What Should Your Book Outline Look Like? [Free Download]

Are you trying to figure out the best way to create your book outline? Ever wish you could gain a little insight into how other authors work through their outlines? Ever since writing my book Outlining Your Novel, I’ve gotten all kinds of requests from authors who want to see a full example of what my […]

Thinking About Outlining Your Novel? One Pantser’s Story

I’m a seat-of-the-pants writer. I’ve been at this business professionally for over a decade now, and every single one of my manuscripts–published or not–has been written one scene at a time, with no more guideline than a general knowledge of structure. For years, Katie and I have been on the opposite ends of the spectrum […]

6 Tasks You’ll Love Yourself for Checking Off Your NaNo Pre-Writing List

6 Tasks You’ll Love Yourself for Checking Off Your NaNo Pre-Writing List

When participating in National Novel Writing Month, what is the only thing more important than getting those 50,000 words written in November? How about making sure you’ve checked all the necessary to-dos off your NaNo pre-writing list in October? Today, I’m going to show you how to conquer six pre-writing tasks that can help you […]

How to Write a Sequel That's BETTER Than the First Book

How to Write a Sequel That’s BETTER Than the First Book

We live in a world of sequels. In large part, the sequel is a rather modern invention. Jane Austen wrote no sequels to her beloved Pride & Prejudice (we had to wait until 1949’s Pemberley Shades for that). Dickens wrote no sequels, although his chronic serialization was, in its way, a precursor. And it took To Kill a Mockingbird fifty-five years to […]

Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success

Sign Up for the Outlining Your Novel Webinar!

My Outlining Your Novel: Create a Roadmap to Storytelling Success webinar is back again! This 90-minute presentation, hosted by Writer’s Digest, will be live online on August 27th at 1 PM EDT (although you can listen or re-listen anytime you want for up to a year). I’ll be talking outlines, answering live questions, and critiquing participants’ outlines. It’s […]

Scared of Plot? How One Author Embraced Story Structure Without Sacrificing Creativity

Scared of Plot? How One Author Embraced Story Structure Without Sacrificing Creativity

I was never a believer in plotting. “Me?” I’d say. “I’m too right brain.” Years back, I attended Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and was one of only two writers fortunate to be assigned to Robert Stone for my one-to-one. He told me my writing was beautiful, but that it needed a story to serve. […]

My Writing Process: How I Use Scrivener to Outline My Novels

My Writing Process, Pt. 1 of 2: How I Use Scrivener to Outline My Novels

My writing process is a continually evolving thing. Not only does every new story require a slightly different approach–and not only am I constantly learning and refining–but sometimes a new tool comes along and completely revolutizes the whole system. That’s what the writing software Scrivener has done for my writing process this past year. For […]

Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?

Do You Know the 6 Must-Have Elements of a “Wow” Story Premise?

Story premise is the foundation of all good books. It’s the fundamental kernel of the beginning idea. But it’s more than that. If you can craft a solid story premise right from the beginning of your writing process, you will be able to capture all the concrete details necessary to bring your story to life. […]

How to Pitch Your Novel What's the Difference Between Your Story's Hook and Your Story's Heart

How to Pitch Your Novel: What’s the Difference Between Your Story’s Hook and Your Story’s Heart?

Quick! You’ve got less than a minute to convince me your story is worth my time. What do you tell me? You’ve got to pique my curiosity with mystery and potential, while still conveying the bulk of the plot, theme, and general tone. No problem! you say. But when you sit down to actually figure […]

Your Story’s Concept and Your Story’s Premise: Do You Know the Crucial Difference?

Story Concept and Story Premise: Do You Know the Crucial Difference?

What’s up with story concept and story premise? Are they interchangeable words for the same idea–or are they separate tools with their own important jobs to fulfill? I know you guys picked Door #2–’cause you’re wicked smart like that. But it’s a fact: “story concept” and “story premise” are often used interchangeably, which just goes to […]