Afraid to Let Anyone Read Your Writing? 5 Steps to Move Past Fears

One of the best things about writing is being read. Unfortunately, that can also be one of the scariest things. When you’re just starting out, it can feel like a huge jump to let someone else read your story for the first time. It feels like another jump to move past the eyes of kindly […]

5 Exercises for Honing Your Story Instincts

How strong are your story instincts? This abstract and sometimes elusive concept rests at the very bottom of a writer’s toolkit. Your story instincts determine how successful your storytelling is, and whether you are able to offer readers the all-important “it” factor. Your story instincts are the foundation onto which you build with all the […]

Critique: 4 Ways to Write Sequel Scenes That Grip Readers

Scene structure asks for a one-two punch pairing of action and reaction—or as Dwight V. Swain named them in what has come to be considered “classic” scene structure, scene and sequel. The need to write sequel scenes, the reaction half of the equation, is sometimes overlooked and misunderstood. This is unfortunate, since the reaction phase […]

7 Misconceptions About Being a Writer

Like any good story, the writing life is a tale of deceptive depth. At first glance, it offers up a shiny, artsy, fun cover. Become a Writer! its title beckons, and its first chapters lure us in by fulfilling all these initial promises. But the deeper we get, the further we go, the more we realize […]

4 Questions to Prevent Plot Holes

How peachy would the writing life be if we didn’t have to prevent plot holes. Just imagine—you could write anything you wanted to, and every single thing would make sense. No need to worry about the fact that your two awesome scenes actually don’t make sense side by side. They get to be in the […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Too Much Explanation

Readers have needs. Authors are supposed to fulfill those needs. One of those needs is knowing what’s going on in a story, so naturally the author’s response is to explain what’s going on. So far, so good, right? Well, that depends. Explanations, in whatever form (narrative, dialogue, or action), are essential to any story. But […]

Action and Reaction in Scene Structure: The Two Pistons Powering Your Story

Your story is a precision machine. If you were to take the shiny cover off this machine, what you would find inside would be an intricate mass of nuts, bolts, gears—and an engineer only knows what else. At the heart of it all, you’d find two huge pistons running the show. One of those pistons […]