Category Archives: Pacing

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

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

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 | 21 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 | 25 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

Wax On, Wax Off: 5 Areas To Polish Before Submitting A Manuscript

Most writers are familiar with the saying, “You only get one chance to impress,” and there is no industry where this holds truer than in publishing. From the agent who reads those first requested pages, to the editor searching for … Continue reading

Posted in Editing Tips, Pacing, Revision and Editing, Setting, Show Don't Tell, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 19 Comments

Episodic vs. Epic: Go Bigger with Your Writing

One of the most common reasons given by authors for why they write is a desire to create something meaningful for their readers, something that will stick with them or make a difference. One thing that helps our stories feel … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Experiments, Pacing, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 22 Comments

Why Characters Need Choices in Fiction

Help me welcome one of our favorite people, Janice Hardy (@Janice_Hardy). She has a great post on the importance of providing characters with stake-heavy choices, so please read on. 🙂  Choices drive every single conflict in a novel. The protagonist … Continue reading

Posted in Conflict, Empathy, Guest Post, High Stakes, Pacing, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 11 Comments

A Question of When: Indicating Time Passage in Our Stories

Today, we’re going to discuss a question a WHW reader previously submitted to the Resident Writing Coaches. Nancy C. asked: “I would like to know more about how to show the passing of time between scenes (other than dates or … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Guest Post, Pacing, Resident Writing Coach, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 27 Comments