Category Archives: Writing Craft

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

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

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

Finding Your Voice Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

A short while ago, I was contacted by someone working with Jerry B. Jenkins about him posting at our site. !! When a prolific and successful author reaches out to YOU, it’s kind of surreal, and you jump at the … Continue reading

Posted in Voice, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 7 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

One Simple Technique to Improve Your Writing in 10 Minutes a Day

Summer is a glorious time, isn’t it? Drinks on the deck, barbecues, hiking, travel, maybe a day (or three!) at the lake…it’s like a reward for working our butts off all year around. But, with more things competing for our … Continue reading

Posted in Experiments, Focus, Guest Post, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude, Writer's Block, Writing Craft, Writing Time | 12 Comments

Plotting for Pantsters

There are a lot of heated opinions about whether plotting or pantsing is the best way to write a story. As an avid plotter myself, I was curious to hear about Dario Ciriello’s process, which contains a little of both. If … Continue reading

Posted in Plotting | 31 Comments