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Are You Leaving This Crucial Ingredient Out of Your Book’s First Chapter?

This week’s video shows how you can take a page from Captain America: The Winter Soldier to hook readers with even a small amount of character development in your book’s first chapter. Video Transcript: Your book’s first chapter is hard. There’s so much you have to cram in there in order to get it to […]

The Lazy Author's Way to Identify and Overcome Writing Weaknesses

The Lazy Author’s Way to Identify and Overcome Writing Weaknesses

I have news for you: as a writer, you are failing. And that’s fantastic! Okay, maybe not the “failing” part so much. But the fact that you know you’re failing should have you break dancing in the living room. Why? Because if you know your writing weaknesses, then you’re halfway down the road to overcoming them. Nothing […]

Are You Being Too Much of a Control Freak About Your Characters?

Are You Being Too Much of a Control Freak About Your Characters?

Every writer eventually encounters characters that becomes very real. Our imaginary characters actually start to come to life. They become real, living, breathing people floating around in our heads. Sounds a bit crazy, but it’s true. Perhaps that’s why authors aren’t typically the sanest folks: we’ve got dozens of different characters fighting for head space. […]

I Just Figured Out What All My Favorite Stories Have in Common—and It Blew My Mind

I Just Figured Out What All My Favorite Stories Have in Common—and It Blew My Mind

This week’s video talks about the secret ingredient that can take even mediocre ideas and turn them into your readers’ favorite stories, worthy of five stars. Video Transcript: For those of you who follow my book reviews on Amazon or Goodreads, you may have noticed I hardly ever give five-star reviews. I read over a […]

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Know what sets apart the okay writers from the great writers? Subtlety and subtext. This is true in absolutely every area of storytelling, from narrative to plotting to character development. But the lack of subtlety and subtext is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in dialogue. I’m talking, of course, about on-the-nose dialogue. When I pick up a potential […]

5 Ways to Endear Yourself to Your Editor

5 Ways to Endear Yourself to Your Book Editor

Here’s the not-so-secret secret about your book editor: he loves books. Sure, sometimes a book editor loves being right, but on the whole he loves reading, working with words, and seeing writers grow into authors. A book editor does what he does because he wants to help authors put their best words forward. But if you’ve never worked with a book […]

See How Easily You Can Track Your Character’s Emotional Arc in a Scene

See How Easily You Can Track Your Character’s Emotional Arc in a Scene

Most authors try to understand what a character is feeling at a particular moment: He’s angry here. He’s happy there. Many authors also consider how the character’s emotional arc changes over the course of the entire story: He begins insecure. He ends confident. But few think about how the character’s emotional arc develops over the course […]

The Only Rule About Backstory That Matters

The Only Rule About Backstory That Matters

This week’s video learn how to write backstory that matters to your story and entrances readers with its possibilities. Video Transcript: I get a lot of questions about backstory: How much should you include? Where should you put in your book? When should you put it? And these are all really good questions. Backstory is […]

Crumpled-Paper

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 37: Unnecessary Filler

“Brevity is the soul of wit.” However, creating that quality of brevity isn’t so much about writing short as it is about making every word count. As we continue to discuss the most common writing mistakes, we’d be remiss to leave out the all-too-prevalent faux pas of unnecessary filler or padding. The 4 Reasons Unnecessary Filler […]

Novel Research: When Should You Consider Working With a Technical Consultant?

Novel Research: When Should You Consider Working With a Technical Consultant?

Three years ago I embarked upon an insane journey to do novel research on a series about a world I knew almost nothing about. Fortunately, I was rescued from this shaky course when I found a technical consultant who is an expert on the subject. And not just any expert: the expert. My subject was the NYPD […]