Your backstage pass to the world’s most prolific authors

JD Barker
Christine Daigle
Kevin Tumlinson
Jena Brown

What does it take to succeed as a writer? Join hosts J.D. Barker, Christine Daigle, Kevin Tumlinson and Jena Brown as they pull back the curtain and gain rare insight from the household names found on bookshelves worldwide.

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Rethinking the Writing Process with Robert Dugoni

Bestselling author Robert Dugoni has no problem veering from the beaten path when it comes to the writing process. From writing important scenes out of order to drafting a 400-word outline, he’s shown that authors can be efficient and successful while writing in the way most comfortable to them. Robert is well known for his thrilling storytelling of detective work and espionage, including his critically acclaimed Tracy Crosswhite series. His latest publication, In Her Tracks, is available tomorrow.


Robert Dugoni is the critically acclaimed New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and #1 Amazon bestselling author of the Tracy Crosswhite police detective series set in Seattle, which has sold more than 7 million books worldwide. He is also the author of The Charles Jenkins espionage series, and the David Sloane legal thriller series.

Whether you’re traditionally published or indie, writing a good book is only the first step in becoming a successful author. The days of just turning a manuscript into your editor and walking away are gone. If you want to succeed in today’s publishing world, you need to understand every aspect of the business – editing, formatting, marketing, contracts. It all starts with a good book, then the real work begins.

Join international bestselling author J.D. Barker and indie powerhouses, J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon, as they gain unique insight and valuable advice from the most prolific and accomplished authors in the business.

In this episode, you’ll discover:

  • How Robert takes inspiration from his son
  • Why your first draft is really your outline
  • The importance of exercise for creativity
  • A cool way to avoid writer’s block
  • Why to write what you want to read


J. D. Barker –

J. Thorn –

Zach Bohannon –

Robert Dugoni –

In Her Tracks

Story Rubric –  

Nonfic Rubric –  

The Career Author Summit 2021 – 

Proudly sponsored by Kobo Writing Life –

Music by Nicorus – 

Voice Over by Rick Ganley – and recorded at Mill Pond Studio –

Contact – 

*Full disclosure: Some of the links are affiliate links.


  1. Christopher Wills

    3 years ago  

    Interesting show today. Loved the interview as Robert’s writing method is familiar. No outline, maybe a summary paragraph, and an ending. My goal is to get to the end of draft A and I don’t let anything stop me. I add editing or layering’ notes as I write. To me, writing from an outline is too much like doing school homework. I use a structure after I have written draft A to strengthen my story.
    My advice, similar to Robert’s advice, is spend time every day trying to improve one’s ability to write better sentences and paragraphs. These are the building blocks of great novels.
    One thing I am trying, is typing out a quality book of the style I would like to write – I am currently typing ‘Rebecca’. Next I will type ‘A Discovery of Witches’. Each will take me six months. By typing I get much closer to the writing and the writer, and I see and learn a lot that I miss when I read.
    Another skill worth learning is rhetoric, also called literary devices. I recommend 3 books;
    ‘The Elements of Eloquence’ by Mark Forsyth (one of my favourite books);
    ‘Literary Devices’ by Amy Jones – similar to above but small and easy to carry around.
    ‘Rhetoric’ by Arvatu & Aberdein – another small book in the same series as Jones’ book.
    An example of what one might learn (from ‘Rhetoric’) is; ‘Clouded, this boy’s future is,’ (Yoda) is Hyperbaton or Anastrophe. It has been used by Aristotle, Shakespeare and Dickens; so not plagiarism if I copied the style, as a writer once told me, before I knew better.
    There are many other writing skills to learn.
    Some writers believe they improve their writing skills by writing every day. Yes but only up to a point. If one was to strum three chords on a guitar every day one would only improve one’s ability to strum those three chords; one would never become a lead guitarist.
    To improve writing skills I think one needs to make a conscious effort to learn what is good writing and learn from it and this means applying oneself to the learning, which can be tedious and can be difficult but there are no easy routes.
    Great show. Any thoughts or advice from any of you?

    1. J. Thorn

      3 years ago  

      I totally agree with your thoughts on practicing how to write a good sentence and paragraph. Nothing else matters if you can’t communicate on a basic level.

      ‘The Elements of Eloquence’ by Mark Forsyth! It must have been you who told me about this book. I love it. Currently on my 3rd read, cover to cover.

      In my experience, learning from someone who is where I want to be is priceless and a great way to become better at anything.

      1. Christopher Wills

        3 years ago  

        The two other books are useful too as they are similar in content but physically smaller so ideal to carry around if you might be sitting in a car waiting for someone, or travelling on a train or bus.

    2. J.D. Barker

      3 years ago  

      This is an exercise I use with some of my mentoring students, you may want to give it a shot since you’re already retyping books (which I agree, is very helpful). Re-type the first half of a book, one you don’t know, then close the cover and write the second half. Build on the existing story. You’ll obviously come up with a very different 2nd half than the original. If it’s good, you can then go back and write an original 1st half, pair them up, change character names and other details, and you’ve got an original work.

      1. Christopher Wills

        3 years ago  

        That sounds like a great idea. It may be difficult to do with my current typing of ‘Rebecca’ because I know the story well as I’ve read it and seen two different film versions recently. Typing a book has made me think of ideas and one I have come up with is essentially ‘Rebecca’ meets ‘The Wolf of wall Street’ and Warren Buffet, which I may write in the future.
        Thanks for the ideas.

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