If you want to make it as a writer, there are tons of tips and tricks out there that will help you succeed, and many things that others will argue are a necessity for improving and strengthening your craft. An in-person writers’ group is one of those things. When you work on writing with others, … More The Writers’ Group from Hell
If you’ve ever done NaNoWriMo, you’ve probably noticed that some people reach the goal not in a matter of weeks, but a matter of days. My feelings towards those writers are conflicted. On the one hand, I’m jealous. I mean, if I could write my draft in a week instead of a month, making it … More 100k in 2 Weeks: What You Need to Know
I’ve heard from several people lately that in order to create fear in your writing or a drive for the reader to know more, writers need to remember to include a good sense of mystery or the unknown. This camp includes J. J. Abrams, who is known for loving the idea of the “mystery box”–something … More Fear: Mystery. . . or Knowledge?
Think of Charles Dickens’ classic novella, A Christmas Carol. Imagine the end, after Scrooge has reformed, if a few changes were made. Let’s say Bob Cratchit insists on working on Christmas anyway because throughout the story he has been hardened by his life and now sees no reason to go back. When Scrooge surprises his nephew, … More Character Arcs: When You Don’t Need Them
Things have changed a lot for me over the past couple years. I went from being a hopeful author with no books published to speak of to being an Amazon best-selling author and making guest appearances on blogs and podcasts. My book Automaton has already given out over seventy copies this month alone (despite having no … More The Myth of The Well-Written Bestseller
Plotting or pantsing: which one has the NaNo edge? … More Plotting or Pantsing?
As a writer, I try to do my best. I always work to improve my writing, to learn new strategies and techniques, and to make every book I write my best. But great writing isn’t something that can be developed by reading about it and studying other writers–mostly it comes from experience. This leads to … More The Important Role of Bad Fiction
In the world of hobby board gaming, there is a term that is frequently flung around when it comes to someone taking too long on his or her turn–AP, or analysis paralysis. Basically, analysis paralysis happens when a player feels the need to examine every upcoming possibility before deciding on a move or strategy. It … More Avoiding Writing Paralysis Due to Over-Analysis: Curated Post
Yeah, the title of this article is pretty bland, but the tips are surprisingly good. In an earlier post, I wrote about the importance of using background activities and cultural details to break the tedium of talking head scenes, like meals and board games, or even illnesses to give the characters something to do. UK … More How To Write Better Fiction: Curated Post
Writing your novel as a Word document might be simple, but it comes with a lot of risks. The file could be lost. Your computer could get smashed on by a visiting elephant. Or you could find yourself stuck for eight hours in an airport without access to your computer, wanting to write but not … More Showdown: Yarny vs. Litlift
Introducing the perfect writing formula! Three steps to writing and publishing the novel of your dreams! Ingredients: 2 cups flour 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1/4 tsp. salt 1 cup sugar 1 cup mayonnaise 1 tsp. vanilla extract 1 cup cold water Instructions: 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees … More 3 Steps to The Perfect Novel!
A few years ago, I found myself staring tensely at my computer screen, fingers hovering over the keyboard as I wrestled with a problem that every conservative writer must face when trying to keep fiction realistic. One of my characters was going to swear. And I did not want to write a swear word. What … More Sex, Swearing, and What You Don’t Want to Write
Routines are popular among creative writers, and for good reason. They enforce the habit of writing and help you stay productive and consistent in your work. But they’re also tragically easy to fall out of, and finding a routine that works for you can take a lot of time and energy that you would rather … More How to Set up A Productive Writing Routine
That’s it. I’ve had it. I’ve seen her too many times on the big screen, small screen and in the pages of otherwise awesome books. I’ve even seen her in some of my own writing. The Strong Female Lead is dominating Western culture, and she needs to die. I’m not saying that your main character can’t … More Why Your Strong Female Heroine Needs to Die
From the fan-fiction loving high schooler to the serious literary master, almost every writer has a graveyard of stillborn novels. It just happens. Some stories don’t work out. Some run out of steam only a few pages in. Some survive the drafting but fall apart as soon as you begin editing. Some just die on … More Stillborn Novels (And What to Do about Them)
Some people say writers’ block doesn’t exist. It’s an excuse for laziness, one of the weakest reasons why not to write. But I know better. The past few days especially have been hard for me. I’m finally moving on from my NaNoWriMo book as it enters the advanced editing and less creative stages, and I … More 5 Ways to Kill Writers’ Block (After It’s Started)
It’s amazing how many people have started writing a novel at some point in their lives. There always seems to be a stack of papers in the attic or a mysteriously titled word document that could have been a book, but there were too many reasons not to finish it: “No one wants to read … More 14 Reasons You Need to Finish Your Novel
Song, poetry, and regional or foreign accents are only a few of the tough calls you have to make in the process of writing a novel. Do you include them or don’t you dare? Little effects and “writing within writing” can bring your imaginary world to life that much more, but it can also give … More Why Your Readers Will Never Know You’re A Bad Writer
A novel can only be as perfect as the person (or people) who write it, and no matter how incredible a work of fiction can seem, there are mistakes, bad choices, and strings left untied. Fortunately it’s possible to learn from past mistakes to do better in the future, so I thought I’d jot down … More My Biggest Novelling Fails
Writers don’t know when it happens, and usually only dedicated readers will notice, but one of the greatest tragedies that can befall a novel is when the plot lets down the characters. I don’t mean when bad things happen to the hero–I mean when a fascinating character is bursting with potential… and then falls flat. … More When Bad Stories Happen to Good Characters