Category Archives: Writing Lessons

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

All-Important Considerations When Crafting a Scene

Pleased to welcome C.S. Lakin back to the blog for a tremendously helpful post on what to keep in the front of your mind when crafting a scene. Read on and bookmark this great list! Anyone who says writing a … Continue reading

Posted in Focus, Guest Post, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Groups, Writing Time | 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 | 14 Comments

Goal-Oriented Storytelling: Attachment

Imagine you’re playing your first game of Scrabble with a friend. You haven’t been taught the rules of the game, but you know the general idea is to make words and place them on the game board. Your friend gives … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Characters, Motivation, Plotting, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 11 Comments

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 | 24 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 | 16 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

The Powerball of First Page Resources

As many of you know, I run a monthly critique contest here at the blog, where I offer to read first pages and share my feedback. People are so grateful to win, but I have to ask: who’s the real … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Emotion, Empathy, Openings, Pacing, Point of View, Show Don't Tell, Voice | 7 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