Why Everyone Should Write (Even if You Think You Stink)

We often hear it said that “everyone wants to write a book.” Although we may find a certain amount of comforting inclusiveness in this idea, I think we also sometimes respond to it with at least a smidge of disdain. After all, the only people who should really be writing books are those who are […]

10 Best Books to Buy a Writer For Christmas

All the lists of Christmas gifts for writers are good at highlighting unique and fun (and sometimes useless) gift ideas. But the truth is: writers are easy to buy for. Just wrap up a bunch of books. Almost any book will do, but if you’re wanting to get specific (for yourself or a writer on […]

6 Writing Excuses Busted (Or How an 11-Year-Old Published Her First Novel)

Writing excuses are easy to come up with. Easy to justify. But to publish, you’ll need to learn how to avoid using at least six of them—maybe more. My goal is to help you avoid using these six writing excuses by showing you how I overcame them to publish my first novel shortly after my […]

Writing Legal Fiction: 4 Research Tips

On television crime dramas, DNA comes back in three minutes, crimes are solved in less than forty-two minutes, and defendants always confess to everything right there on the stand in front of judge and jury. While I can see the entertainment value in this type of show, I often want to hurl my remote at […]

How to Write Your Memoir Like a Novel

A few years ago, I went to a workshop in New York City for writers. There I was surrounded by a group of novelists. As someone who loves to write fiction, I was interested, but at the time, I wasn’t working on a novel. I was working on a memoir, a book about a series […]

How to Know Which Parts of Your Story Readers Will Like Best (It Isn’t Always What You Think)

You want readers to like your story. You want to give them something to love on every single page. But it’s so much easier said than done. How can you know—really know—which parts of your story readers will like and which will have them yawning and skipping ahead? So many stories, in all mediums, hit […]

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How to Evoke Reader Emotions With “Surprisingness”

Have you ever read a book for a second, third, even tenth time—just to experience the emotion the story evokes? Clearly the elements of the story aren’t a surprise. You know exactly what to expect. If so, you were benefiting from an author who knew how to evoke reader emotions. Literary agent Donald Maass says […]

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7 Things to Try When Writing Is Hard

Some writers might look at that title and respond incredulously: “When isn’t writing hard?” But as I’m sure all writers everywhere can attest, there are times when writing is hard in the normal sense and times when it’s hard hard. Often, the difficulty lies simply in the unwieldy story—and the need for an ever-evolving understanding and ability […]

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The New Scrivener 3.0 – Should You Upgrade?

Did you know Literature and Latte released version 3 of their acclaimed writing software Scrivener? Scrivener is famous for its rich functionality, but also its steep learning curve. If you’ve taken the time to learn an existing version of Scrivener, or are a newcomer looking to try it out yourself, making the move to version […]

The Great Novel-Writing Checklist (Just in Time for NaNoWriMo!)

I adore lists. They bring order to the chaos of my brain and allow me to rest in the knowledge that even if I don’t remember everything I have to do, the list remembers [spoken in an epic Jeremy Irons bass]. This is why today I’m going to share you with you my ultimate novel-writing checklist—and […]