Category Archives: Pacing

How Stakes Set up Expectations

Last time I coached on Writers Helping Writers, I talked about 6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes, in it, I explained how I like to think of stakes as potential consequences–what could happen if a certain condition is (or is … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Characters, Conflict, High Stakes, Motivation, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Tension, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 6 Comments

Stuck in No-Man’s-Land: Your Novel’s Middle

If you have hit the point in your draft where you’re looking out at the vast landscape of your novel with no idea where to go next, congratulations…you’ve probably made it to Act 2. I know, I know, there’s an … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Characters, Conflict, Fatal Flaw, Middles, Motivation, One Stop For Writers, Pacing, Plotting, Tension, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writer's Block, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | Leave a comment

4 Ways to Fix a Boring Story

Is your story boring? Would you know or acknowledge it if it was? No one wants to admit that their story is slow, lackluster, or zzzzz. But hey, that’s what critique partners and editors are for. If recent feedback makes … Continue reading

Posted in Character Arc, Character Flaws, Characters, Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, Pacing, Reader Feedback, Rejection, Writing Craft | 15 Comments

What You Can Learn from Rhetorical Questions in Your Manuscript

It is such an easy thing to do. Once you become aware of author intrusion and what that looks like in limited third person, first person, or deep POV, the easy workaround becomes a rhetorical question. A rhetorical question is used to … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Emotion, Motivation, Pacing, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Writing Craft | 6 Comments

No Story Conflict? Explore Your Options

As a reader of Angela and Becca’s blog, chances are you’ve seen some of their many posts about the role of conflict in our story. In fact, as a Resident Writing Coach here, I’ve previously talked about how to make … Continue reading

Posted in Balance, Characters, Conflict, Endings, Experiments, Pacing, Plotting, Reading, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft | 12 Comments

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 | 9 Comments

This Happened…and Then This Happened: The Dangers of Anecdotal Writing

Does your story suffer from anecdotal writing? It’s an important question, because that’s what happens when we write this way: our stories suffer. Michelle Barker is here to explain what anecdotal writing is, how to identify it, and ways to … Continue reading

Posted in Endings, Guest Post, Pacing, Plotting, Revision and Editing, Story Structure, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 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

Storytelling Decisions: What’s the Right Pace for Your Story?

As we learn to write, we often hear about the need to create a strong pace in our story. Many seem to think that a strong pace requires a fast pace. However, that’s not what’s meant by strong. So what … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Characters, Conflict, Description, Endings, Middles, Openings, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Story Structure, Tension, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

How a Career Can Reveal Your Character’s Deeper Layers

Did you know that before Becca became an author and writing coach, she was a teacher? It’s true. And if you know her, you’re probably thinking, I can see that. It makes sense. Why? Because when you think of a … Continue reading

Posted in Action Scenes, Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Hobbies, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Conflict, Description, Diversity, Fatal Flaw, Fear, High Stakes, Motivation, Occupation Thesaurus, One Stop For Writers, Pacing, Plotting, Show Don't Tell, Story Structure, Uncategorized, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Resources | 1 Comment