Category Archives: Uncategorized

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 | 9 Comments

Occupation Thesaurus Entry: Glassblower

Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 14 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

Introducing…the Occupation Thesaurus!

Let’s say you’re at a party, and you meet someone new. The small talk begins. If you want to learn more about them, what’s one of the first things you ask? “So, what do you do?” Asking this question can … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 75 Comments

Get Your Mind Right: An Easy Trick for Nipping Creative Fear in the Bud

The funny and talented Sarah Moore is back today to help us get over our fear of creating. As writers, we have a lot of challenges to face, and this is one that we really need to beat into submission … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 7 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

The Emotional Wound Thesaurus Releases Soon. Will You Help Us?

It’s that time again: a new thesaurus book is coming! Why? Because we believe The Emotional Wound Thesaurus is the writing guide you’ve been waiting for. Great fiction relies on deep, authentic characters who have needs and desires readers can … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 24 Comments

Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction

Help me welcome one of our favorite people, Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy). She has a great post on the importance of providing characters with stake-heavy choices, so please read on. 🙂  Choices drive every single conflict in a novel. The protagonist … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, High Stakes, Pacing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

Want to Find the REAL Story? Ignore Your Instincts

Guys. I’ve fallen in love with this essay by Emily Ruskovich. It so beautifully captures the author’s process of how stories evolve, how they morph from a single image, feeling, or idea into a full-fledged story—if we just let it lead us to … Continue reading

Posted in Short Stories, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 20 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