Rewriting Your Novel

Rewriting Your Novel

Rewriting a novel is hard. Yet after you’ve spent so much time drafting and then cooling off your hot property, that story deserves to be fixed up. Writing Tip for Today: Here are a few ideas for rewriting your drafted novel. So What? Most first-time novelists rewrite by tinkering with sentences and word choices. Some […]

Writing Reactions Right

Writing Reactions Right

Writing action scenes is important, but so is writing character reactions. Throughout the fiction you write, your protagonist must react to each and every event (action) encountered. A character who doesn’t react will have a difficult time moving the story forward. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s examine some ways to write character reactions in more […]

But Is It Love?

But Is It Love?

On St. Valentine’s Day, my grown son offered to wash my car, even though legendary Oregon rain was in the forecast. I was thrilled by his gift—long-time meth use and ongoing mental health issues keep him unemployed. Besides, any mom will tell you that a kind gesture from your kid is worth its weight in […]

Writing Story Pay-Offs

Writing Story Pay-Offs

At last, you’re writing the story pay-off. Act III of a story must answer the question of whether your protagonist wins the goal or not. As in our joke model of story, this is where that question pays off—readers want a satisfactory resolution in exchange for their devotion to the journey. Writing Tip for Today: […]

Writing the Build-up

Writing the Build-up

Writing the Build-up, or Act II of a story follows the set-up, or Act I. Now let’s wade into the bulk of a story: How writers can effectively flesh out the premise or set-up in the story opening. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss the vital elements of your story build-up: Rising Action If you […]

Writing Effective Set-Ups

Writing Effective Set-Ups

In Bird by Bird, author Anne Lamott writes that story writing is like a joke: first there’s a set-up, then there’s a build-up and last comes the punch line or payoff. I reread her advice again and again as I seek to improve my craft. Writing Tip for Today: The set-up of a story gives […]

Writing Toward Publication

So you want to be an author? Writing is in your blood, you say? You’d write even if hell froze over. And though you might not say it out loud, you want your writing published for all the world (or at least a bunch of readers) to see. How do you get there? Writing Tip […]

Should Fiction Writers Educate?

Should Fiction Writers Educate?

The past week in America has been eye-opening, if nothing else. The reactions of some made me think of writers I’ve worked with who are intent on educating their readers. Writing Tip for Today: Fiction can be a powerful tool—but is educating readers or changing their minds by twisting arms the best path? When Education […]

Character Goals and Stakes

Character Goals and Stakes

For the past few weeks I’ve been setting new goals and dealing with high stakes. Thanks to all of you who have been understanding and patient with me as I’ve taken a few weeks’ off to deal with my husband’s recent stroke. I’ve learned all sorts of interesting stuff about how strokes impact people and […]