Author Archives: Writing Coach

About Writing Coach

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Contrasting and Condensing Characters: Two Sides to One Coin

Good characterization is an enigma: it happens in the minutia, with the details we choose for our cast members, but it also happens on the macro level, with how we put those details together. I’d like to share two techniques … Continue reading

Posted in Character Traits, Characters, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 6 Comments

Saggy Middle? Use Conflict to Nip and Tuck It

When I get a new story idea, I fly into the start of it with as much gusto as a kid in a candy store. I’m filled with the buzz of ‘newness’ and the anticipation of where the story might … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Editing Tips, Middles, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Villains, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

Story Structure in a Flash

Story structure can sometimes be difficult to wrap our minds around; there are so many different structures, all with different terminology and slightly different meanings. But today I’m going to hopefully simplify things by covering how I view story structure—in … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Endings, Openings, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Villains, Writing Craft | 3 Comments

How Should I Publish My Book?

Do you aspire to write a book and be a published author one day? If so, you are not alone. According to Joseph Epstein, author, essayist, short-story writer, and editor, “81 percent of Americans feel that they have a book … Continue reading

Posted in Publishing and Self Publishing, Resident Writing Coach | 12 Comments

The Emotionally Intelligent Writer

I’m a psychologist, so I like to believe there are a set of characteristics that can predict author success. Sure, like any subset of the population—and I’m going to define ‘successful authors’ as those who generate a full-time income from … Continue reading

Posted in Marketing, Promotion, Resident Writing Coach, Social Networking, The Business of Writing, Time Management, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude | 13 Comments

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Novelty

In the first post of my four-part series, I introduced ANTS, my framework for helping storytellers make strategic choices that increase reader engagement. ANTS stands for the effects a storyteller should seek to cultivate in their story: attachment, novelty, tension, and satisfaction. … Continue reading

Posted in Cliches, Reader Interest, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments

Layering Character for Believable Fiction

Layering: the deepest, richest, most compelling aspect of character  We hear a lot of talk about “layering” as a storytelling device. The more layers a character has, the more complex and individual they are, allowing authors to sidestep cliché and create … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Story Threads: Fixing Rips in Our Story

As we write, we weave our characters, plot, dialogue, action, narrative, backstory, etc. together to create a full picture for our readers. However, during the revision process, we might have to rip through our carefully-constructed story. We might need to … Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

Does Every Lead Character Need An Arc?

At a Bouchercon some years ago, Lee Child was part of a panel on characters in thrillers. An audience member asked him a question about character change. “Every character has to have an arc, right?” “Why?” Child said. “There doesn’t … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Endings, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 14 Comments

Look Forward, Not Backward, to Pull the Reader In

A lot of writers have the tendency to look “backward” when writing. They might use a lot of flashbacks, they might have a character think “back” on things, or they may simply refer to events that happened in the past. … Continue reading

Posted in Empathy, Experiments, Flashbacks, Pacing, Reader Interest, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 20 Comments