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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

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 only ...

The Dramatic Question, or Theme of the Story

Shakespearean plays begin with the chorus telling us what we are about to see. They don’t tell us the whole plot but rather provide a context for the events that are about to follow. That is the ...

Plot vs. 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. This moment is initially devastating and then, hopefully, liberating ...

Writing the Reluctant Hero

“My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way.”- Ernest Hemingway No one likes change. The unknown is scary. The end of Act One involves our protagonist ...

Making Time to Write

We’re all busy. We have day jobs, families, therapists, and Facebook. If you’re writing your first novel, you’re probably wondering how other writers make time to write. It’s simple. Get your writing ...

Writing When You Have Nothing to Lose

Have you ever experienced great loss? Whether it was a parent, spouse, or friend, the experience pulls you sharply into the present moment. Nothing else matters, not the barking dog, the unpaid bills, ...

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Exploring the Dilemma

It’s not just first-time writers that get stuck. Every writer, except Stephen King, experiences writer’s block. Writer’s block is often an absence of information. The information can be related to ...

What is My Title?

Those scant few words on the cover of our book or screenplay can be the most labor-intensive work of our entire manuscript. Coming up with a good title can be a bitch. We may have a working title, a ...

Simplicity in Writing

Forward, he cried From the rear And the front ranks died. – Pink Floyd (Us and Them) We can tell a whole world in a sentence. The rewrite is where we polish our prose until it gleams. We remove ...

The Writer’s Place

I believe there is something we writers are collectively seeking. We are all attempting to convey an experience, a true moment, to tell a story that somehow reveals more than what we thought we knew. ...

The Value of an Outline

A lot of writers want to dive right into their first drafts and start amassing pages. Though there are those novelists who claim not to outline, upon questioning (and I’ve asked many of them) I ...

Writing Fiction: Letting Go of Our Story

“Danger lies in the writer becoming the victim of his own exaggeration, losing the exact notion of sincerity, and in the end coming to despise truth itself as something too cold, too blunt for his ...

Stay Out of the Result

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

Keeping the Rewrite Alive

A director told me once that if you put two actors together in a scene without directing them or staging the scene, the conflict would likely begin to diminish. If the actors were on opposite sides of ...

The Rewrite

  The first draft is about diving into the unknown, invoking the muse, and writing from our right brains. The next step, the rewrite, is about switching gears. Basically, it is about becoming ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims

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