My Word Template for Novels

Folks have asked me about this, so it’s time to share. Here’s the Word template I use for writing novels. It’s pretty stripped down, but with an additional style and a dusting of macros.

Download it

After you download, open it in Word. This is a macro-enabled template, so agree to run macros. Don’t agree if you don’t trust me and you never wanted to use this thing anyway.

Using Notes for Easy Outlining

The template has a style named Note that you use for, well, notes. These help with outlining, and you can easily hide or remove them. I insert notes before each scene. Switch to outline view (that’s the image at right) and you can see them clearly.

  • To temporarily hide those notes, right-click on the Note Style in the Style gallery, or choose Format > Styles, click on the Note style, and format the Font to Hidden.
  • To delete all the notes, Save as the Word file under a different name (safety first!), then right click on the Note style in the style gallery, choose Select all instances. All the notes in the file will be selected. Right click on one of them and choose Cut.

Quick Navigation

The template includes macros for Forward and Backward navigation, so you can easily move to chapters (which are in the style heading 1) and scene breaks (which are in the style heading 2).

Set up your keyboard shortcuts to use these navigation macros. You can choose any key combination you want.

  1. Choose Tools > Customize Keyboard.
  2. Under Categories, choose Macros.
  3. Under Commands, click on each navigation command and pick a keyboard shortcut that will trigger it. The four commands are
    Next Break (I use Option + Down arrow for Mac, Control + Down arrow for windows)
    Previous Break (Option + Up arrow)
    Next Chapter (Command + Down arrow)
    Previous Chapter (Command + Up arrow)

Easy E-book Creation

It’s too much to go into here, but using Heading 1 for your Chapters and Heading 2 for your scenes makes it easy to create your own Epub and Mobi ebooks. Google for Calibre, the free e-book creation tool, and Download it. Calibre can open your Word Doc, and transform it into an epub or mobi. Calibre’s default settings will automatically create a table of contents for your chapters and scenes.


Where I’ll be in 2019

Okay, so it’s 2019, and already oone trip is in the can, and there are more on the docket. I’m totally on top oof this, I swear. I’d love to meet up with you all. Here’s where I’ve been and where I’ll bee.


So, I just got back from ICFA 2019, in Orlando Florida, where I got to suck down my annual pina colada. It was a lovely time, and full of meaty conversations about the craft and publishing and why John Kessel and I are basically the same person, outlook-wise.

I got to read the opening chapter of my work in progress–whose title is also a work in progress. That was a good test reading for my next appearance…

Seattle Public Library Reading with Jack Skillingstead and Nancy Kress


Join us for what they’re calling “An Evening Of Science Fiction With Nancy Kress, Jack Skillingstead And Daryl Gregory” on Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2019, 7 – 9 p.m. Adam Rakunas will be moderating. I’ll be reading from the new novel, Jack will be reading from his just-launched new novel Chaos Function, and Nancy Kress will be frickin’ Nancy Kress. Y’all come!

Nebula Awards in L.A.–May 16-19

More details to come!

77th Annual Worldcon in Dublin–Aug 15-19, 2019

Lots more details to come!

Viable Paradise–Martha’s Vineyard Oct 20-25th

I’ll be teaching at this storied (get it?) one-week workshop.

World Fantasy Convention–L.A., Oct 31 – Nov 3

You know the drill by now.

Nine Last Days Nomination

ninelastdays_305x410I was thrilled to learn that “Nine Last Days on Planet Earth,” my novelette that appeared on in September, 2018,  is a finalist for the Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award. You can read the story for free on

I was especially excited to be nominated alongside so many friends and colleagues I admire, including my former Clarion West student, Adam Shannon, who wrote a heartbreaking story, “On the Day You Spend Forever with Your Dog.” You can read that for free as well–and you should!

Join me for Workshops in Aspen and Seattle

Aspen, Oct. 13 2018: One-Day Workshop

10am-4pm. $95 Get more details and register

I’ll be teaching a one-day workshop that concentrates on plotting and storytelling. Through exercises and discussion you’ll learn practical techniques for creating dynamic plots, believable characters, and scenes that matter.  The workshop is brought to you by  Aspen Words, part of the Aspen Writers Network.  Get more details and register here.

