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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

How Do I Begin?

“A novel’s whole pattern is rarely apparent at the outset of writing or even at the end; that is when the writer finds out what a novel is about and the job becomes one of understanding and, ...

The True Nature of Our Characters

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin Good writing is a synthesis of ideas and instincts working in concert. ...

Staying Connected to the Source

“To raise new questions, new possibilities, to regard old problems from a new angle, requires creative imagination.” – Albert Einstein The rewrite uses the left and right brain ...

Humor in Tragedy

If you’re going to write a tragedy, infuse your story with humor. Humor pulls us towards the characters and makes us care. It also ensures that your ending will resonate. Tragedy is not about a ...

Conflating Characters

Sometimes we’ve written characters that don’t belong in our story because their function is redundant. Conflict might arise that don’t add anything new to the story. In fact, the conflict might ...

Building Sentences

“You become a good writer just as you become a good joiner: by planing down your sentences.”– Anatole France There are no rules that limit the length of a sentence, but when our ...

Own Your Work

Just because you might be a first-time novelist, it doesn’t mean you’re not the authority over your work. No agent, publisher, or film producer knows more about the inner workings of your story than ...

The Great American Novel

Every American writer secretly dreams of writing the “Great American Novel.” What would that look like? It’s a book that captures the zeitgeist, that taps into something intrinsic to our national ...

Our Characters are Malleable

“Nothing changes more constantly than the past; for the past that influences our lives does not consist of what happened, but of what men believe happened.”– P.L. Berger In the rewrite we&; ...

One Thing Readers Hate

One thing readers hate are coincidences. Sure, coincidences occur in our lives every day, but in a story, they are generally a problem. Readers lose interest when coincidence leans in the’ ...

Take Risks

Writing your first novel is sort of like, well . . . there’s a first time for everything. It’s scary and exciting, and you’re not quite sure if you’re doing it right. Here’s something to remember in ...

Third Acts are a Bitch: Reframing the Protagonist’s Goal

“Nothing worth doing is completed in our lifetime; therefore we must be saved by hope. Nothing true or beautiful makes complete sense in any immediate context of history; therefore we must be saved ...

How to Become a First-Time Author

The journey to becoming a first-time author is different for everyone. For me, it involved letting go of the idea that I’d ever get published. I know this sounds counter-intuitive. The temptation to ...

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

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

Writing your first book 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 just ...

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

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 ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

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