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 […]

Here Come Da Judges

Here Come Da Judges

I stood at the book signing event, discussing with a reader my first published book called Lost Boys and the Moms who Love Them. Two of my three sons were abusing substances. A couple of friends had sons who also struggled, so we collaborated. My feet ached as I explained how the three of us […]

Writing When Life Interrupts

Every writer knows that when life intervenes, writing usually takes a hit. That’s what happened to me this week. My dearly beloved ex-Marine husband suffered a stroke on Sunday. He’s extremely lucky in that we were able to get help fast and the hospital used the clot-buster drugs to dissolve a life-threatening clot in his […]

Love/Hate and the Writing Process

Some write; others wish only to have written. So many of us will say we have wanted to write since childhood. I too scribbled stories and plays and poems as a kid. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate the love/hate of the writing process. Writing Tip for Today: What are some ways to make […]