How to Write Stories Readers Will Actually Remember

How to Write Stories Your Readers Will Remember

Think back about the books you read and the movies you watched in the last year (heck, think about just the ones you experienced in the last month). Which do you still remember vividly? Which are already foggy in your memory? Now: which type of story do you want to write? No-brainer, of course. You want to […]

2 Ways To Make Sure You've Chosen the Right Scene

2 Ways to Choose the Right Scene

Today, I’m guest posting over on Jerry Jenkins’s site, with the post “Does This Scene Deserve a Place in Your Story? 2 Ways to Find Out.” Here’s an excerpt: “Cut this scene. It doesn’t move the plot.” That is my most frequent comment on manuscripts I edit for others. It causes most writers to groan. […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes (Too Much Description)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 58: Too Much Description

Sooner or later, most writers will get their hands slapped over description, whether it’s too much description or too little. The bad news is that this is a big deal in narrative fiction. Get the balance of your description wrong, and it could throw off your entire story. The good news is that once you understand how […]

An Easy Way To Notch Up Your Scene Conflict

An Easy Way to Notch Up Your Scene Conflict

Scene conflict is what keeps your story running, chapter after chapter, page after page. Conflict is the heart of each scene, and each of those scenes is one of the dozens of tiny engines keeping your plot moving forward—and your readers glued to the page. It’s helpful to think of scene conflict as not so much […]

The 7 Stages of Being a Writer (How Many Have You Experienced?)

If life is a journey and writing is a lifestyle, then we know writing itself is not a destination but a discovery. Some of the stages of being a writer are momentous, life-changing, and unforgettable. (Outlines, story structure, and character arcs were like that for me.) Other discoveries blur past, lost in the hustle and […]

Find Out When It's A Good Idea to Use A Made-Up Setting

Find Out When It’s a Good Idea to Use a Made-Up Setting

Too often, writers take the old adage “write what you know” to mean they should never do anything so rash as to, you know, make stuff up. At the very least, shouldn’t you adhere to reality whenever a corresponding reality exists, as, for example, when it comes to the choice between a real-life setting and […]

Learn How To Write Smashing First and Last Lines

8 1/2 Tips for How to Write Opening and Closing Lines Readers Will Love to Quote

When I’m scanning an Amazon preview to decide if a book is going to be worth my time, the first test is always the opening line. A sloppy, casual, or plain-Jane opening line instantly makes me suspect I’m looking at the work of an author who is an outright amateur or, at the best, someone […]

3 Ways to Test Your Story’s Emotional Stakes

Part 14 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel You can do almost everything right in a story, and it will not matter. Acing your story structure, constructing a solid thematic premise, and punching your card on every important character-arc beat will not matter—if you don’t also nail the emotional stakes. The craft of storytelling […]

Help Me Finish the Creating Character Arcs Workbook

Help Me Finish the Creating Character Arcs Workbook

I need some help. In light of the many requests I’ve received to offer a workbook companion to my latest writing book Creating Character Arcs, I’m doing just that! I’ve finished the workbook itself and am getting it ready to go to the typesetter and cover designer, with a tentative publication date in early October (just […]

5 Rules of Writing A Worthy Sequel

5 Rules for How to Write a Sequel to Your Book

Just when you think you’ve figured out how to write a book, you realize you have to learn a whole new set of rules for how to write a sequel. You’d think writing the second book in a series couldn’t be that much different from writing the first one. They both have a beginning, middle, […]