Category Archives: Resident Writing Coach

Plot, Inner Change, Evocative Writing—What Really Rivets Readers?

Here’s a counterintuitive fact: Writers spend way too much time obsessing about “the writing.” They sweat over the words, the technique, the language, the flow, the use of metaphor, and hey, are there enough sensory details?  Fact: In and of … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Empathy, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft | 16 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

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 | 13 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

The Key Components of a Compelling Character (According to Psychology)

 We’re fascinated by our fellow humans. In fact, we have a profound desire to try and understand the thoughts and feelings bouncing around other people, the characters on TV…the hero introduced on your first page. From an evolutionary perspective, this … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Description, Emotion, Empathy, Motivation, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 27 Comments

How to Get Emotion Onto the Page

It is a truth universally acknowledged: you have to hook the reader right out of the starting gate. From the very first sentence your story must incite that delicious sense of urgency that makes readers have to know what happens next. But … Continue reading

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

Want Readers to Fall in Love With Your Hero? Create The Perfect Hero Lens

We writers worry about all sorts of things: traits, arcs, themes, motives etc. But even when we’ve got all of those things sorted, bridging the gap between the black ink and the reader’s heart can still require something more… That … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Point of View, Resident Writing Coach, Show Don't Tell, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 15 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