theme of the story

The Dramatic Question, or Theme of the Story

Shakespearean plays begin with the chorus telling us what we are about to see. They don’t tell us the whole plot but rather provide a context for the events that...

plot vs. theme

Plot vs. Theme

Any writer can experience that moment where you suddenly realize that your “idea” of the story isn’t going to get you to the end. This moment is initially devastating and...

writing process

Discovering Your Writing Process

As we write each day we discover our own process. We begin to see there is no “right way” to create and that our objective is simply to let the...

writing the reluctant hero

Writing the Reluctant Hero

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.” – Ernest Hemingway No one likes change. The unknown...

finding your writing voice

Finding Your Writing Voice

I work with many first-time novelists, and the question of voice always comes up. “Do you think I have a voice?” asks the first-time novelist. “Should it be in a...

making time to write

Making Time to Write

We’re all busy. We have day jobs, families, therapists, and Facebook. If you’re writing your first novel, you’re probably wondering how other writers do it. It’s simple. Get your writing...

On Certainty in Writing

There is a particular comfort that comes from being certain. We can shut out the world, all of the noise and confusion and rest in the assurance that we are...

Real Life in Fiction

Writers often use experiences from their real lives in their work. It’s important for the writer to understand the “nature” of the experience, rather than his idea of what happened....

rewrite

The Rewrite: Expanding and Contracting

Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do? Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times before I was satisfied. Interviewer:...

First-time Novelist – Ignorance is Bliss

First-time Novelist – Ignorance is Bliss

I wrote the first draft of my first novel in just under 90 days. I had been writing stand-up comedy and screenplays for years, but very little prose. I had...