Sometimes Even Pilots Have to Wing It


After a woman falls out of the sky in front of his biplane, can a brash barnstormer help her prevent storm-wielding sky pirates from destroying his Nebraska hometown?


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Ready for Advanced Story Structure? [Free Download]

Ready for Advanced Story Structure? [Free Download]

If you’ve read all the books on story structure and concluded there has to be more to it than just three acts and a couple of plot points, then you’re absolutely right! It’s time to notch up your writing education from “basic” to “black belt.” My book Structuring Your Novel came out a few years ago. They have […]

How Being an OCD Writer Nearly Ruined My Career

How Being an OCD Writer Nearly Killed My Career

Not all writers are obsessive-compulsive, but enough of us are that the idea of “the OCD writer” has become something of a joke. This is why every writer has to make a decision: be OCD and get a few mutual laughs–or stop being OCD and actually get some writing done. Now, of course, the least funny […]

How to Take the Guesswork Out of What Scenes Belong in Your First Act

How to Take the Guesswork Out of What Scenes Belong in Your First Act

Writing the First Act in a story used to terrify me. It felt like walking a tightrope. Blindfolded. In the dark. But that was my own fault. It felt that way for the simple reason that, back then, I had only a vague, intuitive grasp on what I was trying to accomplish in this oh-so-important part […]

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What Would You Like to Learn From Me?

Here’s an important question for you: What would you like to learn from me? I am totally pumped to announce I’m doing something I’ve been promising you for a long time: I’m putting together a full-fledged course on writing! This is going to be a huge project, much more in-depth than anything I’ve been able […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 48: No Conflict Between Characters

I slapped the FedEx guy this morning. Okay, not really. My FedEx guy is totally cool. And he brings me cool stuff. I’d never slap him. But that got your attention, didn’t it? Way more so than if I ‘d said, “I thanked the FedEx guy this morning.” The difference between the two accounts, of […]

The #1 Problem With Backstory (and Its Simple Fix)

The #1 Problem With Backstory (and Its Simple Fix)

There’s a problem with backstory? Among writers that’s a rhetorical question. We all know there are lots of potential problems with backstory—everything from where to put it in the story to how much of it we should even be sharing with readers in the first place. But before you can start worrying about any of […]

The 6-Part Process to / Successfully Self-Publishing Your Book

The 6-Part Process to Successfully Self-Publishing Your Book

Today, I’m guest posting over on Cultured Vultures, with the post “The 6-Part Process to Successfully Self-Publishing Your Book.” Here’s an excerpt: I used to be ashamed to admit I was a self-published author. People—even someone as ancillary as the hairdresser—would ask me what I did, and I’d blush and mumble. Half of them probably […]

How to Write Realistic Fight Scenes

How to Write Realistic Fight Scenes

Writing realistic fight scenes can feel like being in one. Then again, being in a fight involves reaction, quick thinking, and intuition. A lot of times writing the scene takes the opposite: careful choreography, thinking, and re-thinking–and more. When I started writing fight scenes, I did it by feel. I had an advantage: I’m a […]

Your NaNo Novel Is a Hot Mess How to Edit Your Book

Your NaNo Novel Is a Hot Mess! How to Edit Your Book

Yay, you wrote a book! Now what are you supposed to do with it? Writing a manuscript often feels like a sprint to a finish line–but then you reach that finish line, only to realize it’s really just the beginning! In many ways, completing a first draft is the easy part of the writing (what? no! […]

Setup and Payoff: The Two Equally Important Halves of Story Foreshadowing

Setup and Payoff: The Two Equally Important Halves of Story Foreshadowing

I have good news and I have bad news. Let’s assume you have a killer story idea. It offers unique plot developments and totally unexpected plot twists. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these deliciously original plot elements just aren’t going to end up working out for your readers. Why? For one […]