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Why Avalanches, Wolves, and Lightning Storms Aren’t a Good Way to Begin Your Book

Why Avalanches, Wolves, and Lightning Storms Aren’t a Good Way to Begin Your Book

This week’s video cautions against opening with a type of conflict that might initially seem a good idea—and shows you how to figure out the right way to begin your book. Video Transcript: Action. You’re supposed to begin your book with action, right? There has to be some sort of tension and conflict and stakes if […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 39

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 39: Referencing Characters by Title Rather Than Name

In the time it takes you to write two small words, you might be dramatically distancing your readers from your story’s narrative. Scared? You should be. But don’t be that scared, because this one of our most common writing mistakes is just as easy to fix as it is to commit. And what are those two small but […]

To Be or Not To Be: In Defense of the Passive Voice

To Be or Not To Be: In Defense of the Passive Voice

Recently, one of my critique partners asserted that any use of the verb to be formed the passive voice and deserved to be stamped out with as much vigor as possible. This got me to thinking about that misunderstood verb form and the use of passive voice in modern fiction. All of my critique partners […]

How to Drive Your Readers Wild With Hints and Story Hooks—Without Frustrating Them

How to Drive Your Readers Wild With Hints and Story Hooks—Without Frustrating Them

This week’s video shows you how to use hints and story hooks to keep readers turning your pages, while still timing your tension just right to keep from trying their patience. Video Transcript: We could argue that the single greatest job of a good story is simply that of convincing readers that something interesting is […]

Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?

Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?

Story premise is the foundation of all good books. It’s the fundamental kernel of the beginning idea. But it’s more than that. If you can craft a solid story premise right from the beginning of your writing process, you will be able to capture all the concrete details necessary to bring your story to life. […]

3 Ways Not to Stink at Writing

3 Tips on How Not to Stink at Writing

Do you write as a hobby? Do you never have worries about how not to stink at writing? Do you belly up to the keyboard just to dip into your brain’s well of dopamine and enjoy the warm fuzzy buzz of creating something you can later read? You have zero ambitions for publication? You’ve burnt […]

Think You Wrote a Great Hook for Your Book’s Beginning? Find Out Why It May Not Be Enough

Think You Wrote a Great Hook for Your Book’s Beginning? Find Out Why It May Not Be Enough

This week’s video talks about one of the most common misconceptions about a great hook for your book’s beginning and shows you how to take grabbing your readers to the next level. Video Transcript: You know all about the hook for your book’s beginning, right? The hook is that tiny, important little bit of awe […]

The Crucial Way to Figure Out How Much Time Your Story Should Cover

The Crucial Way to Figure Out How Much Time Your Story Should Cover

Do you know, off the top of your head, how much time your story should cover? If not, you’re definitely not alone. This is a tough question for most authors to answer. I keep track of the date and time of each scene in my story, and I still couldn’t tell you off the top of my head […]

4 Reasons You Might Be Missing Out on Your Best Plot Ideas

4 Reasons You Might Be Missing Out on Your Best Plot Ideas

Are you missing some of your best plot ideas? Some writers tell me they find it easy to create characters and story worlds, but struggle to create enough plot. What they often don’t realize is they already have significant and rather good plot material–if only they knew where to look. Here are four places where […]

The Single Best Trick for Originality in Your Fiction

The Single Best Trick for Originality in Your Fiction

This week’s video shares the most important question you can ask yourself about originality in your fiction and how to access it in every single scene.   Video Transcript: Originality is an important quality test for fiction—although perhaps not quite as much as we like to make out. Pulitzer-winner Willa Cather tells us, There are […]