Category Archives: Writing Lessons

One Stop for Writers Now Has a Free Trial!

Imagine it: You’re standing there, holding your book. The weight of it. The smoothness of the cover. How the pages flutter as you drag your thumb along their edges. A smile beams out of you. It’s happened–it’s really happened: you … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Focus, Goal Setting, One Stop For Writers, Show Don't Tell, Software and Services, Tools and Resources, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude, Writing Craft, Writing Resources, Writing Time | 3 Comments

How To Stop Self-Doubt From Holding You Back From Writing

Self-doubt can be a crippling weight, especially for writers. Today we have writing mentor Leigh Shulman with us, and she has some terrific, actionable ways to use prompts to turn self-doubt on its head (and get you writing again!) I’ve … Continue reading

Posted in Experiments, Focus, Goal Setting, Guest Post, Writer's Attitude, Writer's Block, Writing Lessons | 16 Comments

Three Simple Questions That Will Unlock Your Story

Writers are the most powerful people on the planet. Yes, you! You have the power to change your readers in a more profound way than almost anyone else they encounter.  How? By allowing them to experience, first hand, the profound … Continue reading

Posted in Characters, Motivation, Plotting, Resident Writing Coach, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

5 Innovative Strategies That Could Help You Win a Writing Contest

One person I love having at the blog is Savannah Cordova from Reedsy, because she always has an innovative take on every subject. If you enter writing contests, this post is one you will want to read, because she offers … Continue reading

Posted in Experiments, Flashbacks, Focus, Guest Post, Mood and Atmosphere, Point of View, Uncategorized, Writer's Attitude, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 5 Comments

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

Digging Deep: The Psychology of a Layered Story

Humans like complexity; puzzles, questions, layers. It fascinates us. My guess it’s because there are so many complex systems in nature that our brain needs to navigate successfully. Ecosystems, weather systems, the tax system…But the one that has the most … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Characters, Description, Resident Writing Coach, Revision and Editing, Setting, Show Don't Tell, Subtext, Theme, Uncategorized, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 13 Comments

The Easiest Way to Plan Characters in a Series: Cloning (Yes, Really!)

This spring, Becca and I released two very important tools for writers… The Emotion Thesaurus 2nd edition (expanded by 55 entries) and a Character Builder Tool at One Stop for Writers. These two releases happened within days of each other, … Continue reading

Posted in Backstory, Basic Human Needs, Character Arc, Character Flaws, Character Traits, Character Wound, Characters, Description, Emotion, Emotion Thesaurus Guide, High Stakes, One Stop For Writers, Series, Software and Services, Tools and Resources, Villains, Writing Craft, Writing Lessons | 2 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

5 Writing “Life Lessons” from an Empty Nester Author

Recently I entered a new life stage: the Empty Nester parent. My oldest son, following his younger brother’s lead, moved out a few weeks ago while my husband and I were in South America. Now, we’re back…and the house is … Continue reading

Posted in About Us, Focus, Goal Setting, Motivational, Publishing and Self Publishing, The Business of Writing, Tools and Resources, Writer's Attitude, Writing Groups, Writing Lessons, Writing Resources | 18 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