Announcing the Outlining Your Novel Workbook Software!

 

Discover a fun and empowering guided outlining process that will help you write your best story!

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how to choose your story's plot points

How to Choose Your Story’s Plot Points

You’ve got a story, and you’ve got characters who are doing stuff in that story. That means you’ve got a plot. But how do you know if you’ve got your characters doing the right stuff at the right time? At first glance, this seems intuitive. Story is (or should be) a chain of causes and effects. Something […]

successfully start a book with a dream

5 Ways to Successfully Start a Book With a Dream

Don’t start a book with a dream.  This has become one of those bits of writing advice that has passed into legend, right along with “show, don’t tell” and “write what you know.” There are so many good reasons for this. Dream openings are notorious for being boring, irrelevant, misleading, and cliched. As a “fake” opening, […]

when writing how do you know when enough is enough

When Writing, How Do You Know When Enough Is Enough?

Last month, I invited you to tell me what topics you’d like me to write about. You flooded my inbox and comments section with suggestions. (I scheduled this as an “easy” post that wouldn’t require much maintenance while I was in the midst of the a big move. When I logged on that first day to […]

5 lessons from a lost novel

5 Lessons From a Lost Novel

Mistakes are unavoidable. To fear them is to fear life itself. To try to eliminate them is to waste life in a futile struggle against reality itself. I daresay no one has more opportunities to learn these truths than does a writer. As writers, our lives are a never-ending litany of mistakes. Certainly mine has […]

what writers can learn from making a movie2

4 Things Writers Can Learn From Making a Movie

I’ve been a book editor and a writer for a number of years now. As an author, I have one published novel in The Listeners; as an editor, I’ve worked on more than seventy. I’ve written screenplays that were optioned but never made, and I’ve sat at book signings to which no one showed up. […]

cherish language

Words Are Radical! (or, How to Cherish Language)

Years ago, I was hiking with someone around the Scotts Bluff National Monument in western Nebraska. A bird flew over our heads, black against a metallic July sky. A lover of all things beautiful, my hiking partner was the first to point it out. I shaded my eyes. “Cool. What do think it is?” He […]

want me to critique your story

Want Me to Critique Your Story?

Would you like me edit an excerpt of your writing? I have a new series in mind for the blog, which I think will prove fun and instructive for all of us. Here’s how it works. If you’re interested in participating, send me a page of your work-in-progress. You can email me here. Attachments aren’t […]

story structure q and a

Story Structure Q&A: 6 Outstanding Questions About Structure

Being a good writer is all about being a good learner—having a wide-open mind that’s always looking for the next question. I think you guys must all be good writers, because you know how to ask some good questions! Today, I want to share a story structure Q&A, featuring six thought-provoking emails I’ve received. Story structure […]

how to up your show don't tell game

3 Tips for Improving Show, Don’t Tell

When looking for a new book to read, there are a couple quick tests I do to determine whether it seems like I can trust the author to know what they’re doing all book long. The first and most important of these tests usually requires just a quick glance across the first page to see […]

what do you want me to write about

What Do You Want Me to Write About?

Hey, everybody! I’m making myself a bit sparse this week as I’m in the middle of moving. But I want to take the opportunity to flip things on its head this week and ask you to tell me something. What would you like me to write about? Is there a writing subject that’s really got your […]