Category Archives: Writing Lessons

Struggling with Writing Flashbacks? Try Using the P.A.S.T. Method 

Hi everyone! Today we have a past Resident Writing Coach visiting us: Sara Letourneau, editor and owner of Heart of the Story Editorial & Coaching Services. She’s sharing some terrific insight on flashbacks, so please read on! Flashbacks can be … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Flashbacks, Guest Post, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 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 | 6 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

Three Ways Writers Tell, Not Show (And How You Can Fix Them)

One of my favorite writing coaches is here with us to dish some helpful advice on Show and Tell. Please welcome Janice Hardy and read on… Show, don’t tell, is drilled into every writer’s head, and most of us have … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Arc, Characters, Description, Emotion, Guest Post, Revision and Editing, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 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

Writing Backstory Through Dialogue

Backstory is one of the trickier elements of writing. We have to take our readers back in time to let them know some of the past, but how do we do it without interrupting the flow of the story? Jerry … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Character Wound, Characters, Dialogue, Flashbacks, Writing Craft | 31 Comments

New Release: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression (2nd Edition)!

Today’s the day: The Emotion Thesaurus (Second Edition) enters the world! Over the years, many of you have written to us about the impact our book has had on your writing. Whenever we hear that your editor is commenting on … Continue reading

Posted in Contests, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, Past Events, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 38 Comments

Introducing One Stop for Writers’ Character Builder

Life is crazy sometimes. Here it is, less than a week away from us launching a book people are very, very excited about, and we’re about to share something else that is, in our humble opinion, even bigger and better: … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Hobbies, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Emotion, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Show Don't Tell, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 14 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