Search Results for: theme

Learn How to Project (and Find) Yourself in Your Writing

Have you ever found yourself looking up from the pages of a book and wondering how much the words you’re reading are a reflection of the author’s own personality and life? We’re all familiar with famous examples of autobiographical fiction (such as Dickens’s David Copperfield) in which it’s easy to draw parallels between the make-believe […]

Outlining Your Novel The 5-Step Gameplan

Outline Your Novel: The 5-Step Game Plan

Generally speaking, writers fall into two different categories: outliners and non-outliners (or, as my critique partner Linda Yezak has dubbed them, “seat-of-the-pantsters”). I’m an outliner. Mostly, I outline because I’m lazy. I hate rewriting; I hate watching my burst of pride and relief at the end of a novel dissipate in a realization of a hole-riddled […]

Secret Storytelling Weapon: The Book’s Back Cover

What’s the first thing most readers look at when they pick up a book? If they’re anything like me, their attention is first snagged by the cover art, the title, and the author name, and from there they flip the book over and a take a gander at the back cover or the inside jacket […]

3 Ways Colors Can Transform Your Writing

Arguably, no single descriptive attribute can transform your writing as quickly as color. We can spend hundreds of words laboring over a description of a springtime meadow or a shipwrecked boat, when a single color is all it takes to burst the scene upon the reader’s eye with perfect clarity. Consider the following quotations: Then, still […]

the three must-have story elements action humor and relationships

3 Must-Have Story Elements: Humor, Action, and Relationships

Allow me to be radical for a moment, and reduce the art of fiction to three basic story elements. Take a gander at your bookshelf, maybe even pull a couple titles, and see if you can’t pick out the common threads. (Presumably, your personal library of favorites doesn’t contain any shoddy writing or weak themes, blatant […]

writing rules we dont need no stinkin rules

Writing Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules!

Art has to bear up under the strange dichotomy of both following set patterns and breaking those patterns. Writing is certainly no different. The so-called Writing Rules  are what make stories work. And, probably more importantly, they’re what get authors published. Readers and publishers alike expect stories to follow certain parameters. Authors are supposed to […]

How a Writing Warm-Up Routine Can Help You Write Better

Writers are, in a sense, athletes. We hurdle the high walls of writer’s block, we tackle mountains of research, we sprint through rapid-fire action scenes, and sometimes we even manage to hit a home run or two. So what makes us think that, unlike physical athletes, we can force our brains into action without taking […]

Character: The Most Important Part of Your Story’s Beginning

If all of writing was as difficult as the first 50 pages, I probably would have wimped out years ago and found myself a new vocation. (Something easy and safe—like being a Walmart greeter or maybe the collector of the quarters from Laundromat machines.) Despite the fact that I already know every plot turn that […]

how to write wildly original stories

How to Write Wildly Original Stories

Ideas swarm from the writer’s brain like bees from a hive. At any given moment, most of us have snippets of inspiration floating around in the netherworld between our conscious and unconscious. Some of those ideas we develop, some we abandon; some will turn out to be gold, some will be trash. We’ll probably never […]

why writers should have a god complex

Why Writers (Should) Have a God Complex

“You come upon the person the author put there. … beside the small running river where a boy is weeping and no one comes… and you have to watch without saying anything he can hear. …”—Marie Howe Every author is the god of his own little world. No story is the same; each is a […]