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13 Necessary Steps to Become a Successful Writer This Year

13 Necessary Steps to Become a Successful Writer This Year

Didn’t get what you want for the holidays? It’s hard for writers, because our dreams are so big. Figuring out how to become a successful writer is no easy task. We want to touch people, change lives, grab readers’ attention on long snowy weekends–and the truth of the matter is that no one can give […]

Merry Christmas Wordplayers

Merry Christmas, Wordplayers!

Merry Christmas, Wordplayers! I wish you all the best over this holiday season and hope you find it a good reason to celebrate all your blessings. We’ve had a great year of writing together. Here’s to an even better 2015! And now a little Christmas ho-ho-ho! Tell me your opinion: What was your greatest writing-related […]

A Quick Guide to Beta-Reader Etiquette

A Quick Guide to Beta Reader Etiquette

Writers love their beta readers. But let’s be honest. Beta readers also kinda drive us crazy. Some of them are perfection: as polite, professional, and talented as any in-house editor. But others… well, let’s just say their lack of tact and their questionable knowledge of the craft can sometimes leave us howling in frustration. Why isn’t there […]

`Writing for Young Adults: How to Create Exceptional Literature

Writing for Young Adults: How to Create Exceptional Literature

“I wrote a few children’s books…not on purpose.”–Steven Wright. It can feel that way sometimes, when I am writing for young adults.  Finding the right voice which speaks to both (Young Adult) YA and adult audiences can prove maddeningly elusive.  But conscious effort to understand your chosen genre and audience, and to speak to them […]

Now! Learn How to Conquer Your Writer's Block and Summon Inspiration

Now! Learn How to Conquer Your Writer’s Block and Summon Inspiration (In E-Book Form)

The one essential of the writing life is inspiration. You’ve got to keep those ideas flowing–or you’re out of luck. We’ve all battled writer’s block from time to time, and, brother, it ain’t very much fun. So what if I told you I knew a way to beat writer’s block 99.9% of the time? It’s […]

What's the Difference Between Your Story's Theme and Its Message?

What’s the Difference Between Your Story’s Theme and Its Message?

One of the common myths about a story’s theme is that it must also be the story’s “moral” or “message.” Because theme always deals with fundamental truths that inevitably affect human morality, it’s easy to assume a story’s theme must always be specific and applicable to the readers. This isn’t necessarily a false assumption. As we’ve […]

The Secret to Writing a Protagonist Who's Both Unique and Universal

The Secret to Writing a Protagonist Who’s Both Unique and Universal

All creative writers must strike that terrible balance between the needs of the characters and the needs of the plot. It’s a wretched ping-pong game sometimes, and we can feel as if one will win over the other. But deep down we know it shouldn’t be that way. The elements of character and plot are not in […]

Top Books of 2014

Top Books of 2014

Every year, I find myself reading with the maniac intensity of someone who believes it might be the last reading year. (I like to turn everything into an extreme sport.) After all, what self-respecting writer doesn’t study at the feet of the masters as much as she can? I had so much fun sharing my […]


Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 36: Too Much Introspection, Not Enough Interaction

The best character development is often found in the heart of his personal narrative: his introspective observations and reactions to the events of the story. As I’ve preached many a time, if a character’s not reacting to what’s happening in your story, then what’s happening doesn’t matter. But the irony here is that the eternal balancing act […]

5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Editing Your Novel

5 Ways to Actually Enjoy Editing Your Book

I recently found myself in the “writing” subreddit, offering my two cents in the discussion. One of the questions that seemed to ring a bell with a few writers was, “Why can’t I bring myself to edit?” Writing seemed to be the easy part. Editing your book? Not so much. Here at CompletelyNovel, we find that […]