Author Archives: Writing Coach

About Writing Coach

To find out more about this amazing Resident Writing Coach, visit our RWC page.

Rules? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rules

After we’ve been writing for a while, we’ve heard our share of writing rules. Sometimes we’re taught to avoid certain techniques, like prologues. Or we might be told that some storytelling approaches are too risky, such as using second-person point … Continue reading

Posted in Pacing, Plotting, Point of View, Uncategorized, Voice, Writing Craft | 25 Comments

Beginnings and Backstory

You will find writers who argue that there should be no backstory at all in your first chapters. Why not? Because, by definition, backstory is what has happened before your narrative opens, and you want to establish the action first, … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Editing Tips, Empathy, Openings, Uncategorized | 17 Comments

Character Arc and Narrative Arc

Character arc: someone living their life Narrative arc: the things that happen when someone lives their life When I worked with children, I’d always teach them the simple, zen fact: every sentence has a subject and verb. Someone does something. I’d tell … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Motivation, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Context, Text, and Subtext: What They Are and How They Help Storytelling

In writing tips, we talk about text a lot. But I feel like we don’t talk enough about context and subtext in this industry. Both are vital to good storytelling and often misunderstood or even mixed up. So today I … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Description, Dialogue, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 6 Comments

How to Write More Words, aka, Winning at NaNo

With so many stories bouncing around in a writer’s mind, it likely comes as no surprise that most writers seek to write more—or to be more efficient in the time they have to write. In the month of November, known … Continue reading

Posted in NaNoWriMo Strategy & Support, Time Management, Uncategorized, Writing Time | 8 Comments

How to Nail the First Three Pages

Let’s face it, talking about writing the first pages of a novel is stressful. It can strike terror into the heart of even the most seasoned writer, because as writers we all know how scarily narrow the window is, and … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 13 Comments

Create Killer Twists: Learn How to Redeem Your Villain

You might think a villain can’t be redeemed. After all, they’re sinister and twisted and think killing people is a post-dinner dessert choice. But even villains are people, and, no matter how coal-crusted it gets, they have a heart buried … Continue reading

Posted in Character Wound, Characters, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Villains | 23 Comments

Capturing Complex Emotion: A Writer’s Superpower

Our brain is driven by emotion. We may like to think we’re rational beings, applying the rules of logic calmly and sensibly to those little and not-so-little decisions, but our every thought, our whole perspective is colored by emotion. What … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Emotion, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 20 Comments

And…Action! Applying TV Lessons to Chapter Hooks

We’ve probably all heard the advice to end our scenes and chapters on a hook. At the end of every scene or chapter, readers might put down our book and decide against picking it up again, so it’s important to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Conflict, Experiments, Fear, Flashbacks, High Stakes, Resident Writing Coach, Series, Story Structure, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 8 Comments

Where’s Your Edge?

Some of my most enjoyable teaching experiences were with my friends Donald Maass and Christopher Vogler doing Story Masters, a four-day immersion in the craft of fiction. For my day of instruction, I started off showing a clip from the … Continue reading

Posted in Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Voice, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 2 Comments