Search Results for: voice

The #1 Factor to Consider When Choosing POV Characters

How do you go about choosing your POV characters? This is one of the most important decisions you can make in planning your book. The characters who narrate will largely control the flow, tone, and focus of your story. Change the POV characters, and you’ll likely change the entire story. And yet this is a […]

Should You Ever Use Unusual Narrative Forms?

When readers open a book, they usually know what they’re going to be getting. First- or third-person narrative voices, told in the past tense, in a linear timeline, are the most common narrative forms. Readers are familiar with these forms and comfortable with them, and, because these forms allow a nice blend of flexibility and […]

What Makes a Good Book?

What elements make a good book? We all have our own take. Some readers like action, some prefer romance—a little of both. The one thing all readers share is their strong opinions. This week, I conducted a (highly unscientific) survey, via Twitter and Facebook, to discover what you all had to say on the subject. […]

Benefits of Outlining Your Novel

Welcome to the last installment in our series of video/audio trailers, offering a sneak peek into the first chapter of Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success. Be sure to sign up for the last of our mini prize giveaways, before next week’s Grand Prize, worth over $400. Leave a comment to register for […]

5 Elements of a Riveting Opening Line

The opening line of your book is your first (and possibly last) opportunity to grab your reader’s attention and give them a reason to read your story. That’s a gargantuan job for a single sentence. But if we break down excellent opening lines, we discover a number of interesting things. One of the most surprising […]

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Writing by Making Your Reader Your Co-Writer

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Writing by Making Your Reader Your Co-Writer

Authors can save themselves a lot of work just by remembering they have a partner in this storytelling game: their readers. Literature, more than any other art form, is a collaboration between writer and reader. The writer provides the building materials—the plot, characters, dialogue, and details—which readers then use to construct a visual and auditory […]

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3 Easy (or Easier) Ways to Build Suspense

Recently, while writing a short story, I encountered the problem of its being too short. My editor complimented the storyline and structure but indicated something about the writing was missing. It was too short, too bland, too summative and passive instead of being descriptive and active. Finally, I found all these things centered on one […]

How to Use Comedy and Tragedy for a One-Two Punch

In his “Letter to a Young, Talented Author,” dramatist William Saroyan offers this advice: Remember to be good-humored. Remember to be generous. And remember that in the midst of that which is most tragic, there is always the comic, and in the midst of that which is most evil, there is always much good. Nothing […]

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Why Writers Should Trust Their Story Instinct

Have you ever found yourself wishing for a writing mentor—someone with the savvy, experience, generosity, and overall story instinct to reach down and guide you in your own writing journey? Well, today’s your lucky day! I’m about to introduce you to the wisest writing mentor you’re ever likely to meet. Yourself. Yep, you read right. […]

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5 Ways to Write Character Thoughts Worth More Than a Penny

One of the key benefits of written fiction is also one of the most difficult techniques to master: the characters’ inner narrative. The inner narrative of the characters—their thoughts put on paper—is the essence of fiction. Mastery of that essence equals mastery, in large part, of the art form of fiction itself. No wonder it’s […]