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The Busy Writer series of how-to books was created with one main idea in mind: we’re all busy, and we want to know how to do things in the simplest, quickest way possible! You’ll find the most important information you need laid out concisely so you can take action steps immediately to get your writing life organized and get your story published! (Well, let’s hope it’s more than one story…) Links have been included to extra articles and information online, so when you’re ready to dig deeper, the information is there! Take a look at the blog posts on this site to help you on your writing journey.

 The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot

You will have a better chance of writing your book quickly and easily if you know what your characters want, you know why they want it, and you know how they plan to get it.

That’s where the Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot comes in. It shows you how to sit down with a timer and a handful of index cards, and work out a solid framework for your story… in just 60 minutes.

You will discover:

  • How to prime the pump (so the ideas flow during that 60 minutes)
  • How to tweak your plot (you have the framework – now start fleshing it out)
  • How to use sub-plots
  • How to write a good ending
  • How to add a twist
  • Where to find further resources (because good writers are always thirsty for more knowledge!)

Everyone can spare an hour. At the end of it, armed with The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot, you could also have the beginnings of your own best-seller!

The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Character

Characters are the heart of your book. No matter how good your plot is, if you don’t fill the pages with vibrant, interesting characters, your book won’t reach its potential – and you won’t win hordes of raving fans.

The One-Hour Character system shows you how to come up with the Lead Character, other main characters, and a solid supporting cast in just sixty minutes. Team it with the One-Hour Plot, and you’ll have a plot and characters sorted out in less than the time it takes you to go out to dinner!

  • You’ll learn of six different sources for characters, and how to best use those sources – as well as a few others.
  • You’ll learn about the different character types that you’ll need: the Lead, the Antagonist, other main characters, a romantic interest (if applicable), sidekicks, confidants and walk-ons.
  • Step by step, you’ll be walked through the process of creating characters – but with a time limit, so you know that at the end of an hour, you will be ready to start directing your new cast!

The Busy Writer’s Book of Checklists

The humble checklist can save a writer hours of time and frustration. Armed with a checklist to test your initial story idea, you can ensure that you have enough conflict and tension and challenges to keep readers turning the pages. (That’s much better than getting halfway through writing it only to find that your lovely bright shiny idea won’t hold up!)

With a plotting checklist at your elbow, you can run through the list of ‘essentials’ to apply to your novel – like character motivation and plausibility and crisis points, to name just a few of the things you have to consider.

Altogether there are 23 super-useful checklists – and as a special bonus, writers who buy this book are eligible for a full set of printable checklists that they can use again and again!

The Busy Writer’s Kickstart Program

The Busy Writer’s KickStart Program gives you an 8-Step Plan to get your writing on track again – or to set you up for success from the very start, if you’re a beginner.

You can follow an 8-week plan, assigning one week to each step, or modify the KickStart Program to suit your way of life and your writing agenda.

You will learn:

  1. How to clear your life from physical, mental and emotional clutter
  2. How to treat your writing like a project, so you stay on track
  3. How to set yourself up for success by changing the way you look at time
  4. Typical roadblocks for writers and how to get past them
  5. The importance of feedback, support and rewards
  6. Strategies for improving your technique
  7. Insights into plotting and characters
  8. How to keep yourself heading along the road to success.


The Self-Editing Toolbox

The Busy Writer’s Self-Editing Toolbox

Editing a manuscript involves far more than doing a spelling and grammar check and fixing up a sentence here and there that doesn’t flow. You need to know (a) the common mistakes that authors make (so you can avoid them or fix them) and (b) all the things that can affect a reader’s opinion of your book.

Sure, you can pay an editor or proofreader to go through your book – but that can get expensive and you miss the opportunity to improve the plot and develop your characters.

“The Self-Editing Toolbox really is every writer’s essential guide to editing their book to submission standard: easy to follow, yet effective. The color-coding makes it so easy to sort the rough spots from the prose that glows. I still have some polishing to do but my test readers say they can’t wait for more chapters as my characters ‘live off the page.’ I love they’re so hooked by a story that I was struggling to finish and feared I couldn’t develop to its full potential. I so nearly gave up on this WIP. With The Self-Editing Toolbox you really have taken the hard graft out of writing.” [Viv Adams, Romance Writer]

Tips on Writing Mystery and Crime

The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing Mystery and Crime

A glance at any best-seller list will tell you how popular mystery, crime and thrillers are with readers. Most of you will find this perfectly understandable! There’s nothing like the thrill of the chase and the intellectual challenge of trying to guess ‘whodunit’ or ‘whydunit’ before the sleuth.

If you’re the writer, this presents you with a challenge. You have to juggle a lot of balls at once. You need to:

  • come up with an intriguing mystery (or an edge-of-the-seat thriller) that will keep readers up long past bedtime
  • keep your sleuth busy tracking down the perpetrator
  • weave in and bring to life other significant characters
  • leave a trail of not-too-obvious clues (trying to pull the wool over the reader’s eyes), and
  • walk in the shoes of the villain, ensuring that he is a worthy opponent.

Oh, and did I mention that you have to write tight scenes, build the suspense, create believable conflict, and choose the correct viewpoint as well? Not to mention the research…

Good thing, then, that this is all covered in The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing Mystery and Crime!

Tips on Writing Romance

The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing Romance

The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing Romance equips you with the knowledge and tools you need to get started quickly in this popular genre, as well as pointing you in the direction of further help when you need it.

