Category Archives: Resident Writing Coach

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 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

Meet Our Newest Resident Writing Coaches!

We’re heading into our third year of the Resident Writing Coach program, can you believe it? Writers Helping Writers is honored to host some of the best teachers of writing craft out there, bringing you a variety of voices and … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 6 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

The Art of “Skipping Around,” or Writing Out of Sequence

When other writers ask me if I’m a plotter or a pantser, I usually tell them, “I’m a little of both, but I’m also skip around.” By “skipping around,” I mean that I work on whatever scene I’m picturing clearest, … Continue reading

Posted in Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 30 Comments

Crafting a “Body Language Voice”

You’ve probably heard about “voice”–that elusive quality that so many editors, agents, and readers are drawn to. Years ago, I did a couple of posts about character voice, arguing that it’s made up of what the character says and how … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Emotion, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

Writing By Design Part 4: Contrast, or Light versus Dark

In earlier installments of this “Writing by Design” series, we’ve discussed how to use the constraints of space to lend a shape to your story, and we also looked at the importance of patterns in your writing, and when and … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Experiments, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments