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My Top Books of 2017

My Top Books of 2017

When you’re a writer, stories are life. You can’t create them without ingesting them. That’s why Stephen King famously said: If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that. That’s why this annual look back at my top books of 2017 is always one […]

It's Time to Buy Christmas Gifts for Writers!

It’s Time to Buy Christmas Gifts for Writers!

I love this time of year. The holly-jollyness, the cookies, the company, the carols, and the presents! I adore shopping for presents. And, yeah, I like receiving them too. Once again this year, I’ve done a little shopping for you too. Check out my fourth annual list of the best Christmas gifts for writers! 3 […]

How to Write Funny

Part 17 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel If you ask me, the trifecta of must-have story elements are: relationships, action, and humor. Of the three, arguably the most difficult is learning how to write funny. You can’t fake humor. It either works or it doesn’t. This might prompt some writers to […]

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character's Backstory

Tips for How to Choose the Right Sentences

What is writing but choosing the right words in the right sentences in the right paragraphs in the right pages in the right chapters? But even though words and sentences are the smallest of integers within our storytelling, they’re actually one of the most complex. How do you choose the right sentences? Is it a process […]

5 (Not-So-Little) Additions to the Great Novel-Writing Checklist

5 (Not-So-Little) Additions to the Great Novel-Writing Checklist

Learning how to write a successful novel is largely a matter of memorizing and mentally tracking the vast number of “parts” that make a story run. Honestly, this alone is sometimes the hardest part of the entire job. There’s a lot to remember—which is why, today, we’re going to look at the second part of our […]

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character's Backstory

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character’s Backstory

I’ve spent the better part of the last year digging into the topic of character wounds or “Ghosts.” If this topic sounds familiar, it might be because Angela Ackerman and I (among others) have been yammering about it to anyone who will listen. The wound is a fascinating and vital piece of your characters’ pasts, […]

Most Common Mistakes (Purple Prose)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 63: Purple Prose

Words, glorious words! Fellow logophiles, were we not initially drawn to writing because of our sesquipedal amours? We love words. We love big words, arcane words, chewy words, beautiful words. We love combinations of words that are bold, poetic, eloquent, and sometimes even showy. So it’s little wonder many of us risk creating purple prose. […]

The Great Novel-Writing Checklist (Just in Time for NaNoWriMo!)

I adore lists. They bring order to the chaos of my brain and allow me to rest in the knowledge that even if I don’t remember everything I have to do, the list remembers [spoken in an epic Jeremy Irons bass]. This is why today I’m going to share you with you my ultimate novel-writing checklist—and […]

4 Ways to Prevent Formulaic Story Structure

4 Ways to Prevent Formulaic Story Structure

One of the most common concerns writers have about story theory is the fear of creating formulaic story structure. If you’re following a set pattern of dictated beats for your story, then won’t your story lack originality? Won’t readers see the expected plot turns coming from a mile off? Indeed, won’t story structure inhibit your […]

The Only Good Reason to Write

I was absolutely blown away by the response I received to the post of a few weeks back: “6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity.” In this post, I came forward with some of the surprising, painful, and ultimately liberating truths I have discovered on my road to becoming a successful author. I […]