The Necessity of Conflict

6 Ways to Create Riveting Conflict in Your Story

Who says conflict is a bad thing? Who says world peace is the most important goal of humanity? Who says arguing with your little brother when you’re a kid means you’ll grow up to be an ill-mannered ruffian? Not a writer, that’s for sure! Arguably, the single most important tenet of fiction can be summed […]

Subtext: The Art of Iceberging

Sometimes the most powerful writing isn’t so much about what’s said as what isn’t said. If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as […]

writing rules we dont need no stinkin rules

Writing Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules!

Art has to bear up under the strange dichotomy of both following set patterns and breaking those patterns. Writing is certainly no different. The so-called Writing Rules  are what make stories work. And, probably more importantly, they’re what get authors published. Readers and publishers alike expect stories to follow certain parameters. Authors are supposed to […]

Showing and Telling: The Quick and Easy Way to Tell the Difference

Arguably the most important rule of fiction is the age-old Show, don’t tell! Sounds simple, right? And yet many inexperienced (and some not-so-inexperienced) writers struggle with this foundational principle of showing and telling. After all, isn’t all of writing telling? Every word we write is for the express purpose of telling the reader what he’s […]

The Ridiculously Surefire Way to Write the Perfect Novel

The Ridiculously Surefire Way to Write the Perfect Novel

Is there such a thing as the perfect novel? And, if so, how does one go about writing it? I think most of us would agree that that the answer to the first question is an indisputable no. Perfection in art is unequivocally subjective. What one reader hails as perfection, another will throw across the […]

Why Writers Should Never Have Downtime

Here’s a scenario that you’ll probably find familiar: You’re sitting there, brow knit in concentration, working very hard on untangling a knotty story problem, when along comes a non-writing friend or family member. “Whatcha doin’?” he asks. You give him barely a glance, your mind still lost in your make-believe world. “Working.” “Uh-huh,” says Mr. Friendly […]

2 Rules for Making Time to Write

“‘It is only half an hour’—‘it is only an afternoon’—‘it is only an evening’—people say to me over and over again—but they don’t know that it is impossible to command oneself sometimes to any stipulated and set disposal of five minutes—or that the mere consciousness of an engagement will sometimes worry a whole day. These […]

5 Ways to Open Yourself to Inspiration

If you’re like most writers, coming up with story ideas is rarely a problem. More than likely, your brain bubbles over with more ideas than you’d be able to use in two and half lifetimes. I’ve yet to meet a writer who decided Hmm, I’d like to be an author—and then sat down to brainstorm […]

Putting Your Writer’s Ego in Your Back Pocket

I’m lucky. Everything I write turns out flawlessly. I have perfect instincts that ensure everything I write is right on the mark. I know the instant I write something crummy, and I’m able to toss it out the window before anyone else ever gets a glimpse of it. By the time my words reach my […]

the all-important link between theme and character progression

The All-Important Link Between Theme and Character Progression

Theme is a slippery concept. The prevailing wisdom among writers is that if you apply any deliberate force to your theme, you’ll end up with a heavy-handed Aesop’s fable. On the other hand, a story without a theme is shallow escapism at best and an unrealistic flop at worst. Theme is arguably the single most […]