5 Misconceptions About Writing That I Used to Believe

5 Misconceptions About Writing That I Used to Believe

Are we modern-day writers lucky or what? We enjoy unprecedented access to the wisdom of all the writers who have gone before us. I’m not kidding. the wealth of excellent information at our fingertips is insane. But you don’t get nothing for nothing, and the something we’re exchanging for all this great advice is a pretty hefty load […]

How To Take Advantage of Your 4 Most Important Characters

How to Take Advantage of Your 4 Most Important Characters

Your story may or may not have a cast of a thousand, but even if it does, 996 of those characters are going to be primarily background. They provide the context for the four most important characters in a story. Who are these characters? 1. Your protagonist (of course). 2. The antagonist. 3. The reflection. 4. The […]

Good News! Writing Does Get Easier!

When Does Writing Get Easier? The 4 Steps to Mastery

“When does writing get easier?” This is one of the most common questions writers have asked me throughout my career. The bad news is that, all these years, I’ve been giving the wrong answer. The good news is that the right answer is pretty fantastic. In years past, when people asked me this question, I was as […]

How To Write In An Authentic Historical Voice

How to Write in an Authentic Historical Voice

Let’s say you’re writing a book set in the 14th Century. Naturally, as a diligent and conscientious writer, you want to do your research and write with an authentic historical voice. In fact, you’re so good and so authentic that what you end up with is something like this: Whilom, as olde stories tellen us, ther […]

what does it mean / to move the PLOT?

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 59: Overly Complex Plots

Complex plots? Good. Overly complex plots? Not so good. Complex plots are the stuff of literary mastery. They can take a story beyond a single dimension into an intricate exploration of life. Dickens, Mann, Eliot, and so many more literary luminaries show us how to do it right. But do it wrong, and what we […]

How to Write (and Not Write) Expository Dialogue

Dialogue is one of the most versatile of all narrative fiction techniques. It allows us to characterize, to create both context and subtext, to entertain via humor, and to share some of the best and punchiest prose rhythms in the entire book. Because it is the only narrative technique that is a “true” form of showing, […]

3 Ways to Make Your Writing More Visual

Written fiction is comparatively unique among art forms. Why? Because it isn’t visual. Unlike theater, dance, painting, sculpture, and photography, writing offers no inherent visual images. And yet, as any reader can tell you, reading a good story is a tremendously visual experience. This means you, as the writer, bear an important responsibility to make […]

Move the Plot2

What Does It Mean to Move the Plot?

“Move the plot, move the plot—everything in your story must move your plot!!!” So rail all writing professors. Meanwhile, the writers themselves just want to bang their heads against their keyboards in desperate frustration. “Okay, yes, fine, great—I want to move the plot. But what does that even meeeeaaannnn?!?!?!?!” (Enough interrobangs, for you?) (No?) (Okay, sorry: […]

3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

3 Ways to Choose the Right Protagonist

Ever had a minor character steal the show and run away with your story? This scenario has its good points and its bad points (usually, it means a great minor character and a problematic plot), and it always leads writers right back to the all-important question of how to choose the right protagonist from the get-go. […]

How to Benefit From the Biggest Reason for Storytelling

How to Benefit From the Biggest Reason for Storytelling

I have a theory. My theory is that a person’s ability to engage with art is directly proportional to that person’s willingness to explore the inner depth of their own lives. Consider two different people who walk out of a movie theater together (or we could switch out the setting for an art gallery, a […]