11 Dichotomous Characters–and Why You Should Be Copying Them

Fiction writing doesn’t offer many shortcuts or magic formulas. But today I am going to give you a secret ingredient in that coveted recipe for memorable and realistic characters. What is this ingredient? Dichotomy. If we expect our characters to jump off the page into three-dimensional living color, we have to give them multi-faceted personalities. […]

Punch Your Readers in the Gut!

Want to Take Your Story to the Next Level? Punch Readers in the Gut!

Writing is not only an intellectual endeavor for me, it’s also very much a physical one. When I’m on to the right story, the right location, the right situation, the right theme, my body tells me. I feel a surge of excitement in my solar plexus that literally sends the message Yes yes yes! to […]

Should You Outline Backwards?

Should You Outline Your Book Backwards?

When you think of outlines, you generally think organization, right? The whole point of outlining, versus the seat-of-the-pants method, is to give the writer a road map, a set of guidelines, a plan. It only makes sense that an outline should be simple, streamlined, and linear. An outline should put things in order. So you’re […]

Why You Should Be Writing Scared

Why You Should Be Writing Scared

It’s my belief that writers should be writing scared pretty much all the time. In fact, a constant state of terror would be optimal. When you sit down at your desk and extend your hands to your keyboard, a little tremble should shake your fingers. Your heart should be pounding just hard enough that you […]

Find Out This Overlooked Ingredient in Successfully Marketing Your Book

Find Out This Overlooked Ingredient in Successfully Marketing Your Book

There’s a key to marketing, which, once we understand it, unlocks the entire frustrating, overwhelming mystery. What is this key? Likability. What we sometimes miss in the ubiquitous phrase “self-promotion” is that because we’re promoting ourselves, we have to be just as appealing—and sometimes more so—than our products. In a rather interesting exercise, I made […]

Good Writers Are So Lazy, They Make Readers Do All the Work!

This is a guest post by Jason Black. Read any half-dozen writing blogs, and they’ll be full of advice on how to craft dramatic scenes, how to write realistic dialogue, how to create vivid settings, and all that jazz. Add in the need for a compelling hook, character arcs, rising tension and stakes, and it […]

What If: The Two Most Powerful Words in a Writer’s Repertoire

Almost all writers are familiar with the power of the “what if” question. Every novel, story, and article is inspired by those words, even when the question isn’t articulated. Many of us, however (myself included up until a few years ago) fail to tap the question’s full potential. Why? Simply because we don’t make a conscious effort to answer it. […]

Announcing Behold the Dawn!

I’m thrilled to announce that Behold the Dawn is now available for purchase. The road to publication has been a wild (and occasionally bumpy) road, so please join me in celebrating with a happy dance, lots of chocolate, and a squeal or two! Behold the Dawn Acknowledgements Many people have been instrumental in helping this project […]

How You Can Take Advantage of Art's Subjectivity

Why Somebody Is Certain to Hate Your Book–and How You Can Deal With It

Anyone who doubts the subjective nature of art need look for persuasion no farther than Amazon’s review pages. For instance, Stephen R. Lawhead’s Hood received opinions varying from the effusive Lawhead at his best. and Rip-roaring good story. to the insistent No real plot, resolution, or drama. and Slow, uninspired and pointless. How could the […]

Should Authors Be Writing for a Specific Audience?

Should Authors Be Writing for a Specific Audience?

Authors write to be read. We write not only for ourselves, but to share our thoughts, our words, our stories with others. Unless we happen to be Emily Dickinson (whose work was never published during her lifetime), we inevitably realize our words will be read by someone other than ourselves (even if it’s only our […]