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8 Ways to ripen Your Stories

8 Reasons to Let Your Stories Ripen

Whenever you come up with a wonderful new story idea, it can be tempting to immediately sit down at the keyboard and start bringing it to life on the page. But that’s not always the best way to turn that sparkling new idea into a worthwhile and enduring story. In his book How to Write […]

5 Ways to Seek Multimedia Writing Inspiration

5 Ways to Seek Multi-Media Inspiration for Your Writing

We live in a world saturated with artistic creativity. For writers, this means inspiration is all over the place. All you have to do is open a magazine, read a book, turn on the television, or switch to a new radio station. In my book Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration, I specifically touch upon how […]

How to Strengthen Your Story with Proper Framing

How to Strengthen Your Story With Proper Framing

Framing is a useful, but too often overlooked, technique that gives your story a sense of cohesion and directs readers’ loyalties and attention. What Is Framing? Frames bookend a story with a definitive opening scene (that introduces readers to pertinent characters, settings, and themes) and a closing scene (that brings the story to a resonant […]

5 Steps to Dazzling Minor Characters

5 Steps to Writing Minor Characters That Dazzle

In writing minor characters, authors must provide the color and conflict that fill the protagonist’s worlds. Because minor characters aren’t always confined to the necessities of a character arc or the demands of the plot, they often have the opportunity to be some of the most exciting personalities on the page. In my own stories, […]

The Magnificent Seven Links

In a recent ProBlogger post, Darren Rowse issued the “7 Links Challenge,” he urges bloggers to post “7 posts that fit into 7 themes.” Since I’m entertaining guests this weekend, I thought I’d take a break from my usual Sunday post and have fun with Darren’s challenge. Enjoy! Link #1: My first post. The oldest […]

Whap! Pow! Zing!—How Can You Tell if Your Story Has Emotional Resonance?

Whap! Pow! Zing!—How Can You Tell if Your Story Has Emotional Resonance?

The magic ingredient in fiction is that special something that socks readers right in the gut and leaves them breathless with joy or sorrow (or maybe wabi-sabi, the Japanese view of beauty in imperfection). We’ve all read books that were perfectly executed, but somehow lacked that magic. For example, I thoroughly enjoyed the word craft […]

Why Your Character’s Motive Matters

How to Find Powerful Motives for Your Characters

You will often be judged by what you do. To a large extent, you are what you do. However, because others’ perceptions of your actions don’t penetrate to the reasons behind your actions,  you will often be judged incorrectly, or even unjustly. It’s no different for your characters. In a book, as much as in life, a person’s […]

Should Stories Be Soapboxes?

Should Stories Offer Messages?

Should stories offer messages? Common wisdom insists fiction is meant to entertain, not preach. The novel isn’t a soapbox for religious, political, social, or philosophical views. If you try to use it as such, you’re likely to sacrifice your stories and alienate your readers. And yet, ironically enough, many of the world’s greatest and most […]

Take Full Advantage oTake Full Advantage of Your Premise

Take Full Advantage of Your Story’s Premise

How many times have you been thrilled by a book’s amazing plot idea—only to be disappointed because the author never took advantage of the full potential of his story’s premise? Coming up with plot ideas? Easy. Setting the characters in motion? Also easy. What’s also regrettably easy, however, is watching helplessly (and sometimes obliviously) as the […]

4 Tips for Choosing the Most Immersive Story Settings

One of the joys of fiction is its ability to transport us to faraway places. Just by cracking the covers of a book, we can visit the far reaches of Bombay or São Paulo and the imaginative wonders of made-up worlds and galaxies. We plan our story settings meticulously, researching details and creating spectacular backdrops. […]