excellent podcast. Jim Thayer clearly understands novel writing and storytelling, and shares some excellent advice from his own experiences and those of other writers. Great info and bonus, his voice is very comforting.
  • help? anyone?
    Must Listen for Writers!
    Essential is an understatement! Jim Thayer delivers a roadmap for the new writer and seasoned writers who want to polish their skills. There are hidden gems and advice in each episode that elevate my writing. Being a seasoned published author, Jim delivers relevant content that provides a mentors voice to writers. Jim gives me a path to writing a successful novel. Thank you!
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