Manuscript Rejected After Only 20 Pages? What gives?
A lot of new writers are being told to start right in the action, and this tip needs to be clarified. We need some kind of conflict in the beginning to make us (the reader) choose to side with/like the protagonist. This conflict doesn’t necessarily have to do with the main story problem (directly).
Using Dirty Fighting To Escalate Tension In Your Story
Great books are filled with conflict, and great characters who learn important lessons. Writer and all-around-funny Jenny Hansen’s clever tips for Dirty Fighting Techniques can be applied to your main character’s friend, family member or a significant other…whoever he or she is in conflict. Hansen asserts, “Every entry on the Dirty Fighting List is guaranteed […]
Critiquing Other People’s Writing: 7 Tips for Making Manuscripts Better
When you make friends with the red pen pointing out weak story points, redundancy or grammar errors, you give yourself the opportunity to grow as a writer and refine your final product. But is the job of the red pen wielder easier than that of the writer?
Feel the Heat: Sex and Fiction. 8 Tips for Building Tension
Will your fictional characters, at some point, hit the sheets? As most of us creative types enjoy a delicious romp in the sack in real life, it shouldn’t be too difficult to apply our trusty, book-enhancing observational skills to break down, scene by scene, moment by smokin’-hot moment, the escalating tension between our first horny thought […]
Do Readers Care About Your Fiction Characters?
Action is my habit. When I briskly type out an initial draft of a scene, the early rendition reveals a pesky ritual of churning my characters through conflict after conflict, plowing them through troubles, smacking them in the forehead with insult and treachery–often at the expense of breathing space or time for reflection. What am I? some brutish, merciless warden […]
Thoughts on Plots (and whatnot) with James Thayer
When people ask what your book is about, they are really asking about the plot. A response: “It’s about two German Shepherds sniffing for buried treasure,” only scrapes the surface. Why dogs? Why that breed? What kind of treasure? Where? When? What must they overcome in order to sniff it out? What will they do with […]
Act One: 10 Essential Elements
I’m a little addicted to the The Script Lab. As I worry over and scrutinize my fiction novel, tweets about screen-writing from @TheScriptLab interject with lucid, helpful, applicable ideas. My blog is for creatives of all stripes, and ideas for good writing can come from any genre. I really like this list of elements; it reminds […]
Television as Teacher: 5 things we can learn from TV writers and their characters
A few weeks ago I attended the Writers Faire at UCLA. There were over 45 seminars on the craft of writing, presented by a humbling variety of the nation’s finest authors, poets and screenwriters—who just happen to teach at UCLA. (I’m salivating as I write this. I live just a few hours south–too far to […]
Crafting the Perfect Outline Identifying 5 Major Plotpoints
We can all agree on one thing: there is no one perfect recipe for cooking up a good story. The same goes for crafting an outline. Trust me, I’m elbows deep in it, and everywhere I seek advice, I’m given a different perspective. I am a big fan of Dramatica‘s approach, but at the same […]
What are your favorite books for writers?
There are countless high-quality publications available on the subject of writing. Some of my all-time faves? I can’t remember how many times I’ve joyfully referred back to Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, and Vein of Gold. Superb, helpful, heart-opening, fear-rending, spirit-growing and motivational stuff! While they seem a bit outdated now, I enjoyed The Sell […]