Episode 102: Finish Your Book in Three Drafts – Interview with Stuart Horwitz and Dave Stebenne

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Podcast

Hey there Word Nerds!

Today I’m delighted to welcome back the founder and principal of Book Architecture, Stuart Horwitz, and his collaborator Dave Stebenne. You can listen to my previous interview with Stuart here.

Stuart has spent over fifteen years helping writers become authors and his clients have reached wow-worthy levels of success. You can read the details in his bio below. More personally, though, Stuart is also a trusted colleague of mine and a good friend. When we first met over drinks at a Writer’s Digest Conference back in 2013, I knew right away that I had met a fellow writer and writing teacher whose perspective both aligns with and complemented my own.

Stuart’s books are among my top go-to resources, both ones that I recommend to my students and that I use for my own writing. The newest installment of the Book Architecture trilogy–Finish Your Book in Three Drafts: How to Write a Book, Revise a Book, and Complete a Book While You Still Love It–just might be my favorite one yet.

For this book, he teamed up with Dave Stebenne who created the stop-motion shorts to accompany the Book Architecture 5-year tour to create a cross between a non-fiction how-to guide and graphic novel. The result is nothing short of awesome.

In this episode Stuart, Dave, and I discuss:

  • How the idea for this book came about
  • The importance of both spontaneity and planning in writing
  • Form, function, and continuity in the development of an idea
  • Creating something that has a life beyond you

Plus, Stuart’s and Dave’s #1 tips for writers.

About Stuart Horwitz

Stuart has spent over fifteen years helping writers become authors. His clients have signed with top literary agencies, sealed deals with coveted publishing houses, or forged a successful path as indie authors. Book Architecture’s clients have reached the New York Times best-seller list in both fiction and nonfiction, and have appeared on Oprah!, The Today Show, The Tonight Show, and in the most prestigious journals in their respective fields.

Stuart’s approach is a synthesis of academic theories of narrative structure and his hands-on experience as an independent editor, book coach and ghostwriter. He has written three highly acclaimed books which together comprise the Book Architecture trilogy (affiliate links):

Stuart is an award-winning essayist and poet, who has toured the Book Architecture Method through over seventy venues in North America and taught writing at Grub Street of Boston and Brown University. He holds two master’s degrees—one in Literary Aesthetics from NYU, which helps him a lot with this work—and one in East Asian Studies from Harvard with a concentration in Medieval Japanese Buddhism, which helps him get out of bed in the morning. To learn more about Stuart and his work, visit his website, or follow him on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About Dave Stebenne

Dave is a 23-year veteran of the creative business, as an art director, editor and animator. Dave is responsible for the stop-motion shorts featuring action figures that are hands-down the best part of the Book Architecture 5-year tour. Having worked in broadcast media, the toy industry, advertising, publishing, and the corporate design world, he has a wide base of expertise to draw from in his work with Chick ’n Coop Pictures. He and his wife, the photographer Kristin Stebenne, live in Lincoln, RI with their two incredibly cool, sweet and adorable kids. Dave is responsible for the stop-motion shorts featuring action figures that are hands-down the best part of the Book Architecture 5-year tour.

Link to Episode 102

(Right-click to download.)

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Until next week, keep writing and keep being awesome.



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