About Ali Cross

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So far Ali Cross has created 25 blog entries.

Writing the Impossible

When I fell in love with the idea of writing, it was after reading my favorite novel of all time. I thought, “I want to write stories like that,” not realizing how big my dream really was.

You see, when I meet new authors, I almost always find that they hope to write great works, monumental novels. When you think about

Be Excited

The most productive writers, I’ve noticed, aren’t necessarily the ones with the most talent or the greatest skills. They may not be the most physically fit or even the most motivated. The most productive writers are the ones who get excited by their work.

What do I mean by “getting excited”? Quite simply this. To some degree, we are responsible for

Dream Big

You may not realize it, but as writers we are all on the same journey. We all start as “wannabes,” hoping to amaze audiences with our eloquence and powerful tales, and so we set out on a quest to become “writers.” Some of us take only a few steps along the path before we give up. Others become legends.

There are

Stories and Stables

Many years ago, I heard a renowned magazine editor Gardner Dozois remark, “I don’t want just a great story in my magazine, I want a great writer in my stable.” He was talking of course about why he didn’t pick up new writers on their very first stories. He had a policy: if a new writer sent him a great

Opening Strategies

There are many ways to hook a reader who opens your book--a great cover, a catchy title, luscious descriptions on the back cover, an endearing character portrait, a captivating first line to your novel, and so on.

Yet all too soon, much of how well the story grabs a reader will depend upon whether your conflict is engaging. Interestingly, I can

Emotional and Intellectual Payoff

Emotional and Intellectual Payoff

Some stories gain power by tapping into the emotions that we felt at a particular age, or during a certain time of our lives. For example, some novels use nostalgia as a powerful draw. I can think of a few extremely popular fantasy novels that hearken back to Tolkien’s work. A few years ago, one major reviewer

Getting into the Creative Mood

David Farland’s Kick in the Pants—Getting into the Creative Mood

When I was 11, a friend of mine, Jim Smith, was talking excitedly about his Christmas gift. “My dad got me a book that shows stop-motion photography of different kinds of world-champion athletes.” His book showed how sprinters pushed off when they started a race, how high jumpers cleared a bar,

Horse Racing

David Farland’s Kick in the Pants—Horse Racing

Last week I got a note from a student who just had a novel accepted by a major publisher. He seemed a little surprised at how easily it had happened, as if he’d happened to enter a horse race and had just taken first place by accident.

But it’s no accident. I’ve heard a lot

How to Win Writing Contests—and Big Publishing Contracts

When I was in college, I wrote a story and—on the advice of my professor—entered it into a competition. It won third place, and as I considered my fifty dollars, I realized that I had made over twice the minimum wage writing that story. So I wondered, “If I worked harder, could I win more money?”

I was going to school

How to Overcome Writer’s Block


Many writers never have a problem with writer’s block, and so we sometimes say, “There’s no such thing.” But that’s not quite right. The truth is, there are various reasons why people feel “blocked,” which makes it hard sometimes to figure out why a writer is having problems.

Here are the most common reasons for writer's block.

1) You’ve taken a wrong

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