Category Archives: Resident Writing Coach

Let Your Characters Live and Breathe

In my collection of writing books is a 1919 title, A Manual of the Art of Fiction, by one Clayton Meeker Hamilton, a professor at Columbia University. It’s a bit academic, but I’ve found some gems in it. Among them … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 19 Comments

Using Real-World Locations to Ground Your Story’s Setting

Last month I went on a writing retreat in Iceland. (Yes, Iceland! In fact, you can learn more about the annual Iceland Writers Retreat here.) It sounds like a remote location for a writing event; and when I first told … Continue reading

Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Setting, Uncategorized | 27 Comments

Complex Characters and the Power of Contradiction

You’ve likely seen countless posts and resources related to creating great characters, but almost all of them seem to be lacking in one aspect I’ve found to be perhaps the most powerful: giving your characters contradictions. Some might read this and … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 10 Comments

Want To Grow As A Writer? Transform Your Critique Group

My  mentor Art Arthur, a successful Hollywood screenwriter for five decades, once told me, “There are four kinds of Hollywood producers: the ones that say, ‘Here’s what I don’t like about your script,’ the ones that say, ‘Here’s what I … Continue reading

Posted in Critique Groups, Critiquing & Critiques, Reader Feedback, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Uncategorized, Writing Groups | 20 Comments

Want to Write Romance? Layer Your Scenes for Success

When I began considering writing a romance novel, I asked some of my romance author friends about structure. I had no idea that romance novels, across the board, followed a basic structure that differed in many ways from traditional novel … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Resident Writing Coach, Romance, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 14 Comments

How to Rescue a Book in Danger of Dying

Some experts claim that as many as 82% of adults dream of writing a book. They have a story they are burning to tell or a message they are dying to convey. The advent of self-publishing has given all these … Continue reading

Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

What Does It Mean To “Raise the Stakes”?

Yay! I’m happy to be back at WHW as a Resident Writing Coach. *waves* Last time I visited, we discussed how understanding the interconnectedness of our story elements can help us with revisions, and today we’re going to dig deeper … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, High Stakes, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 Comments

Conflict and Suspense Belong in Every Kind of Novel

What is the goal of the novel? Is it to entertain? Teach? Preach? Stir up anger? Change the world? Make the author a lot of money? It can be any of these things, but in the end, none of these … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 14 Comments

Using Text-to-Speech Software as an Editing Tool

When I was preparing to edit my novel last year, one technique I considered was reading each chapter out loud. That way, I could hear the words instead of simply seeing them, and gauge whether sentences or paragraphs were too … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Resident Writing Coach, Software and Services | 38 Comments

The Secret of a Successful Mystery: Making the Reader a Participator

A lot of great stories have a mystery in them. The mystery may not be the primary focus; it might be the secondary, or the mystery might be so minor it lasts only a few chapters. But whatever the case, … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 4 Comments