how to write wildly original stories

How to Write Wildly Original Stories

Ideas swarm from the writer’s brain like bees from a hive. At any given moment, most of us have snippets of inspiration floating around in the netherworld between our conscious and unconscious. Some of those ideas we develop, some we abandon; some will turn out to be gold, some will be trash. We’ll probably never […]

kill the big fat ugly modifier

Kill the Big, Fat, Ugly Modifier!

Among writers, one of the ever-quotable Mark Twain’s most quoted witticisms is the succinct bit of advice found in Pudd’nhead Wilson: As to the Adjective: When in doubt, strike it out. Ah, adjectives! What writer hasn’t had a joyous fling or two with that most seductive of all parts of speech? In an effort to […]

why writers should have a god complex

Why Writers (Should) Have a God Complex

“You come upon the person the author put there. … beside the small running river where a boy is weeping and no one comes… and you have to watch without saying anything he can hear. …”—Marie Howe Every author is the god of his own little world. No story is the same; each is a […]

100+ Questions to Help You Interview Your Character

How well do you know your characters? Like the back of my hand, you say? Do you know the color of your hero’s eyes? Do you know where the bad guy went to college? Do you know your heroine’s most embarrassing moment? Can you rattle off a list of your main character’s idiosyncrasies? Typical expressions? […]

conscious vs unconscious creativity

Conscious vs. Subconscious Creativity: Which Is More Important to an Author?

I’ve always been intrigued by the left-brain/right-brain theory—the idea that creative thought stems from the right hemisphere of the brain, while logical thought flows from the left hemisphere. Growing up, I always considered myself a right-brainer, due to my imaginative ramblings. But, the older I get, the more my left-brain (logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective) tendencies […]

are you emptying yourself into your writing

Are You Emptying Yourself Into Your Writing?

Writing is treacherous business, fraught with fear and doubt on every side. Am I any good? Will I get published? Will I get good reviews? Will I sell any books? But perhaps the most inherent danger of the writing life is the necessary baring of our souls to the world. Writing, at its most basic […]

journaling and conquering monsters

Why Journaling Conquers Writing Monsters

  “…I write … [in my Journal of a Novel] consistently because I know that later on, it will help me through whatever bad time I may encounter in the process.”—Elizabeth George in Write Away Over the course of the last ten years, I’ve written six novels, two novellas, and hundreds of short stories. Even […]

catharsis and the written word

Catharsis and the Written Word

Pop quiz! Anybody gone through one of those days when you just want to throw the telephone into the toilet, crawl under the bed, and solace yourself with chocolate and Kleenex? Or maybe you know the kind of day (or week, or month, or year) I’m talking about, but your chosen response involves throwing large […]

major role of minor characters

The Major Role of Minor Characters

Minor characters can make or break a story just as surely as can a protagonist. I’ve been thinking lately of two decidedly minor characters in two of my works-in-progress. Although both impact the plot in crucial ways, neither is irreplaceable or deserving of more than a handful of scenes. But both of them taught me […]

The World View of Christian Fiction

Every book you read is a tractate on the world view of the author. In some stories, the author’s viewpoint is immediately discernible; perhaps the book’s premise was even based on a view the author passionately wanted to share, such as Charles Dickens’s frequent crusades against the injustices of Victorian England (Oliver Twist, Bleak House, […]