What it Takes to Finish Your Novel

Brad Chisholm
2 min readJun 22, 2020


We know you started one…

How? Just tell me how!?

It’s one thing to start a novel. All that takes is a bottle of Macallan and a little sheltering-in-place. It’s another thing to finish it. Having published two award winners, a third coming out in August and a fourth being polished, I will share a couple of tips to get you to the finish line.

Ego is not enough. Ambition is not enough, nor is avarice.

Having a degree in writing is not enough. Having an Excel file full of little notes (someone confessed to this recently, I was horrified) is not enough.

No one of these things, nor are all of them together are enough.

What you need to finish a novel is the burning fire of your story or the question inside you that needs to be answered. Within that story are characters and events that are real to you, and drive you to see what is going to happen.

I write to find out what is going to happen. Just like readers.

“You’re the writer! Don’t you know what’s coming?”

“Uh, no… sorry…”

Howard Hawks was shooting The Big Sleep when he decided to call Raymond Chandler to ask who killed the Sternwood’s chauffeur.

Chandler didn’t know.

But usually your characters know. You just have to get them to tell you, so that’s your next move — listen, and get them to tell you what happens next.

So go back and try again, and listen carefully.

Dash & Laila comes out August 20th. Brad Chisholm is also the author of K-Town Confidential and Kat & Maus. All are published by Black Rose Writing.



Brad Chisholm

Brad Chisholm’s novels include K-Town Confidential (2018), Kat & Maus (2018) and Dash & Laila (2020). He is published by Black Rose Writing.