7 Misconceptions About Being a Writer

Like any good story, the writing life is a tale of deceptive depth. At first glance, it offers up a shiny, artsy, fun cover. Become a Writer! its title beckons, and its first chapters lure us in by fulfilling all these initial promises. But the deeper we get, the further we go, the more we realize […]

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing:

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing

As writers, we have the opportunity to live lives of creativity, in which we get to craft whole worlds that conform to our every whim. Whether you’re writing your first book or your thirtieth, it’s always going to be a heady experience. But this comes with certain inherent pitfalls. Sometimes all this power can go […]

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 Fast Must You Write To Be A Successful Author?

How to Write Faster (and Why Maybe You Shouldn’t)

Today, I’m going to be contradictory: first, I’m going to show you how to master a killer skill (namely, how to write faster)–and then I’m going to tell you why you shouldn’t use it. There are two reasons you might be interested in learning how to write faster: 1. Your daily word count is abysmal and you’re […]

How To Know It's Time To Write The End

How to Know When to Write The End

I wrote my first book when I was fourteen–and I had no idea when to write The End. I printed the manuscript in December 1999 (just in case Y2K crashed the world and I lost my beautiful story). This was a great accomplishment, of course. I’d just finished writing a book. Except, it turned out, I wasn’t […]

5 (More) Ways to Trim Your Book's Word Count, Pt. 2 of 2

5 (More) Ways to Trim Your Book’s Word Count, Pt. 2 of 2

For every author desperate to trim your book’s word count, there’s another author who insists every word is precious. After all, a book wouldn’t have turned out long if it didn’t need to be long. Sometimes that true. If Charles Dickens had whacked away at his word count (not that he would, since he was paid by the […]

How to Trim Your Book's Word Count

5 Ways to Trim Your Book’s Word Count, Pt. 1 of 2

This is not a post for the writers who have trouble writing books that aren’t long enough. This is not a post for writers who say they’re going to write a short story and actually end up writing a short story. Nope, this is a post for writers who set out to write a nice little 100,000-word […]

How to Win NaNo Using Totally Doable Daily and Weekly Writing Goals

How to Win NaNo Using Totally Doable Daily and Weekly Writing Goals

What’s the one and only key to winning National Novel Writing Month? For that matter, what’s the key to writing a novel to its finish and being a successful writer, day in and day out, for the rest of your life? If you cheated by peeking at the title, then you’re probably already guessing “writing […]

Word Count Woe: What Should You Do With Your Very Long Manuscript?

Word Count Woe: What Should You Do With Your Very Long Manuscript?

Sometimes being the author of a really long novel is no fun at all. It’s not something we talk about a lot, but it’s true, isn’t it? Your friend with the 70,000-word novel (fairly typical) has a relatively easy time getting feedback from friends and family, while you have to beg and plead for someone to […]

3 Reasons You Should Consider Writing a Novella Right Now

3 Reasons You Should Consider Writing a Novella Right Now

When I first took to creative writing, all I ever heard about writing a novella was how I shouldn’t. Houses won’t publish them. Agents don’t represent them. All of this caused me to think it was because readers won’t read them. I know the first two are correct. The third point? Not so much. Publishers […]