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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

Overcoming Self-Doubt

I used to be amazed at the madness of my mind. One day, I think my writing is brilliant, and the next I’m cringing with embarrassment. It’s difficult to have objectivity when we’re in the middle of ...

“What is the Book Market Looking For?”

“What does the market want?” I hear this question frequently from first-time novelists, as if there’s some secret, as if their job is to figure it out, so that they can fulfill the marketplace’s ...

The Courage to be Specific in Writing

Humans are full of paradoxes. We only love to the extent that we hate. We are constantly changing our minds, constantly renegotiating with ourselves and others. To be specific is to be curious about ...

Character Transformation

A fundamental understanding of transformation is crucial to having anything more than an intellectual relationship to structure. We have all read the books on three-act-structure. By the way, what ...

The Desire to Write

We begin flush with excitement, thrilled at the opportunity to express something in a way the world has never known. As we go deeper into the story, the forest grows thick with ghosts from our past. ...

Building a Body of Work

I remember one day over twenty years ago when I was bellyaching to a friend of mine about how nobody was buying my work. He looked me dead in the eye. “What’s your job?” he asked. “To sell my work.” ...

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 ...

Juxtaposition

The rewrite process can sometimes lead us into a rut. Our attempts to make our work as clear and specific as possible can begin to feel routine. So sometimes we need to mix things up and get a little ...

Your Writing Process is Valid

The 90-Day Novelists began writing their first drafts a couple of weeks ago. Through this workshop we are each discovering our own unique process. And more importantly, we are learning to trust that ...

Ten Suggestions for Writing Your Novel, Memoir, or Screenplay

Below are ten writing suggestions for anyone who is setting out to craft a novel, memoir, or screenplay. Some are obvious, while others are perhaps less so. 1) Write everyday. No matter what. The ...

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 Protagonist’s Experience

Regardless of the medium, your reader is not interested in what your character is feeling. Seriously. In fact, if you tell your reader that Bill felt sad, dejected, elated, euphoric, or glum, your ...

Stay Curious

“The curious are always in some danger. If you are curious, you might never come home.” – Jeanette Winterson When my son was three years old, he was Captain Hook for Halloween. It was ...

No Dilemma, No Story

One thing that has been coming up a lot in my classes is the tendency for writers to “figure out” their plot. This is due, at least in part, to story structure being taught by story analysts as a ...

But That’s What Really Happened

“I’ve given my memoirs far more thought than any of my marriages. You can’t divorce a book.“—Gloria Swanson In writing fiction, we inevitably come to that moment lifted directly from ...

12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel

I hope you’re enjoying your spring. My post today is actually a list I call “12 Maxims of The 90-Day Novel.” These are twelve things to consider while writing your first draft: 1) ...

What is My Screenplay About?

When we think of our favorite movies, there is invariably an element that is so novel, so surprising, that it ignites our imagination. Think of the character Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs. ...

Becoming a Professional Writer

The publishing industry has undergone tremendous changes over the years. “Mid-list” writers who relied on decent advances from their publishers have found themselves shut out of the big publishing ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims

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