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Finding Your Theme

In brainstorming a work, you will often find that you want your characters to behave in certain ways.  And as they grow and develop, you may even find that you need to justify why they do what they do.  If you get deep enough into their thought processes, you can almost imagine them arguing with

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One Impossibility

If you write a novel set in the real world—whether it is historical or modern—you don’t have to worry so much about “creating” a world as “researching” your setting.  But if you are writing science fiction or fantasy, you very often “create” a world from scratch.  There are a couple of approaches that you can

Dealing with Movie Producers

Many new writers imagine that they’ll never have to worry about having movie producers come knocking at the door, but that’s a big mistake. You see, by nature, movie producers are always looking for story material, and most of the time that material is created by other storytellers, either screenwriters or novelists, but sometimes short

The Perfect Story: Surprise

Lately I’ve been talking a bit about some of the attributes that one will find in a perfect story.  One of those has to be what I will call “surprise.”  Now, in particular I look for surprise as we reach the climax of a tale.  A good climax will almost always have some twist that

Building Your Writing Career

Many writers begin their writing journey and choose to focus on gaining the skills they need to become publishable. In fact, that becomes their sole focus. They don’t worry about learning how to sell their books. After all, you can’t sell a book that you haven’t written, right? But what happens when you do sell

Write Till it Shines

Today I was listening to author Nedi Okorafor—winner of the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy award, and she spoke of a method of writing that is something that my gut tells me is exciting. She said that very often, an idea will come to her as a bit of dialog, where a character

The Perfect Story: Coalesce

A perfect story coalesces.  Its many parts eventually form an organic whole that makes sense to the audience and reveals more than has been told. A good story may take pages and pages to tell.  They contain so much information about characters, settings, conflicts, internal thoughts, ambitions, and fears that they cannot be told in

36 Writing Tips

Last week I was supposed to be at FanX in Salt Lake City, but I got sick and had to miss it. However there is a nice article about one of the panels, and it covers 36 writing tips. So for today's tip, I'd like to share the link to it. You can read it

The Perfect Story: Escalate

The perfect story escalates smoothly from scene to scene, creating a sense of rising action. I’ve spoken before about ways that stories can escalate. There really are only two ways—through deepening a conflict, making it so that it affects the protagonists more profoundly; or through broadening, so that the conflict affects more people. But a

Protect Your Kitty

If you’re going to become a professional writer, you need to make sure that you can support yourself while you write your novels. That’s because once you write a novel, it might take time to sell it, to edit it, and to actually publish it—and even if you end up with a bestseller, your royalties