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Craft. Inspiration. Process.

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 ...

On Certainty in Writing

There is a particular comfort that comes from being certain. We can shut out the world, with all of its noise and confusion. And we rest in the assurance that we are right. Except that certainty ...

Real Life in Fiction

Writers often use experiences from their real lives in fiction as well as memoir. It’s important for the writer to understand the “nature” of the experience, rather than his idea of what happened. ...

The Rewrite: Expanding and Contracting

Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do? Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, thirty-nine times. Interviewer: Was there some technical problem? ...

Writing Tip – How to Show and Tell

“Action is eloquence.” – William Shakespeare If we find ourselves editorializing, that is telling or explaining what is happening in our story . . . it’s “OK” . . . however, ...

Writing a Bestseller

Did Stephen King set out to write a bestseller when he wrote his first novel, Carrie? Apparently his wife found the first few chapters in the trash and convinced him to keep going. Did Norman Mailer ...

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 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 ...

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. So many of them try 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, a ...

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 story 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) We can tell a whole world in a sentence. The rewrite is where we polish our prose until it gleams. We ...

Finishing Your Story: 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 ...

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HOW TO BUILD A STORY

The 7 Maxims