Seattle, Nov. 11 2018 1-Day Intensive Novel Workshop

West Seattle, 10am-5pm, $110.

To register and get more info, contact Leslie Howle at  or call her at 206-799-2030

This hands-on, personalized workshop is limited to six writers.  It’s designed for people who are currently working on a novel, whether they’ve finished a draft, have started writing but haven’t finished, or are laying the groundwork for a book. The goal is that each writer walks out with the tools and new ideas to tackle the next draft and finish the novel.

You’ll send in advance a synopsis of your novel (1 to 5 pages)—even if you’re not sure how it ends. Also send a few paragraphs about issues or problems that you want to work on: plot, character development, openings and endings, world building, point of view… anything at all.  If you’ve started writing, also send the opening chapters, up to 50 pages. In return, you’ll receive everyone else’s materials, so come ready to discuss them.

At the workshop, we’ll discuss each book in detail, starting with the plot skeleton: Do you have a plot that tells the story you want to tell, and arrives at an ending that’s satisfying? We’ll discuss how to make each chapter dramatic and emotionally engaging, how to keep the story moving, and how discovering your theme can shape your rewrite.

Seattle Feb. 10, 2019 Clarion West 1-Day Workshop

Details to come.


2018 Appearances

I’ll be at Worldcon 2018 in San Jose

Thursday thru Sunday, August 16-19.

I’ll be around, mostly in the bar, but also at these events! Stop by.

Autographs–Friday 10-11 (autograph area?)

Ready, Steady, Flash–Friday 2-3pm: Flash writing gameshow!
Room 210C in San Jose Convention Center

Signing at Tachyon tableSaturday 2-3pm in Dealer’s Room.


Worldcon 2017 Schedule

I’m headed off to Europe in a few hours! Stopping off in London to visit with Richard Arcus, the editor of the UK version of Spoonbenders, and his team at riverrun/Quercus. Then Liza and I will be jumping over top Helsinki Tuesday night for the start of Worldcon.

I have a few things scheduled–stop by! Otherwise, look for me in the bar. (I don’t actually know which bar.)

Thursday Aug 10, 7pm: Panel on the Impact of Awards. Do they matter? Come find out.

Thursday Aug. 10, 9pm: I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue! The British radio “antidote to panel shows” hosted by’s Lee Harris. Kameron Hurley and I will face off against Mur Lafferty and Emma Newman. There will be singing. Hilarity shall ensue.

Saturday Aug 12, 5pm. Signing. You bring it, I’ll sign it.




San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Schedule

I’m on the road right now, in sunny Los Angeles. I should have written several blog posts about my recent stops in Chicago, Cambridge, Readercon, and Brooklyn, accompanied by pictures, seating charts, and video recordings. Sorry about that.

Tonight I’ll be reading at Book Soup in West Hollywood, then tomorrow I’ll be in Scottsdale, AZ at the Poisoned Pen.

But after THAT I’ll be at the Beast with a Million Heads, San Diego Comic-Con.

You can find me hanging arounb the Penguin Random House booth, 1515-I, at a panel I’m doing on Saturday with several other wonderful writers, or in one of the hotel bars.

Here’s the sked, as the kids say:

Saturday 11:00AM — Signing at Booth 1515-I. Stop by for free swag!

Saturday 1pm – Room 28DE. Panel on Genre Bending, with Charlie Jane Anders, Ryan Graudin, Emily Lloyd-Jones, Peter Clines, and Marjorie Liu.

Sunday 11:30AM — Signing at Booth 1515-I. More free swag!



Readercon 2017 Schedule

The big event: The Spoonbenders launch party! Please come by at Saturday, July 17, 9pm in the Blue Hills Room. We’ll have wine and snacks!

Other items on the schedule:

Friday July 14
11:30 AM B Reading: Daryl Gregory. Daryl Gregory. Daryl Gregory reads from Spoonbenders (Knopf).

