8 Tips for Dealing With Negative Reviews of Your Book

If one of your goals as a writer is to be read, then sooner or later you will have to deal with negative reviews of your book. This could be as simple as a family member or beta reader telling you (tactfully or not) they didn’t like the book. Or it could be as painful […]

Top 14 Tips and Tools for Creating Unique Character Voices

Voice in fiction is crucial—but also elusive. First, writers must consider their own authorial voices, then the story’s specific narrative voice, and last but certainly not least character voices. In fact, if you’re writing fiction, the most important voices on the page technically aren’t yours, but your characters’. All of ’em. And they all need […]

9 Negative Character Arcs in the Enneagram

The Enneagram personality theory is a wonderful tool for writers. Beneath the surface of the system’s nine types, you can find development guides that include all the working parts of solid transformational character arcs. Last week, we discussed the positive character arcs in the Enneagram. Today, we’re going to look at the flipside: nine negative […]

9 Positive Character Arcs in the Enneagram

Character arcs aren’t just the stuff of good fiction. They’re also the essence of all personal growth and transformation. Little wonder, then, that some of the best shortcuts writers can find for identifying the most powerful character-arc options are those found in personal development tools such as the Enneagram. These days, most of us are […]

Do You Need Personal Experience to Write About Something?

We writers like think of ourselves as metaphoric magicians—sitting at our desks, spinning worlds out of nothing but words and imagination. Pour a little research into the recipe, and our alchemy is complete. Yet an ongoing question among writers is the evergreen quandary about whether or not we must “write what we know.” In short, […]

7 Tips for How to Add Complexity to Your Story

So you want to add complexity to your story. Most authors do. Complexity just sounds so… sophisticated. It sounds like one of those novels or films that are taken apart and analyzed by really smart critics and professors. It sounds like taking your story to the next level. And in some ways, it is. Complex […]

Is Your Story Too Complicated? Here Are 9 Signs

Calling a story “complex” is a high compliment. But what is complexity? How can we learn how to write stories that are complex—without skidding across that narrow dividing line into complicated? What’s the difference between a complex story and a complicated story? And is your story too complicated? This a topic I’ve spent quite some […]

How to Write Emotional Scenes (Without Making Them Cringey)

Learning how to write emotional scenes is one of the single most important feats any writer must rise to. We want fiction to make us feel something. I’m not talking just a little twinge of satisfaction here or there. I’m talking full-on emotional experiences: tears, laughter, cheers, even rage on occasion. Scenes in which characters […]

How Perfect Does Your Story’s Structural Timing Have to Be?

Structural timing is one of most prominent features of story structure. This positioning of a story’s important turning points is one of the keys for creating a story that feels right to audiences. As often as not, when something seems off about a story, the problem can be narrowed down to wonky structural timing. This […]

13 Rules to Be a Better Beta Reader

Among the greatest gifts one writer can give another is that being a beta reader. A beta reader is a volunteer who reads over a rough manuscript and offers feedback on what’s working and what’s not. This feedback can span the gamut from simply a general reaction to a full-on critique. But not all beta […]