Learn How to Project (and Find) Yourself in Your Writing

Have you ever found yourself looking up from the pages of a book and wondering how much the words you’re reading are a reflection of the author’s own personality and life? We’re all familiar with famous examples of autobiographical fiction (such as Dickens’s David Copperfield) in which it’s easy to draw parallels between the make-believe […]

6 Things Your Characters Want–and 4 Ways to Keep Them Frustrated

We authors are pretty mean folk. Here we are, creating characters whom we love almost as much as our family and friends–and yet every day, on every page, we make them suffer. We figure out what characters want and then refuse to give it to them. Actually, truth be known, we kind of enjoy making […]

How Tell if a Story Isn't Ready to Be Written

How to Tell if a Story Isn’t Ready to Be Written

In December, I finished Dreamlander, the fantasy I worked on for almost two years. Now, four months later, it’s time for me turn my eyes to the future and start writing again. That creative lobe in my brain is starting to itch, and I’m getting that restless urge to start visiting unknown worlds and invisible […]

What You Need to Know About Writing Novels in the Age of Movies

I have a confession. For someone who spends her time writing novels, it’s kind of a deep, dark secret, so brace yourself. I like movies better than books. Shocking, I know. Don’t get me wrong. I couldn’t live without books. I practically breathe books. I gobble more than 100 books a year. Why? Because I love […]

4 Ways to Make Readers Instantly Loathe Your Character Descriptions

4 Ways to Make Readers Instantly Loathe Your Character Descriptions

Fiction once began with the face, with the act of observation of the faces of others. Does it still? It’s arguable. I can imagine a skeptic wondering what difference it makes whether writers describe faces or not. Does anything of importance really hang in the balance? Who cares? Does it make any difference to the […]

The Reason The Great Escape Is My All-Time Favorite Movie

My all-time favorite movie is the classic World War II film The Great Escape (1963), with Steve McQueen, James Garner, and Richard Attenborough. How come? When you think about it, it’s really a strange war movie: hardly any violence, little action to speak of, and few references to the war itself. Yet every time I watch it, […]

(More) of the Best Writing Advice From 10 (More) of the Best Writing Teachers

(More) of the Best Writing Advice From 10 (More) of the Best Writing Teachers

It isn’t difficult to flip through my writing library and discover what passages have impacted me. My books are punctuated with a brilliant green highlighter pen. So, in hopes of sharing a little of the best writing advice with all of you, I flipped through a few more my favorite books on the craft and chose […]

The Best Writing Advice From 10 of the Best Writing Teachers

The Best Writing Advice From 10 of the Best Writing Teachers

I spent the better part of last year, re-reading my “writing library.” The wisdom packed into those bookcase shelves is too wonderful for me to horde, so today I’d like to share the best writing advice from ten of the best writing teachers in my library. 1. The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter “To make […]

Write What You Know? Don't You Dare!

Write What You Know? Don’t You Dare!

I admit I always laugh in my sleeve when I hear an author proclaiming you must write what you know. This tidbit of advice is often touted as a cardinal rule of writing, with the inherent implication being that if you aren’t 1) a brilliant scientist/mathematician/geologist/linguist/ tactician/psychologist or 2) an uber-wealthy jetsetter with the time […]

Not Sure Why You're Writing Fiction? 4 Indisputable Reasons

Not Sure Why You’re Writing Fiction? 4 Indisputable Reasons

Do you know why you’re writing fiction? It’s a bit of a mystery. And yet it’s no mystery at all. “I write because I must” is the easy answer—the cop-out. When someone asks me why I write, the answer that immediately pops onto my tongue is a simple “because I love it.” But that, of […]