Shaping Story Conflict

Shaping Story Conflict

  We hear it over and over: to engage readers, stories must contain conflict. But this prescription is deceptive. Not all conflict is created equal. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some ideas for story conflict that captures and keeps readers: Don’t Just Blow Stuff Up New writers often mistake story conflict for any sort […]

Story Vision vs. Reader Experience

Story Vision vs. Reader Experience

  The very hardest bit about learning to write is in being able to successfully translate your story vision to enough readers. You want them to see what you see, feel what you feel with enough accuracy that the readers are engaged to the same degree you were when the story vision occurred to you. […]

Keeping Writing Resolutions

Keeping Writing Resolutions

  Writing passion, enthusiasm and confidence take a lot of energy to maintain. Here it is, two days into the new year, and already I’m wondering how I’ll keep my three best writing resolutions for 2017. Like those who jump to the gym only to abandon it, I’m wary of losing whatever momentum a resolution […]

The Best Writer’s Resolution

The Best Writer’s Resolution

Like a lot of writers, I’m cringing as I look back on 2016’s resolutions: In addition to getting a big fat book contract with a big fat advance, I wanted to finish a writing book and self-publish it. Did those things happen? The optimist in me says, “Not yet, but you just wait.” In other […]

Hitting Your Novel’s Milestones

Hitting Your Novel’s Milestones

To many new writers (as well as some more experienced) novel writing feels like a mystery. You read novels you admire and the story just flows. But if you learn some basic milestones that almost every novel contains, the mystery unfolds. Writing Tip for Today: According to Larry Brooks, each “Milestone” should comprise from twelve […]

Writing Scene Transitions

Writing Scene Transitions

  The way any given scene ends and how the following scene begins is one of fiction’s most important elements to keep readers reading. Yet there is more to good technique than simply leaving white space between scenes. Writing Tip for Today: What are some ways to connect separate scenes in a way that engages […]

Pacing Your Prose

Pacing Your Prose

For many writers, one of the last writing skills areas to blossom has to be the rate at which a scene unfolds. Go on too long and readers become frustrated or bored, Cut a scene too short and the depth of emotional range shown by the characters often suffers. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s take […]

Writing the Ultimate Nano Novel

Writing the Ultimate Nano Novel

Every year, by the middle of November, you can almost hear the anguished cries of writers furiously at work on their NaNoWriMo novels. The middle of any novel draft is a risky place for even the most seasoned or plot-wise writer. If you’re speeding toward the November 30th deadline, the dreaded mid-novel sag can hit […]

Find the Perfect Novel Title

Find the Perfect Novel Title

Writers have told me more than once that I’m “good” with titles. I guess that means I can come up with titles that are both catchy and meaningful. Last post we discussed taking cues from our marketing friends, in order to become better writers. Finding the best title for your work is another way the […]

How Marketing Improves Writing

How Marketing Improves Writing

  Many writers and authors I know cringe at the word “marketing.” If all they had to do was write, they complain, life would be so much easier. We writers generally dislike the whole idea of selling our stuff. So how can marketing make writing better? Writing Tip for Today: Here are some ways to […]