Writing Three-D Scenes

Writing Three-D Scenes

So excited! Tomorrow I’ll be teaching some workshops for a writing conference called Between Two Worlds for high-schoolers in the Salem, Oregon area. One, a class on fiction, focuses on creating three-dimensional scenes. Writing Tip for Today: How can we craft 3-D scenes? The Heart of Character Begin by creating a strong POV character. Give […]

Writing High Stakes Stories

Writing High Stakes Stories

In writing fiction, we talk a lot about making sure your character wants something. Like, really really wants it. Yet the key to writing effective fiction is to dig deep into that “want.” Writing Tip for Today: How can writers create compelling stories with high stakes? Big Wants Many times, new writers begin with a […]

Have Writer, Will Podcast?

Have Writer, Will Podcast?

As I gear up for the release of my next book, Prayers for Parents of Prodigals in January 2020, I’m learning that things have changed a lot since my last book in 2015. Podcasts are all the rage now, and writers like me must decide if starting my own is the right move. Writing Tip […]

Gray Areas

Gray Areas

I’m told that in twelve-step-style recovery meetings, they discourage sharing “war stories,” or telling about specific incidents of being under the influence. By not talking about using, or the surrounding drama, various triggers are avoided, the group can better focus on recovery—and hang onto those 30-day chips. The No War Stories rule also gently helps […]

(You Can) Write Better Dialogue

(You Can) Write Better Dialogue

For some writers, an ear for good dialogue seems to come naturally. For the rest of us, lots of practice and some writing tips can make all the difference. Writing Tip for Today: Here are three ways to start writing better dialogue today: Rule of Three When I taught fiction writing at a local community […]

Readers Must Sympathize with Characters

Readers Must Sympathize with Characters

Recent feedback from a writer concerning a novel that I’m drafting said, “One character is more interesting than the other.” Since I’m writing a rotating Point of View, both are protagonists. The comment told me that one character was not sympathetic enough. Writing Tip for Today: How can we make our characters more sympathetic? Likable, […]

Writing Help for Slow Openings

Writing Help for Slow Openings

Each time I draft a novel, I wrestle with my set-up in the opening. Does the opening give enough info and heart to compel the reader? How much do readers really need to know before they commit to the story? Writing Tip for Today: A novel’s first pages need a delicate balance of action and […]

Writing Your Story’s Fictional Body

Writing Your Story’s Fictional Body

A writer I know has a helpful book titled “Plot Skeleton,” wherein the author divides up the different parts of a fictional story by percentages and—body parts. Hint: If you get to the knees without a good climax, you’re in trouble! But the Plot Skeleton got me thinking about fiction structure, so let’s run with […]

Writing that Connects

Writing that Connects

When I started my writing journey, someone asked me what my purpose was. I said, “To connect with readers,” and it’s still true today. You might have a different purpose for writing, but any writer will be better off if she connects with her readers. Writing Tip for Today: What are some ways to better […]

Strong Shoulders

That night, my son’s text arrived long after I was asleep, so I didn’t hear the chime. The next morning, I read his profanity-laced description of the work party he’d attended. Worst work party ever, it read. f*** (the restaurant). The needle on my guilt-o-meter shot up so fast it could have reached escape velocity. […]