The Great Novel-Writing Checklist (Just in Time for NaNoWriMo!)

I adore lists. They bring order to the chaos of my brain and allow me to rest in the knowledge that even if I don’t remember everything I have to do, the list remembers [spoken in an epic Jeremy Irons bass]. This is why today I’m going to share you with you my ultimate novel-writing checklist—and […]

Creating Character Arcs Workbook Launch

Introducing the Creating Character Arcs Workbook!

All you need to create a solid story is a solid character arc. If you can do that, chances are good you’ve also written a book that will give readers a solid experience with story structure and theme. This is why the study and practical execution of character arcs has become one of my primary […]

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 […]

It’s Here! Creating Character Arcs Audio Book

It’s my pleasure to announce, to all of you who have been waiting for it, that the Creating Character Arcs audio book is now available, narrated once again by the amazing Sonja Field. I’ve had this unabridged audio version in the works ever since the paperback and e-book versions of Creating Character Arcs came out last winter—which apparently […]

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 […]

It’s Here! My Brand-New Writing Book: Creating Character Arcs!

If you’re writing tight plots, beautiful prose, and engaging characters—and yet your stories still don’t feel as if they’re gelling, you may yet be missing what is arguably the single most important piece of your storytelling puzzle. Maybe your characters aren’t engaging, despite your best efforts. Or maybe they’re following transformative personal journeys, but those journeys always end up […]

How to Structure Your Story’s Outline (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 7)

Story outline and story structure—are they different terms describing the same thing? This is a question I frequently receive, and the answer is, “No, they’re completely different concepts and tools.” But learning how to structure your story’s outline is a crucial part of the preparation process. So what’s the difference between outlining and structuring? Outlining is a process, in […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outlining (How to Put Your Story Pieces Together)

3 Tips for Weaving Together Your Story’s Pieces (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 6)

Figuring out how to outline a novel is not a linear process. Particularly in the early brainstorming stages, outlining is not a simple progression from Step A to Step B. Your brain is going to be bouncing all over the place: Step A makes you realize something about Step Z, which makes you realize something about […]

The Nanowrimo Guide to Outilining (the First 4 Questions to Ask Yourself)

Start Your Outline With These 4 Questions (How to Outline for NaNoWriMo, Pt. 2)

“Where do you start your outline?” is a question I often receive. Now, if the obvious answer “start at the beginning” were, in fact, the right answer, no one would be asking this. The reason writers ask this question is because, when properly approached, outlines are anything but linear—which can make the “beginning” rather hard to identify. Whether you’re […]

Don’t Know Your Story’s Theme? Take a Look at Your Character’s Arc

What separates a good story from a great one? We might throw out a lot of opinions, but mine is this: Your story’s theme is what will raise it above the pack, out of mere entertainment into something that sticks with readers, impacts their lives, and maybe even challenges them to grow. Awesomesauce!, you say. […]