Writing Buddies: Why You Need Them, How to Find Them, What to Do With Them

Writing, by its very nature, is a solitary pursuit. Even those authors who work in tandem with others (co-writers, ghost writers, editors) must necessarily do their actual work by themselves. Fortunately, most of us who seek the writing life are not only mentally and emotionally equipped to handle the solitude, we may even crave it. […]

Is Art Intrinsically Moral? (And Why the Answer Matters)

Art, in its every form, has always been volatile. It challenges people’s beliefs. It forces them to face uncomfortable realities. It constrains them to see the world through an entirely different set of eyes. In experiencing any form of art, but perhaps particularly the novel, we are plunged into the mind of another human being. […]

3 reasons you shouldnt be writing for money

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Writing for Money

Why do we write? Is it for the fame and the fortune? The respect of family and friends and peers? The goal of making a positive impact on the world? Or is it because of that soul-deep gnawing of creativity that refuses to let us go? Although all of these factors undoubtedly come into play […]

3 Ways Colors Can Transform Your Writing

Arguably, no single descriptive attribute can transform your writing as quickly as color. We can spend hundreds of words laboring over a description of a springtime meadow or a shipwrecked boat, when a single color is all it takes to burst the scene upon the reader’s eye with perfect clarity. Consider the following quotations: Then, still […]

The Most Important Lesson Any Novel Can Teach You

The completion of a novel is always a cause for celebration. And as I step down from the wild two-year train ride of my latest completion, I can assure you my knees are still sore from dancing the Charleston all over the house. That two-inch pile of paper sitting on my desk is the receipt […]

5 Important Considerations for Naming Your Characters

My parents chose their children’s names according the meanings. They named me Kathryn in hopes its meaning, “pure,” would bear fruit in my life. (Of course, they also gave me a middle name that means “bitter,” so I’m still trying to figure out the ramifications of that… Pure bitter just doesn’t have quite the same […]

My Favorite Internet Resources for Writers

The Internet is amazing. A computer (or a phone), a wireless connection, and some time is all it takes to put the world at your fingertips. As most web-savvy users know too well, however, the world is a very vast place, and discovering that one little piece of information you need can be like hunting […]

the three must-have story elements action humor and relationships

3 Must-Have Story Elements: Humor, Action, and Relationships

Allow me to be radical for a moment, and reduce the art of fiction to three basic story elements. Take a gander at your bookshelf, maybe even pull a couple titles, and see if you can’t pick out the common threads. (Presumably, your personal library of favorites doesn’t contain any shoddy writing or weak themes, blatant […]

What Do People Think of You When Reading Your Book?

What Do People Think of You When Reading Your Book?

In her wonderful book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley, commented that “readers don’t care what the author thinks.” She meant, of course, that readers don’t want the author to intrude himself and his own beliefs upon the story. Indeed, isn’t one of the cardinal rules of fiction that the author […]

Three Easy Ways You've Never Thought of to Keep Track of Time in Your Novel

Three Easy Ways You’ve Never Thought of to Keep Track of Time in Your Novel

Do you know, without looking, how much time your novel covers? If the question has just pushed you into the predicament of either scrunching up your face or staring at the ceiling in an effort to tally up your various scenes and arrive a reasonable figure of days, then the answer is probably an unqualified, […]