novel & fiction

Setting a Plan with Purpose

Setting a Plan with Purpose

Do you often find it hard to stick to your writing plan? How often do we get distracted by “important tasks” that pull us away from our deeper purpose? Fantasy football sounds like a hoot, but if it ...

Creativity is Your Birthright

Creativity is your birthright. We live in a culture that is invested in our believing otherwise. I frequently hear folks talk of talent as though it were a finite commodity that one either possessed ...

The Bestseller: Process, Not Result

“I put my heart and my soul into my work, and have lost my mind in the process.” – Vincent Van Gogh Here’s a story: About ten years ago I was speaking to a potential student on the ...

Humor in Writing

There is nothing less funny than writing about humor. I was a standup comic for years, and every once in a while after a show, some dude would come up to me wanting to discuss my act. I’d ...

The Nature of the “Want”

“To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” – Isaac Newton While exploring the nature of the “want” in your story, it’s important to understand that ...
Why do we write?

Why Do We Write?

Why do we write? There is nothing logical about wanting to be a writer. The lives of artists can be awful, despairing, regret-filled exercises in futility. Writers and artists can be some of the ...

How Do You Identify the Dilemma in Your Story?

At the heart of every story lies a dilemma from which all tensions and conflicts arise. How do you identify the dilemma in your story? There are two ingredients: A powerful desire A false belief ...

The Difference Between Journaling and Storytelling

The difference between journaling and storytelling is context. Journaling is simply documenting what happened. Storytelling involves illustrating the meaning of what happened. Our goal as ...

What is Genius?

What is genius? I don’t like it when people use the term genius, primarily because I think they misuse the word. I believe that genius is an aspect of our nature, rather than a character trait ...

Begin Your Story

There are as many ways to begin your story as there are ways to procrastinate. Beginning to write your book or screenplay is easier than you think. All you have to do is sit down, get out a sheet of ...

Using Your Credo to Create Story Conflict

(Image from And Justice for All, 1979) You can’t have story without conflict. As writers, it is important to investigate and become conscious of what we feel strongly about. Find those issues ...

Why Writers Should Embrace Doubt

Doubt exists in each of us much of the time. We are unsure about our futures, our relationships, our new tile in the bathroom, our car insurance, etc. Doubt is the cradle of conflict, both internal ...

Make it Dramatic

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” – Alfred Hitchcock The movement of a story happens as the result of complications that arise, not out of plot, but out of character and theme. As ...

Everything You Need to Know is Within

“If you have a problem with the third act, the real problem is in the first act.” – Billy Wilder The purpose of story is to reveal a transformation. This shift in perception means ...

Act One: Maintaining Tension

“A writer writes not because he is educated but because he is driven by the need to communicate. Behind the need to communicate is the need to share. Behind the need to share is the need to be ...

The End of the Story Informs the Beginning

In Steven Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, he states: “Begin with the end in mind.” For first-time writers, this is helpful advice. But let’s clarify. When we talk about “the ...

3 Secrets for Getting Started on Writing Your First Novel

Every writer struggles with getting the story from imagination to the page. The first-time novelist confronts the special challenge of having never done this before. Here are three quick tips to ...

Shedding the Idea for Truth in Writing

It’s not just first-time novelists or screenwriters that struggle with getting their story from the imagination to the page. Every writer struggles with this. Here’s the thing: Our idea of our story ...

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