blog

Craft. Inspiration. Process.

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, ...

Overcoming Writer’s Block: Exploring the Dilemma

It’s not just first-time novelists 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 ...

Making the Impossible Possible

“A problem cannot be solved with the same level of awareness that created it” — Albert Einstein We often have an idea of the direction our story is going, and sometimes we discover ...

Procrastination Masquerading as Research

I work with first-time novelists all the time who desperately want to convince me that they can’t begin their first draft until they do more research. Research is important, and it’s also ...

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, ...

Writing the Middle

For all you first-time writers struggling with the middle of your story, here’s something to remember. Our idea of our novel is never the whole story. The solution to getting through the middle of ...

Simplicity in Writing

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

Finishing Your Novel: 5 Tips to Get You to the End

For all you writers struggling somewhere in the middle of your manuscript, here are five tips to get you to the end. 1) Create a deadline for yourself. Think of a practical timeframe to complete ...

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. ...

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 ...

Writing Without Distraction

OK writers, you’ve begun working in earnest. The story is alive, your cylinders are firing. You’re getting up every morning and putting in the hours. But then, something happens. Life delivers a ...

Surrender to Your Story

Our story asks everything of us. If it didn’t, we would never surrender. How often do we live our lives as though we were not going to die? We make choices and even avoid opportunities out of fear. ...

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, that as the scene played out, the conflict would likely begin to diminish, that if ...

Did I Write Today?

This is the only question you need to ask yourself at the end of the day. Nothing else matters, not the dishes, the oil change, or returning your buddy’s call to go see the new Transformers movie. ...

The Rewrite

In a thrilling display of solidarity, the 90-Day Novelists finished their first drafts a couple of weeks ago and have begun their rewrites. The first draft was about diving into the unknown, ...

Q&A with Tod Goldberg

Tod Goldberg is the author of the novels Living Dead Girl (Soho Press), a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Fake Liar Cheat (Pocket Books/MTV), and the popular Burn Notice series, ...

free download

HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims