The “Establishing Shot”–and 9 More Ways to Strengthen Your Story’s Beginning

Just for the record: I hate beginnings. The first fifty pages of my novels are inevitably torture to write. I’m always sure I’ve lost my touch, convinced that every successful story in the past was a fluke, absolutely certain I’ll never make these opening scenes gripping enough to hook a reader. And it’s no wonder. […]

Here Are 5 Methods That Are Helping Writers Stay Healthy

Here Are 5 Methods That Are Helping Writers Stay Healthy

Writing isn’t the kind of job you’d expect to be hazardous. When all you do all day long is sit in a comfy chair at your desk and poke some keys from time to time, you’d think your body would respond beautifully to all this pampering. But, as any desk jockey of longstanding knows, desk […]

Learn to Write Dynamic Characters Like Christopher Nolan

You know what they say, “If your character can be himself, he should always be himself. Otherwise, he should be Batman.” But, seriously, tongue-in-check aside, if you want to writing amazing, dynamic characters, there’s actually one very important lesson you need to learn from the Dark Knight. In the 2005 blockbuster hit Batman Begins, Bruce […]

Behold the Dawn Trailer

As those of you who follow me on Twitter or listen to my podcast probably already know, I’ve been busy this week supervising the production of  the  trailer for my upcoming historical novel Behold the Dawn. Today, I’m very pleased to share the Behold the Dawn trailer!

Why Genre Writing Could Kill Your Career

Why Genre Writing Could Kill Your Career

The title of this week’s post is easily a very controversial, debatable, and in some respects downright wrong statement. After all, we have only to look at the latest copy of the New York Times to see that the fiction categories in its bestseller lists are inevitably headed by established genre writers. Very obviously, genre […]

Backstory: The Importance of What Isn’t Told

Backstory: The Importance of What Isn’t Told

When Ernest Hemingway spoke about the dignity of an iceberg being “due to only one-eighth of it being above water,” he was speaking about the importance of the part of the story that isn’t told. Those seven-eighths underwater are the ballast for the tiny bit that juts up to glisten in the sun. And, more […]

Your Character’s Career: Why It May Be the Most Important Decision in Your Book

Your Character’s Career: Why It May Be the Most Important Decision in Your Book

In the 1998 movie Ever After, the character Prince Henry (played by Dougray Scott) complains that “to be so defined by your position, to only be seen as what you are. You don’t know how insufferable that is!” To which Drew Barrymore’s character responds, “You might be surprised. A gypsy, for example, is rarely painted […]

Why You Should Stick With a Story

Thinking About Giving Up on Your Story: This Is the #1 Reason You Shouldn’t

There you are, staring at the computer, fighting the very nearly overwhelming urges to alternately smash your forehead against the keyboard, tear your hair out, and, eventually, weep inconsolably. The problem? You’re 30,000 words into your latest novel, and nothing is going right. The dialogue is as flat as week-old roadkill. The characters are either […]


Scrivener Too Expensive? Try the Free Writing Software yWriter (Video Tutorial)

Over the years, I’ve dabbled with various writing software and have always found them wanting. I’d pretty much given up on the hope of finding a program that would meet my needs as a writer… and then someone introduced me to yWriter. yWriter was designed by author and programmer Simon Haynes, who saw the same […]

Making Clichés Work in Your Writing

3 Ways to Make Cliches Work in Your Writing

True story: Sometime last year, I encountered a man named Howard (name changed to protect the not-so-innocent) who had written a fantasy novel that he couldn’t seem to sell. And he just couldn’t understand it. “My work is 100-percent cliché free! I hate, loathe, and despise clichés. I’ve scoured my work and eliminated every single […]