In this book, you will find:

  • General tips on writing romance fiction
  • Tips on creating vivid, believable heroes and heroines
  • How to hook your reader
  • Where to start your story
  • Tips on creating emotional punch (all-important in any romance!)
  • What ‘show, don’t tell’ really means
  • Tips on conflict, pace and tension
  • Tips on creating a romantic setting
  • Tips on plotting a romance novel, with a Basic Plot Outline (“Add your own seasoning”!)
  • An overview of romance sub-genres
  • Sensuality versus sexuality
  • How to build sexual tension
  • Three handy checklists – Emotional Punch, First Chapter, Setting & SensualityThe Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing Romance will have you writing for this popular, evergreen genre within days!
Tips on Writing for Children

The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing for Children

Writing for children is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you can do. If you put your heart and soul into it, and focus on writing a good book that will appeal your target readership, you have a good chance of establishing a satisfying career.

But first… you need to have a good understanding of the basics: how to create a fast-paced plot that will hold the attention of your young readers, or how to write a picture book that will have small children spellbound with joy.

You need to know how to create vivid, memorable characters, and how to write dialogue that sounds real and moves your story along so that your readers can’t wait to turn the page.

The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing for Children gives you an overview of the different categories of children’s books, and shows you how to decide which one would be the ‘best fit’ for you.

The content includes:

  • 10 Tips on Writing for Children
  • An Overview of Children’s Book Categories
  • Writing Picture Books (including “10 Common Mistakes in Plotting Picture Books”, and tips on how to think in pictures, fine-tuning your text and pictures, and writing in rhyme)
  • Writing Stories for Children 6-12 (short books and chapter books for emergent readers; middle-range story books for 6-10 years and longer story books for 9-12 years)
  • Writing for Young Adults (including 3 important tips on writing YA fiction and ideas about what to write for this market)
  • Writing Non-Fiction for Children (including tips on finding non-fiction ideas and fine-tuning your ideas)
  • Tips on Plotting (including the basics of a workable children’s book and a handy plot outline)
  • Tips on Creating Characters (how to make your characters seem real; how to create a story from a character; where to find good story characters; a look at stereotyped characters and tips on how to introduce your characters)
  • Tips on Writing Dialogue (what you should include; how to set out dialogue; setting conversational goals; speech tags and action tags and a dialogue troubleshooter, with tips on fixing dialogue that doesn’t sound right)The book also tells you how to access to bonus plot and character sheets that you can download to your computer, print out and fill in to create your own special story.”Tips on Writing for Children” is another winner in the ‘Busy Writer’ series!


Tips on Writing for Children

WRITE A BOOK FAST – The Busy Writer’s Starter Pack

This collection brings together four of the most popular books in the Busy Writer Series:

  • The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot
  • The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Character
  • The Busy Writer’s Book of Checklists
  • The Busy Writer’s KickStart Program

Armed with this ‘Starter Pack’ for writers, you will be able to see your novel taking shape after just a few hours – and if you’re having trouble organizing your life to write, simply follow the eight easy steps in the Kickstart Program to get your novel underway!

WHAT OTHER WRITERS HAVE SAID about these four books:

The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Plot: “I have read many books about all aspects of writing during my writing years. None compare with this book – it’s a winner for sure. It is clear, concise and to the point.”

The Busy Writer’s One-Hour Character: “I followed Marg’s instructions and at the end of one strictly-timed hour, which she has divided into 7 segments, I had a cast of characters for my story. I was stoked!”

The Busy Writer’s Book of Checklists: “Four years ago a friend introduced me to the Plotting Checklist you see in this book. My friend is a professional book reviewer, and she’d stumbled across it on Marg McAlister’s website. We both thought it was marvelous… and instantly, we figured where we were heading wrong. I’ve been hoping for a fuller list of lists ever since. Wow. So here they all are.”

The Busy Writer’s Kickstart Program:It’s obvious that this author has been there. She has captured the essence of the busy writer’s life and offered inspiration, but also practical tips to guide you through those challenging times. This book will help you to clear your physical as well as mental workspace. Once your creativity is pushing through those barriers again, you will find practical advice on developing plots as well as three-dimensional and believable characters. This book is well organised for easy reference.”

If you’re ready to write your book, Write a Book Fast will get you on track.

Tips on Writing for Children

WRITE A BOOK NOW: The Busy Writer’s MegaPack

“I am a great fan of Marg McAlister’s work, and have been for over 10 years. Everything she writes is simple to understand, and it works if you work it!” Grace Lee Patrick

The Busy Writer’s MegaPack — Write a Book Now — was compiled in response to many readers who asked for the entire Busy Writer set in one comprehensive set of books. You’ll find a ton of information here to get you well on the way to publication.

To get a book written, you need to have these things in place:

  1. A step-by-step program to get you out of the gate and running: a take-no-prisoners Kickstart Program for writers.
  2. A sound knowledge of the genre in which you want to publish.
  3. Interesting, vibrant characters that readers will enjoy and want to get to know
  4. A well-paced plot that keeps the reader turning pages, eager to find out what happens next
  5. A comprehensive set of checklists to ensure that you’ve left nothing out: characters, plot, pacing, dialogue, and more

This boxed set provides you with the tools for every item on the list above, and a really good grounding for most other genres with the addition of The Busy Writer’s Tips on Writing for Children, Writing Romance, and Writing Crime & Mystery. If you think about it, most genres have some of those elements: characters are caught up in a romance or trying to solve some sort of mystery. Writing for children can encompass anything from simple picture books right through to young adult books.

With the Busy Writer’s MegaPack by your side, you’ll be up and running in no time!