5 Tips for Writing a Likable "Righteous" Character

16 Ways to Make Your Setting a Character in Its Own Right

Writers hear it all the time: you must make your setting a character in its own right. But golly boy howdy, what does that even mean? It means: the setting is supposed to come to life—to be rich, vibrant, catalytic. It means: the details of the places in your story are supposed to leap off the […]

12 Tips for Writing and Releasing Collaborative Book Bundles

12 Tips for Writing and Releasing Collaborative Book Bundles

Book bundles are a fantastic way to expand your platform and your writing opportunities. I have collaborated with other authors on five difficult book bundles—and have at least two more in the works. The first collection, Thirty-One Devotions for Authors, included—you guessed it—thirty-one authors,  ranging from some of the most well-known among Christian authors to […]

Why the Most Important Element of Writing is Voice

Writing Voice: 6 Things You Need to Know to Improve It

Writing a book isn’t just a discovery of the story, it’s also a discovery of yourself. Who are you, really? The answers you find appearing on the screen with each word you type can be surprising. And nowhere is the truth about an author revealed more unequivocally than when you open your literary mouth, loosen […]

Learn Scrivener Fast Webinar Replay Now Available (Plus Freebies!)

Learn Scrivener Fast Webinar Replay Now Available!

Thanks to all of you who were able to attend the free Learn Scrivener Fast webinar with Joseph Michael yesterday! This is the fourth annual webinar I’ve done with Joe, due to the enthusiasm we keep getting for Joe’s excellent overview of how to use and get the most out of the wonderful writing software […]

Free Scrivener Template: How to Structure Your Story

Love Scrivener? Me too. This insanely comprehensive word processor, designed to help authors organize all their writing notes and files in one place, is arguably the single best digital tool for writers ever created. These days, I use it exclusively for my fiction (buh-bye, Word), and it is constantly helping me refine my approach to […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes (Flat Plots)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 60: Flat Plots

One of the most deflating criticisms authors hear is that “they’re writing flat plots.” Not only does this (seem to) indicate a certain lack of personal depth, it’s also a sign the story is boring and forgettable. Fortunately, there’s no reason you need ever fall prey to this pitfall. In our last installment of the Most […]

6 Questions to Help You Choose the Right POV

6 Questions to Help You Choose the Right POV

Stories are defined by their narrators. Narrating characters implicitly tell us whose story this is. More than that, they determine which facets of plot and theme will be emphasized. How do they do this?  By also determining which elements will be eliminated or sidelined. In short, figuring out how to choose the right POV for your […]

Your 3-Step Plan for Creating A Novel Outline

Your 3-Step Plan for Outlining a Novel

Today, I’m guest posting over on Writers Helping Writers, with the post “Your 3-Step Plan for Outlining a Novel.” Here’s an excerpt: There’s only one reason writers ever talk about outlining. It’s a tool that’s supposed to make our jobs easier. But it isn’t always clear how to accomplish that. Do you just start writing a list […]

How to Calculate Your Book's Length Before Writing

How to Calculate Your Book’s Length Before Writing

Story structure is all about timing. It’s about making sure your rhythm and pacing align for maximum impact, both in keeping readers glued to the page and in resonating emotionally. The reason this timing works is that it is largely instinctive, for both writers and readers. When I first started learning about story structure, I pulled […]

How to Ace the First Act in Your Sequel

Part 15 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Sequels are special. On the one hand, they still must follow all the same basic rules of good storytelling. But on the other hand, they both simplify and complicate various aspeof that approach. While the burden of introducing important elements (characters, settings, conflicts) is […]