Know Your Own Story: Write a Novel Manifesto

You need a novel manifesto. Why? Because you’re never going to be completely objective about your stories. Trust me. You’re just too emotionally involved, too attached to your characters, too excited about your plot twists, too tickled by your snarky dialogue. And the only thing wrong with any of that is that it can make you lose sight […]

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 […]

What Do People Think of You When Reading Your Book?

What Do People Think of You When Reading Your Book?

In her wonderful book 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Jane Smiley, commented that “readers don’t care what the author thinks.” She meant, of course, that readers don’t want the author to intrude himself and his own beliefs upon the story. Indeed, isn’t one of the cardinal rules of fiction that the author […]

Subtext: The Art of Iceberging

Sometimes the most powerful writing isn’t so much about what’s said as what isn’t said. If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as […]

the all-important link between theme and character progression

The All-Important Link Between Theme and Character Progression

Theme is a slippery concept. The prevailing wisdom among writers is that if you apply any deliberate force to your theme, you’ll end up with a heavy-handed Aesop’s fable. On the other hand, a story without a theme is shallow escapism at best and an unrealistic flop at worst. Theme is arguably the single most […]

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 […]