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Top 10 Writing Posts of 2019

Goodbye, 2019. Hello, 2020. As you look back on 2019 (and the whole decade really), I hope you’re able to remember all the challenges you’ve conquered, the goals you’ve met, and the ways in which you’ve grown—as both a writer and a human. For me, 2019 was a year of deep growth, mostly on an […]

Critique: 10 Ways to Write a Better First Chapter Using Specific Word Choices

The one thing all writers are trying to do is write a better first chapter. First chapters are do-or-die territory. We know this as writers because we know this as readers. Most of us make our reading choices after scanning the first few paragraphs of a story. Sometimes we know if we want to go […]

December 2019 | Podcast Episode Archive

Subscribe to the Helping Writers Become Authors podcast on Apple Podcast. Episode #488: Critique: 10 Ways to Write a Better First Chapter Using Specific Word Choices: Find out how choosing specific and appropriate words for your story can make all the difference in helping you write a better first chapter. Episode #489: Supporting Characters and […]

17 Eco-Friendly Gifts for Writers This Christmas

If you’re like me, you may have already spent a lot of time this year searching “eco-friendly gifts for writers” or “eco-friendly gifts for book lovers.” If you found the available suggestions a little wanting, never fear. This year, I have a roundup of fun suggestions for writing- and book-themed gifts that are also mindful […]

Black Friday Special: 25% off the Outlining Your Novel Workbook Software

This Black Friday weekend, you can use the code OUTLINE to grab my Outlining Your Novel Workbook software at a special holiday discount of 25% its normal price of $40. Start Outlining Your Best Book Today As a reader of my blog, you can access a special 25% discount code for my Outlining Your Novel Workbook software. Just […]

surroundings

How to Choose the Right Antagonist for Any Type of Story

Here’s how to choose the right antagonist for your story. You know “If I Didn’t Have You”—that song John Goodman and Billy Crystal belt out at the end of Monsters, Inc.? It’s this total bromance duet about the undying friendship of our two favorite monsters. But pretty much every lyric in there could also be […]

How to Know Which Parts of Your Story Readers Will Like Best (It Isn’t Always What You Think)

You want readers to like your story. You want to give them something to love on every single page. But it’s so much easier said than done. How can you know—really know—which parts of your story readers will like and which will have them yawning and skipping ahead? So many stories, in all mediums, hit […]

A Challenge to Write Life-Changing Fiction (+Giveaway)

Stories have intentions. That wonderful idea was just one of many nuggets I found myself highlighting in what has so far turned out to be my surprise read of the year—noted literary agent Donald Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction. Like many of you, I cut my teeth on Maass’s now-classic Writing the Breakout Novel, but […]

struggling to be creative

Are You Struggling to Be Creative? This Might Be Why

I talk to my wonderful mother on the phone every night. We talk about everything from health to books to psychology to faith to whatever might be making us grumpy at the moment. This week while discussing health and diet, she shared something she’d read that said she was now at the beginning of the […]

character's inner conflict

Creating Your Character’s Inner Conflict: Want vs. Need

Man vs. Self—it’s the most archetypal of all stories. This is because all stories are ultimately rooted in the primal and personal struggle of a character’s inner conflict. As individuals, our conflicts with others or the world itself are almost inevitably either reflections or projections of our inner conflicts—our cognitive dissonances, our conflicting wants and […]