Preparing for NaNoWriMo: Your Guide to Outlining Success

Forget turkeys and football. NaNoWriMo—or National Novel Writing Month—has turned November into  “da Writing Month.” But as so many authors have learned over the years, the best way to be successful in November is to start preparing for NaNoWriMo in October (aka Preptober). If you’re going to have a decent shot at writing 50k good words […]

Creating Character Arcs Workbook Launch

Introducing the Creating Character Arcs Workbook!

All you need to create a solid story is a solid character arc. If you can do that, chances are good you’ve also written a book that will give readers a solid experience with story structure and theme. This is why the study and practical execution of character arcs has become one of my primary […]

How to Amplify Your Characters' Subtext:

4 Ways to Amplify Your Characters’ Subtext

The magic ingredient in fiction is subtext. In part, it is magic because of the dynamic reaction it creates in readers: their sudden ability to become an intelligent participant in interpreting the story. But also, it is magic because, like any good trick, it can be difficult for authors to interpret exactly how to execute it. Nowhere […]

6 Lifestyle Changes You Can Make to Protect Creativity

Life creates art. Life also devours art. For nearly ten years now, I have been a full-time writer, and yet it wasn’t until this past year that this truth fully came home to me and forced me to realize how important it is for committed artists to take steps to protect creativity. As someone who […]

5 Tips for Creating Believable Fictional Languages

Gone are the days when you could speak gibberish in a movie or a novel—think Princess Leia’s scene negotiating with Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi—and pass it off as obscure, exotic fictional languages. Today, when your characters speak fictional languages, your audience expects these languages to sound real, with natural-sounding vocabulary and […]

5 Tips for Organizing Subplots

Imagine you walk into a candy shop, but what you discover inside, instead of candy, is display after display of subplots. Enough to make any writer’s mouth water, right? Writers love the idea of subplots. They’re rich, juicy, complex, and full of opportunities for taking your story to the next level. But organizing subplots, or […]

5 Things You Can Read While I'm On Vacation

5 Things You Can Read While I’m On Vacation

Whoops! I’m not here today. I’m off partying someplace exotic. Or… actually not. But I am enjoying a ten-day vacation while visiting family! While I’m gone, I hope you get lots of writing done. But if you want to take a break and read something, check out the following five links for inspiration and fun. […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 62: Head-Hopping POV

You know you’ve moved beyond recreational storytelling to serious writing the moment you discover you’re hopelessly confused about POV. Other than perhaps show vs. tell, no fundamental principle of fiction dogs writers more than creating a solid narrative—which often begins by understanding how to avoid head-hopping. It happens to all of us: we energetically send […]

Why Doubt Is the Key to Flat Character Arcs

Flat Character Arcs create some of the most exciting and powerful stories. Most of the time, when people think of “character arc,” they’re likely to think of Positive Change Arcs, in which the protagonist himself undergoes an empowering personal change. Flat Arcs, by contrast, are about a protagonist who does not personally change, but who […]

The Only Reason You Should Write A Female Protagonist

Why We Need More Thematically-Pertinent Female Protagonists

It’s become a mantra now: “We need more female protagonists.” But I say: No. Uhh…. what? No. I say stop already with this crazily simplistic demand for “female protagonists.” Because it’s so totally not working. The problem, as is so often the case, is that authors, producers, and directors, who are either feeling pressured to […]