Conflating Characters

  Sometimes we’ve written characters that don’t belong in our story because their function is redundant. The character may be engaged in conflict that doesn’t add anything new to the...

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...

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...

The Great American Novel

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

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...

Begin Your Novel

There are as many ways to begin your novel as there are ways to procrastinate. Beginning your novel is easier than you think. All you have to do is sit...

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...

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....

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...

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,...