1:00 PM AT Autographs. Ellen Datlow, Daryl Gregory.

Saturday July 15
10:00 AM 6 The Life-Changing Magic of Outlining Your Novel. Daryl Gregory, Elaine Isaak (leader), Yoon Ha Lee, Mark Oshiro, Terence Taylor. Developing a novel outline can be nearly as complex a process as writing the novel itself. Our panel of plotters will discuss the many techniques they’ve used for developing the skeletons of books, and consider which outline creation skills and tools lend themselves to particular genres and styles of writing. Hybrid methods of outlining and making decisions on the fly will also be discussed.
1:00 PM 6 Round Robin Reading. Michael Blumlein, Gillian Daniels, Daryl Gregory, Ilana Myer, Cecilia Tan. We’ve gathered authors for a group reading, but rather than the traditional reading where each reads their own work, each will read the work of one of the other participating authors! A fun twist on traditional readings, inspired by Malka Older and Max Gladstone.

3:00 PM CL Kaffeeklatsch. Daryl Gregory, Liza Groen Trombi.

9:00 PM — The Aforementioned Launch Party! Blue Hills Room

Spoon tour Colorado

I have become the road warrior. I have a Rollie. I have a backpack heavy as spent uranium. And I am not stopping until Furiosa drags my carcass back home in three weeks.

The main part of the tour kicked in this week, first with a visit to the Tattered Cover in Denver on July 5. Knopf put me up in the Brown Palace Hotel, which at first sounded like a mixed message, kinda like the Beige Taj Mahal, but was in fact a beautifully fancy 120 year old hotel. My pal Alistair Kimble stopped by ///before the show, and we had a nice steak dinner. Don’t tell Alistair’s wife, because they’re vegetarians at home.

And then the signing and reading, hosted by Derek Holland of the Tattered Cover. This was the Colfax Ave store, which is huge, and is in a building that was once a theatre. I did the reading and a little cutlery bending, which was fun.  Then Alistair, who looks better in a fedora than anyone I know, took me too a local speakeasy called… The Speakeasy. The cocktails were quite fine.

The next day, Alistair gave me a tour of where he works. Did I mention that his day job is being an FBI agent? Yeah, he’s that cool. Alistair is his pen name. His first book,co-written with Eric Flint, is coming out in the fall.  It’s called Iron Angels, and it’s already on Publishers Weekly’s list of Top 10 SF, Fantasy, and Horror books for fall.

After the tour,it was north to Fort Collins for an appearance hosted by Old Firehouse Books. The latter took place in the Old Town Library. It turns out–and I did not know this until I got there–that by statue, every building in Fort Collins has to start with the world “old.”

I got to meet lots of great people who’d been reading my books, including one guy who came with all the Planet of the Apes issues I’d written–I signed ’em all. My friend Barb Sebek, whom I hadn’t seen since high school, came out, and afterward we had locally brewed beers and talked about the musicals we’d been. Barb had the most beautiful voice in Hinsdale South High. Now she’s a professor of English at Colorado State, focusing on the 16th and 17th century, and definitely does not need to brush up on her Shakespeare. She’s the expert.

That last picture in the mosaic was taken on my way out of town, at the Denver Airport. Spoonbenders was sitting in the Tattered Cover airport bookshop. I’d never had a book in an airport shop before, so was able to scratch that one off the bucket list.

Now I’m in Tampa, in a very nice area of town. I’d say that Tampa’s main export was humidity, except that none of it seems to leave the area. I’ve got tomorrow off, and then Sunday I read at the Oxford Book Exchange. More later!


SpoonTour 17-Seattle

The Spoonbenders tour kicked off a week early, on June 20. I was teaching the first week of Clarion West (a fantastic experience, with very sharp and lovely students, which I need to also blog about) and then appeared at the University Bookstore for their Clarion West reading series. Knopf PR wizards worked with bookseller extraordinaire, Duane Wilkins, to get early copies of the book to the store.

We packed the room, and I had a blast–though not even my vast mind powers could keep the microphone in its holder.