Category Archives: Resident Writing Coach

Fast-Draft Writing for NaNoWriMo and Every Other Month

I am an advocate of intentional writing, which almost always means slow writing, but sometimes it makes sense to write a fast draft of a book – if, for example, you are participating in NaNoWriMo, have a chunk of time … Continue reading

Posted in NaNoWriMo Strategy & Support, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 12 Comments

Writing to the Beat: Translating Story Beats to Any Genre

Readers of my blog know I’m a big fan of beat sheets, even creating a beat sheet for romance stories. Because of that, writers ask me what beats they should include in their mystery, thriller, or *insert any genre here* … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

Using the Novel Journal for Writing Breakthroughs

I was at a Bouchercon some years ago and did a panel with some other thriller authors. Before it began we were interacting with some people in the audience, and a woman in the front row made a funny comment … Continue reading

Posted in Experiments, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 25 Comments

How to Keep a Short Story Short

Part of constraining a short story to its simplest form is to observe the convention of its length. Edgar Allen Poe said it should aim for a single effect on the reader and should be of a length that could … Continue reading

Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Short Stories, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

Struggling with (and Regaining) Confidence in Your Writing

Every writer’s toolbox is unique, containing the techniques, reference books, personal library, and lessons or “best practices” we’ve acquired over time. But there’s one tool that all writers need despite their target audience, genre, or years of experience. It’s just … Continue reading

Posted in Motivational, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude | 25 Comments

Making Characters Stuck in the Background Pop Out

Maybe you have had some of the experiences I’ve had when writing a manuscript, one of which is finding yourself with a character–could be a side character, a secondary character, or even a viewpoint character–who seems to be sort of … Continue reading

Posted in Character Flaws, Character Traits, Characters, Description, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Suspense in Stories…the Big Tease

Suspense is one of the storyteller’s biggest teases. It’s a state of waiting, of growing unease in the reader. Most stories consist of raising questions and delaying the answers. Suspense in its purest form heightens that sense of uncertainty. This … Continue reading

Posted in High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 15 Comments

How to Add Meaningful Subplots to Your Novel

Many people are familiar with subplots. They are those side stories that give a novel’s plot depth. A subplot may involve the main character or minor characters, but they enrich the story if done well. Subplots are everywhere. We see … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Subtext, Theme, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments

How to Boost Your Self-Editing Superpowers: The Four Perspectives

A vast number of writers are afraid of their own power. They fall prey to listening to what other people think their story should be—writing friends, Twitter pals, critique partners, the English teacher next door, agents they’ve met for a … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

A Question of When: Indicating Time Passage in Our Stories

Today, we’re going to discuss a question a WHW reader previously submitted to the Resident Writing Coaches. Nancy C. asked: “I would like to know more about how to show the passing of time between scenes (other than dates or … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Guest Post, Pacing, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 Comments