How Inception Raises Its Stakes

In order to be good to their readers, authors have to be pretty nasty to their characters. An epigrammatic writing prompt once suggested: Think of the worst thing that could happen to your character. Then think of 10 ways to make it worse. That is how you up the stakes—by presenting your characters with hefty odds […]

6 Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Mystery in Your Novel

Creating mystery in your novel is important in every type of story, not just mysteries and suspense. The last time you stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, what was it that transformed your normally practical, serene self into an obsessive page-turning maniac? I’m willing to bet this month’s royalties it was something […]

Conquering Writer's Block and Summoning Inspiration

Announcing Conquering Writer’s Block and Winning Fridays

As those of who listen to my weekly podcast or follow me on Twitter and Facebook are probably already aware, I’ve been hard at work this summer on a new project: a 60-minute audio presentation called Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration, adapted from some of my most popular blog posts, which will be released […]

Why Narrative Isn't a Bad Thing

How to Write Compelling Narrative

Modern authors are taught the only way to keep readers’ attention is keep the writing action-oriented. You must show not tell, dramatize your scenes, and keep characters doing and talking and in the moment every step of the way. These so-called rules are prevalent for good reason. Readers read because they want to see the […]

Should You Edit As You Go?

Authors are passionately divided on the subject of editing as you go. Should you write your first draft as fast as possible, dumping your creativity on the page while it’s still smoking hot, never stopping to tweak so much as a misspelled word until you’ve got it all safely down on paper? Or should you […]

3 (Brief) Benefits of Writing With Brevity

Ernest Hemingway is famed for his sparse prose. Love his style or hate it, the man knew how to say what needed saying in the fewest words possible. In reading his World War I tragedy A Farewell to Arms, I was able to study the three main benefits of writing with brevity. The 3 Main […]

How to Strengthen Your Story with Proper Framing

How to Strengthen Your Story With Proper Framing

Framing is a useful, but too often overlooked, technique that gives your story a sense of cohesion and directs readers’ loyalties and attention. What Is Framing? Frames bookend a story with a definitive opening scene (that introduces readers to pertinent characters, settings, and themes) and a closing scene (that brings the story to a resonant […]

What Inspired You to Become a Writer? – And Other Questions Answered

Today, I’m honored to be interviewed by Janalyn Voigt on her blog Book Readers Central. Take a peek to discover what inspired me to become a writer, what I enjoyed most about writing Behold the Dawn, and what books I enjoy reading—among other things.

How to Spot and Leave Out the Parts That Bore Readers

Skipping the parts that bore readers should be a no-brainer. And yet this a surprisingly common pitfall. Why? To some extent, writers struggle with know what will bore readers—mostly, because we don’t all agree on what is boring. Lengthy battle scenes turn some readers off, long descriptions are dreaded by most, and I even ran across one reader […]

5 Steps to Dazzling Minor Characters

5 Steps to Writing Minor Characters That Dazzle

In writing minor characters, authors must provide the color and conflict that fill the protagonist’s worlds. Because minor characters aren’t always confined to the necessities of a character arc or the demands of the plot, they often have the opportunity to be some of the most exciting personalities on the page. In my own stories, […]