Before and After: Th...

Wouldn’t it be interesting to see before-and-after photos of all the ideas that ever sparked a story — to hold our intentions and inspirations up against our final manuscripts and see the evolution? It’s amazing how much an idea can change before an author is through with it — how...

What type of writer are you?

If you’re searching for a way to classify your identity as a writer, look no further than this great quote from George R.R. Martin: “I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of...

Mastering Conflict a...

Mickey Spillane once said, “The first line sells your book. The last line sells your next book.” But how do you bridge the gap between those two lines? How do you get readers from Point A to Point Z without them giving up around Point F? (F as in Failed your job as a writer to engage the...

How to End a Writing...

When in the middle of a writing session, how do you know when it’s time to stop working? When is time to keep writing, and when is it time to walk away? What’s the key to staying productive and energized? Today, we look for the answer in the words of Ernest Hemingway: “I always...

Writing the First Se...

If there’s anyone I’d feel safe taking writing advice from, it’s Joyce Carol Oates — one of the most prolific writers of our time. Having published over 120 books over the course of her career, surely she must know something about powering through a first draft and reworking it until...

How to Write a Ficti...

It begins surreptitiously. Multiple characters speak to you, and each point of view is important. Complex patterns of plots, each with its own protagonist, weave through your pages. You write, and you write, and you write. One by one, you attempt to resolve plot arcs, even if they don’t...

Write Engaging Scenes Using All Five Senses

Quick — does your novel need an IV? Or maybe emergency surgery? It might be because your descriptions are flatlining.  You’ve already heard that to create lush, engaging descriptions in your novel, you need to “show, don’t tell.” But “show” implies “sight,” which leaves out our other four senses entirely. To have your reader experience a scene as intimately as possible, you must also incorporate sound, touch, taste and smell. These senses are often neglected, if they’re even addressed at all. To give your descriptions a jolt of electricity, follow these guidelines from Novelist’s Boot Camp by Todd A....