How To Troubleshoot and Repair Any Scene

8 Ways to Troubleshoot a Scene–and 5 Ways Make It Fabulous

So there I was: sitting at my desk, notebook in front of me—and absolutely no words staring back at me. The problem? I knew what needed to happen in this scene, but now that the time had come to write it, it seemed flat as a roadkill raccoon. It was clearly time to troubleshoot a […]

How to Write a Story Without a Plot (and Why You Shouldn't)

How to Write a Story Without a Plot (and Why You Shouldn’t)

Can you write a story without a plot? Ultimately, that depends entirely on your definition of a story. There are quite a few people who would argue for plot-less variations, but I’m not one of them. When I talk about story, I’m talking about plot. Why? Because it’s the most intuitive entry point to a […]

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Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 56: Unfulfilled Foreshadowing

Sometimes writing feels like magic. You look back at the story you’ve created and it seems like it came from beyond you. One of the coolest examples of this is with foreshadowing. Some little something you wrote in the early chapters without even thinking about it ends up being a huge clue or bit of symbolism […]

5 Things I Learned When I Switched Genres

5 Things I Learned When I Decided to Switch Genres

I was in the middle of mundane household chores when the idea for The Lost Girl of Astor Street struck: Veronica Mars meets Downton Abbey was my initial thought. Followed quickly by, But I’ve never written a mystery or a historical! There’s no way I could write that. The idea nipped at me all day long. As did the doubts. I’ve written […]

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How to Find Exactly the Right Story Hook

What is your story hook? That can be one of the most frustrating questions for any author—for two reasons. Either you have no idea what your hook is, or you have no idea how to describe it. The good news is both of these scenarios are quite common. The bad news is they’re both deep doo-doo […]

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7 Essentials for Your Book Launch

Congratulations, it’s a book! You accomplished something rare and impressive just by completing your masterpiece, not to mention surviving blood-boiling revisions and the agony of the publishing process. Now, the book launch date has been set and—surprise!—you have more work to do! Orchestrating a book launch sounds daunting, but people need your book. Take a long […]

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You're Misusing

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You’re Misusing

Recently, I found myself reminiscing about some of the early books on writing advice that transformed and molded my understanding of storytelling and writing. They opened my eyes, honed my craft, and changed my life. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the solid writing advice I’ve received from the writers who have gone […]

The Most Common Manuscript Malfunctions (and How to Avoid Them)

Editors see hundreds of manuscripts every year, from new and veteran writers alike. Almost all of them fall down on the same points. To help you avoid the common pitfalls of fiction writing, here are the manuscript malfunctions editors see most often, with tips on how you can avoid them! Manuscript Malfunction #1: Clichés Clichés are at top […]

How To Outline Your Book Series

How to Outline a Series of Bestselling Books

Every good series has to start somewhere. If you’re of the mindset (as I am) that a problem as complicated as the novel is best approached from the big-picture view of an outline, then it only makes sense that the even greater complexities of serial fiction will benefit even more when their authors understand how […]

Boba Fett’s Guide to Writing Cool Characters

Boba Fett is one of the most beloved scourges of the Star Wars universe. Yet, he says only 27 words (28 if you add the Wilhelm Scream), and is on screen for a mere 6 minutes and 32 seconds. He even gets defeated in a pathetic way by being knocked into the Sarlacc pit by […]