The Value of a Tagline

A tagline is a single sentence that describes a film or book in a defining way. Choosing a tagline early can help you write your story with the proper tone. When writing a screenplay or a book, one of the first things that a writer may do is create a tagline. This is a single line […]

How to Fix Flat, Two-Dimensional Characters

When people say that a character is “flat” or “two-dimensional,” they’re typically just saying that the character isn’t interesting. And uninteresting characters are a plague on a story. Let’s look at a few techniques to make characters interesting, round, and three-dimensional. Desires, Wants, and Emptiness Nothing brings a character to life faster than a deep […]

4 Tips for Writing a Positive Relationship

Writing a relationship plotline is key for almost any story. Most narratives will feature a relationship that arcs positively through the book–whether the characters are love interests, friends, family members, allies, coworkers, or what have you. While it’s possible to highlight a negative relationship, audiences typically crave a meaningful one that brings the characters closer […]

Are You Writing a Book or a Movie?

Writing a book requires a different approach than writing a movie. Each medium has different strengths, particularly with viewpoint. In his book on screenwriting, George Lucas briefly discusses the difference in approach between writing a movie or a book. Since this question lies at the heart of so many problems that I see with new […]

7 Considerations for Characters

woman red head

Characters are important in every story, and we don’t want to create “stick figures” for key characters. Here are seven things to consider when creating yours. Of all the topics on how to write, I suspect more books have been written on how to create solid characters than on anything else. So there are a […]

Recognizing Your Own Skill

woman in glasses

When you write a story, you often have to ask yourself, “Is this tale good enough to send to editors or agents? Is it ready to publish? Could it be a bestseller?” Oddly enough, you as the author may be a terrible judge of your own work. This principle was brought up to me years […]

Scene & Summary: Mastering When to Use Which

reading book by tree

Writers regularly need both scene and summary to tell a great story, but sometimes it can be difficult to discern when to use which, for best effect. Occasionally when editing another’s work, I find the writer made what really should have been summaries into scenes, and what really should have been scenes, into summaries. This […]

“Author Whisperer” Paves Way for Writers to Pen Bestsellers

Brandon Mull Brandon Sanderson Stephenie Meyer

Many are under the false impression that bestselling writers simply sit down, write a book, and sell millions; others mistakenly think that great writers are “born.” In reality–as you may very well know by now–writing a professional-level story isn’t something that just “happens.” It’s a craft. This also means it’s a skill you can learn. […]

Considering Your Setting


Real vs. Fictitious Settings In mainstream literature, we typically deal with settings that either already exist or which have existed historically. Thus, when you write about the city of Chicago, it behooves you to do your research. If you say that there is a great sandwich shop on the corner of 25th and Regal, there […]

Writing Powerful Scenes, Part 7: Say Something!


Strong stories are built through meaningful scenes. Write stories that have meaning by tapping into subtext or theme, or by adding your own insight. Very often as a reader, I’ll come across a story that is well written in many regards: The characters have strong voices. The setting is energetically created. The action progresses in […]