Category Archives: Resident Writing Coach

4 Keys to a Powerful Denouement

Often as writers, we put a lot of our focus on the starting, climax, and middle of a story, and the denouement or falling action may be somewhat of an afterthought. If you grew up like me, you were kind … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Arc, Characters, Endings, Motivation, Plotting, Reader Interest, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 7 Comments

Motivation for Character Arc: A Different Approach

When it comes to discovering and writing about your character’s motivation, there are a dozen different methods. We can get there by any number of roads—most of which originate in the planning stage. But what if the key to unlocking … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Motivation, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 5 Comments

Why Writers Shouldn’t Query Self-Published Books

Have you self-published a novel you had originally intended to send to literary agents (to see how it did)? Or, did you self-publish a novel, decide that publishing path wasn’t for you, and now want to send that book to … Continue reading

Posted in Agents, Foreign Rights, Marketing, Publishing and Self Publishing, Rejection, Resident Writing Coach, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Three Simple Questions That Will Unlock Your Story

Writers are the most powerful people on the planet. Yes, you! You have the power to change your readers in a more profound way than almost anyone else they encounter.  How? By allowing them to experience, first hand, the profound … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 4 Comments

Why Every Novel Needs a Sprinkling of Fear

You’d be forgiven for thinking that only horror books should contain an element of fear, but I’m here to challenge that thought by claiming that all books – regardless of genre – need a sprinkling of it. Why You Need … Continue reading

Posted in Emotion, Fear, Motivation, Pacing, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 19 Comments

Digging Deep: The Psychology of a Layered Story

Humans like complexity; puzzles, questions, layers. It fascinates us. My guess it’s because there are so many complex systems in nature that our brain needs to navigate successfully. Ecosystems, weather systems, the tax system…But the one that has the most … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Description, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Setting, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Theme, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Tension

This is the third post in my four-part series on ANTS, my framework for understanding what a story needs to keep readers engaged. Previously, I’ve covered attachment and novelty. Now it’s time to look at the big reason why stories … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Emotion, High Stakes, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

Story Goals: Are They Slowing Your Story’s Pace?

If we’ve spent any time learning about story craft, we know the importance of goals in our story. They affect every aspect of our story: Stories are about a problem to solve—a goal. Characters striving for something are more compelling. … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Characters, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 12 Comments

Stay Thirsty

I love a good ad campaign. When I started running a small publishing business years ago, I had to teach myself advertising and marketing. I read some classics on the subject, such as How to Write a Good Advertisement by Victor … Continue reading

Posted in Motivational, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized | 6 Comments

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 | 10 Comments