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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

Conventional Wisdom

Conventional Wisdom

If you’re not at least a little scared writing your first novel, you’re probably nuts. Every writing project involves surrendering what we thought we knew. It’s a humbling process. The thing about ...
Banishing Redundancies

Banishing Redundancies

redundant: 1 a: exceeding what is necessary or normal : superfluous b : characterized by or containing an excess; specif : using more words than necessary. Redundancy is not only a sign of lazy ...
How to Write Your First Novel

How to Write Your First Novel

Writing your first novel might actually be fun. I’m serious. I know you’re terrified. It’s a scary thing to do. But, at the risk of sounding like I was raised on a Portland commune, that fear is ...
Narrative Drive

Narrative Drive

“The purpose of narrative is to present us with complexity and ambiguity.”— Scott Turow If you’re rewriting and a point in your story feels flat, here are some questions you can ask yourself: 1) ...
Ten Signs of a Good Writing Instructor

Ten Signs of a Good Writing Instructor

Choosing a writing instructor is a big decision. They are not all created equal. Here are some guidelines and suggestions that may help you in making your decision. 1) Qualifications: Does he have ...
Writing Tip: Ignore Conventional Wisdom

Writing Tip: Ignore Conventional Wisdom

Many of you 90-day novelists are writing your first novel. If you’re not at least a little scared, you’re probably nuts. Every writing project involves surrendering what we thought we knew. It’s a ...
The Dilemma at the Heart of Your Story

The Dilemma at the Heart of Your Story

“Nothing is more desirable than to be released from an affliction, but nothing is more frightening than to be divested of a crutch.”-James Baldwin OK. We want to write something. We have ...
Writers, The Time is Now

Writers, The Time is Now

I know writers who have struggled for decades to complete their first novel. They work on their novel for a while, then get distracted, put it in a drawer, fish it out a few years later, work on it ...
Character Suggests Plot

Character Suggests Plot

“The beginning of a plot is the prompting of desire.”- Christopher Lehmann-Haupt Our idea of our screenplay or novel is never the whole story. As we inquire into the world we often discover that we ...
3 Secrets for Getting Started On Writing Your First Novel

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 ...
Act One: Maintaining Tension

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 ...
First-Time Novelists: Dealing with Fear

First-Time Novelists: Dealing with Fear

Many first-time novelists share a similar fear: “What will people think?”It looks slightly different for each writer. What will my parents think when they find out I have these thoughts? What will ...
Writing Act Three: Our Hero Accepts the Reality of His Situation

Writing Act Three: Our Hero Accepts the Reality of His Situation

It can be frightening and exhilarating to realize that our story is bigger than we are, that in fact, it does not “belong” to us, that we are simply a channel. In Act Three of our story, our hero ...
Opportunities in Self-Publishing

Opportunities in Self-Publishing

  The goal of every first-time novelist is to see her book between covers. The paradox is that when we make this goal more important than the story, we tend to find ourselves stuck.   The good ...
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, it is about human behavior. It’s a vital aspect of any story, adding depth, richness and humanity. Drama ...
How to Master Storytelling: Ask the Right Questions

How to Master Storytelling: Ask the Right Questions

“It is a parable of art that, to be universal, you must be specific. Otherwise, you are just talking about an abstraction. So you have to talk about a particular person and a particular place. ...
First Time Novelists: The End of the Story Informs the Beginning

First Time Novelists: 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 novelists, this is helpful advice. But let’s clarify. When we talk about “the ...
The Internet: A Writer’s Worst Distraction

The Internet: A Writer’s Worst Distraction

Sometimes the deeper we get into our story, the more we seek distraction. The internet will suck the life out of any writer. It will turn the most disciplined among us into bug-eyed addicts. Not ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims