Category Archives: Resident Writing Coach

6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes

Stakes are what are at risk in a story. It might be that the protagonist’s life is at risk, or perhaps a romantic relationship, or maybe the opportunity to go on a long-awaited trip (Hello, Covid!). But I find this … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

Best Self-Publishing Companies for Novels in 2020

If you are an aspiring or newbie author, you may be wondering where you can (or should) self-publish your novel and in what formats (hardcover, paperback, and/or ebooks). Or perhaps you are a veteran author who has been publishing books … Continue reading

Posted in Publishing and Self Publishing, Resident Writing Coach | 5 Comments

How To Research Mental Health and Trauma For Your Characters

Giving a character a trauma or mental health backstory seems like an easy way to add internal conflict to our characters – and it is. But where do you start that research? What should you be looking for? No one … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Wound, Characters, Flashbacks, research, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft | 13 Comments

What “Read More to Improve Your Writing” Really Means

Everyone says you should read a lot if you want to improve your writing. A blanket statement if ever I heard one.  Anyone can read. There are readers out there consuming 100, 200, and even more books a year. You … Continue reading

Posted in Experiments, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft | 20 Comments

Joining Forces: Harnessing the Power of Coauthoring

I always knew coauthoring had benefits – half the workload, and twice the platform to launch from are the obvious bonuses. Sure, you have to split your royalties, but you also share the costs. But I had reservations (how do … Continue reading

Posted in Collaboration, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 7 Comments

How To Avoid A Half-Baked Idea

Half-baked ideas are everywhere in the spec pile. But what does ‘half-baked’ mean? After all, whether a script reader, agent’s assistant or intern LIKES the idea behind a story is another matter. Let’s look to the dictionary to agree on … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Focus, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Story Structure, Time Management, Writer's Attitude, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 9 Comments

Character Introductions: Making the Right Impression

Many aspects of writing can be hard to get right, especially in our first draft. For just two examples: With our story beginning, we might struggle to find a good balance between a throat-clearing boring scene (before getting to the … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Description, Emotion, Motivation, Openings, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, worldbuilding, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 12 Comments

Reflections on Some Favorite Writing Quotes

Do you collect writer quotes? You should. They can be inspirational and instructive. It’s great to turn to them in times when you feel in the writing doldrums. Here are seven of my favorite writer quotes, and why I like … Continue reading

Posted in Motivational, Resident Writing Coach, Writer's Attitude | 9 Comments

3 Ways to Differentiate Your Characters

We’ve invited Resident Writing Coach Sacha Black to give us an extra dose of wisdom as she’s just released a new book that I think will help a lot of writers: Anatomy of Prose: 12 Steps to Sensational Sentences. This … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Description, Dialogue, Editing Tips, Emotion, Focus, Pacing, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 27 Comments

Might as Well Jump—into the Third Act

Have you ever been burned by your story? Often, authors get burned in the second act, and when it’s time to start the third act, the writing can feel like a relationship gone bad. By this point, it feels a bit … Continue reading

Posted in Middles, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 5 Comments