What Non-Fiction Authors Can Teach Novelists

Do you aspire to write a novel as breathtaking as Huckleberry Finn? Mark Twain cheated. He brought to his fiction a skill set he developed under his given name, Samuel Clemens, as a journalist. Twain the novelist knew that a riveting opening, skillful incorporation of dialogue, and compelling details are all tools he could mine […]

6 Questions to Help You Write Multiple-Character Scenes

Three’s a crowd—especially when authors have to juggle three or more characters in a single scene. One character? No problem. Two characters? Eh, that’s in the bag. But three or—heaven forbid—more characters? How do we juggle scenes in which multiple characters are all supposed to be acting and talking? How do we keep a dozen […]

A Must-Know Tip for Writing Slam-Bang Finales

The ending of your novel is make or break territory for your readers. If you’ve convinced them to keep reading this far, you need to have something extra special in store for them come the end. If you disappoint readers in your story’s Climax, you risk losing those readers forever. So how can you dazzle […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Character Overload

When dealing with large casts of characters—or even just scenes that require the rapid-fire introduction of more than two or three characters—readers sometimes find themselves in grave danger of “character overload.” The common wisdom is that there’s no such thing as too many good characters. But, in fact, too many characters can become way too […]

Should You Put Dream Sequences in Your Story?

It’s generally accepted that agents and editors dislike seeing dream sequences in your story. This is because a story opening that features a dream is a story opening that almost always fails to present a strong hook, character, setting, conflict, or frame. Although there are certainly exceptions to this rule, your wisest move is generally […]

Keep Slow Scenes Moving With Tension and Foreboding

Not every scene in your stories can be set at a fever pitch of excitement. Just like your own life, the lives of your characters need to balance the tense, dangerous, exciting moments with moments of calm reflection, everyday activities, and seemingly safe retreats. Without these slower scenes, your book runs the risk of feeling […]

The Pros and Cons of Writing Descriptions

The Pros and Cons of Writing Description

“Nothing bores me faster than description.” You’ve probably heard readers make that comment. Perhaps you’ve even made it yourself. In the face of the modern impatience with pages (or even paragraphs) of descriptive narrative, it’s easy for writers to overreact and decide to avoid description altogether. After all, you can’t afford to do anything that […]

Use Motion to Spice up Your Scenes

Use Motion to Spice up Your Scenes

Ever had one of those days when you sit down at your computer, only to find your character twiddling his thumbs? I was having one of those days last week. Chapter seven of my work-in-progress features all kinds of exciting conflict, including a long-awaited confrontation between two friends-turned-enemies. I got to introduce a fabulous new […]

rewriting made easy

The 6 Best Ways to Rewrite Your Book

Everybody who loves to rewrite your book, raise your hand! No takers? Yeah, that’s pretty much what I thought. In my experience of ten novels and hundreds of short stories, rewriting ranks way at the bottom of the writing process–somewhere down there with paper cuts and insomnia. By the time you finish your beautiful story, all you […]

How to Write Scenes That Matter

How to Write Scenes That Matter

One of the single most important decisions in storytelling is one you make every day, maybe even several times a day. It all comes to: how to write scenes that matter to your story. Imagine your story as a line of dominoes and each individual scene as a single domino. If you expect your line […]