Category Archives: Writing Lessons

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

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

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

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

No Shortcuts, Please: Myths and Misconceptions of Villains & Mental Health

I love the internet–I get to meet all sorts of wonderful people. Today I’m happy to welcome Sacha Black, who knows a heck of a lot about the baddie in your story…someone more important than some writers may realize. This … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Guest Post, Show Don't Tell, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 23 Comments

Angela Looks Back: Why We Must Invest If We Want a Writing Career

One thing I am terrible at is taking the time to glance back. You know, pause and think about how far I’ve come on this writing journey of mine. Usually my gaze is fixed ahead on whatever is next and … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Critique Groups, Critiquing & Critiques, Motivational, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 36 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

Keep It Fresh: 10 Ways To Show Your Character’s Emotions

Years ago, Becca and I grumbled about how our characters always expressed emotion the same way. My big thing? Frowning. Did my characters EVER know how to frown. They were savage at it. Becca’s characters? Smilers, all of them. SO … Continue reading

Posted in Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Dialogue, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Experiments, One Stop For Writers, Setting Thesaurus Guides, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments