After the Writing Conference

After the Writing Conference

  I’ve just returned from a wonderful writer’s retreat in Newberg, Oregon. It’s always great to mentor other writers and to recharge my own batteries by hanging with writers and old friends. But I’m tired. Really tired. Writing Tip for Today: What can writers do in the aftermath of a retreat or conference? Recover First, […]

Writing a World

Writing a World

Fantasy and Sci-fi writers often point to world-building as their most important task in writing a fictional story. Writers and readers alike love the details, the imaginary places and the made-up rivalries. Yet if too much attention is placed on the world and not enough on the human aspects, even the best sword-clanging or laser-gun […]

Writing the Memoir

Writing the Memoir

Most of the time, I stick to writing tips about fiction. But since I’m giving a talk about memoir writing this week, it’s what’s on my mind. Writing about your life is popular but even if you don’t plan on doing any memoir writing, its techniques can be useful to fiction and nonfiction writers alike. […]

Three Fiction Essentials for Writers

Three Fiction Essentials for Writers

Fiction is a little like knitting: most people will ignore a certain number of mistakes, but the overall piece needs to hang together. In writing stories, readers will tolerate some imperfection, but some elements, if left undone, create story holes so big that readers will look elsewhere. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s examine three things […]

Is Your Fiction a Story?

Is Your Fiction a Story?

  With NaNoWriMo coming up in November, it’s a good time to brainstorm story ideas. But is the fiction you hope to write really a story? Writing Tip for Today: Here are three ways to tell if the novel you’re writing is a solid story: Arc or Episodic? Some novel writers are not quite sure […]

Writing Irresistible Fiction

Writing Irresistible Fiction

  Today’s writing arena is very crowded. Everyone, it seems, wants to write and publish their fiction. One of the fiction writer’s most pressing questions these days has to be, “How can I make my story stand out?” Writing Tip for Today: Practice, determination and skill-building are important–but they’re not everything. Here are three more […]

Writing: How to Pace a Scene

Writing: How to Pace a Scene

  Last time, we focused on the importance of pacing in a novel. Today, let’s examine ways to pace an individual scene as you draft your fiction. Writing Tip for Today: What are some writing techniques to pace a scene? Magic Threes One of the easiest ways to pace a scene is to think in […]

Writing the Right Pace

Writing the Right Pace

  For novelists, pace, or rate of revelation is one of the more advanced writing skills. Knowing how fast or slow to reveal story information, managing time and choosing the right scenes to dramatize can either pace a novel brilliantly or doom it to an excruciating reader experience. Writing Tip for Today: What are some […]

Self-Editing for Writers

Self-Editing for Writers

After you finish writing your first draft, editing it can seem scary and overwhelming. For the final stages, hiring a professional editor can be a wise decision. But before you search out an editor, revise as much as you can. No matter where you are in your writing life, you can learn to self-edit your […]

Eclipsing Your Writing

Eclipsing Your Writing

  Take your writing to the next level! Transform your writing! Write a bestseller! We all want to be better writers. In nearly twenty years of helping writers, I’ve offered workshops that promised that next level to my students. After yesterday’s total solar eclipse, some writing coach will no doubt promote a course or workshop […]