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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

Setting Up the Argument

Story is an Argument

(Image from “Big” 1988) Story is an argument. The theme (or dramatic question) is the thesis statement, and the story is the argument played out. Any argument requires opposing forces...
What Does it Mean?

What Does it Mean?

Everyone has a story. It takes courage to tell it, be it memoir or fiction, because there comes a point where we must separate the facts from the truth. The challenge for the storyteller lies in...
Choose Love

Choose Love

In every story, love is the mystery that is always on the table. In the beginning of your story, the question may appear to be a choice between loving and not loving. But perhaps you have already...
Passion

Passion

“I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” – Albert Einstein What do you feel passionate about? What is your position on justice, authenticity, self-authority, the need for...
The Inner Critic

The Inner Critic

“Don’t worry about what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.”– Howard Thurman There’s a difference between...
Step Into Your True Power

Hope

Have you ever seen a dog waiting for their master at a window — their wet nose pressed against the glass, eyes watching the street expectantly for any sign of their beloved guardian? It’s sort of...
What Do I Do When I Get Stuck In My Story

“Why Do I Get Stuck?”

When writers come to a dead stop there can be a tendency to panic. It’s important to remember that your idea of your story is never the whole story. When you try to figure it out, you tend to dig a...
12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel

12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel

Have you thought about your creative goals for this coming year? If you’re planning to write your novel, here are 12 maxims that will guide you to the end of your first draft in 90 days. 1) When...
Exploring Your Protagonist's Dilemma

Exploring Your Protagonist’s Dilemma

(Image from The Hunger Games, 2012) “The moment we want to believe something, we suddenly see all the arguments for it, and become blind to the arguments against it.” –  George Bernard Shaw...
The True Nature of Our Characters

Dramatizing Character

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin Good writing is a synthesis of ideas and instincts working in concert. Letting...
There are No Ugly Trees

There are No Ugly Trees

“Remember always that you not only have the right to be an individual, you have an obligation to be one.” – Eleanor Roosevelt People are always talking about how they need to be better, to...
Plot vs Theme

Plot versus Theme

Plot versus 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. Maybe you had a plan, but now the characters have...
Stay Out of the Result

Stay Out of the Result

For any writer, here’s a question to ask yourself: “Why do I want to write this?” A student told me recently that he was writing his first novel in order to sell it for a lot of money. Though I fully...
The Necessity of an Outline

The Necessity of an Outline

“The outline is 95% of the book. Then I sit down to write, and that’s the easy part.” – Jefferey Deaver Many writers resist story structure because they fear it will limit their creativity and...
Certainty

On Certainty in Writing

There is a particular comfort that comes from being certain. We can shut out the world, with all of its noise and confusion. And we rest in the assurance that we are right. Except that certainty...
Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

Writing the Reluctant Protagonist

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”- Ernest Hemingway Allow the Protagonist to Feel Reluctance No one likes change. The unknown is scary. The end...
Home

Finding Home

“Home is where one starts from.” – T. S. Eliot There’s nothing more primal than our quest for home. The dilemma is that our childhood homes may have been confusing, chaotic, or even violent...
Humor is Not About Writing Funny

Humor Is Not About Writing Funny

Humor connects us. It makes us care. I don’t mean one-liners. Humor is not about jokes, but it is about human behavior. It’s a vital aspect of any story, adding depth, richness, and humanity. Drama...

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