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What Happens When Characters Lose Control of Their Emotions?

Facts are facts: writers throw a lot of rocks at characters. Enemies. Obstacles. Maybe a rabid zombie or two. And we aren’t nice about it, spacing out each projectile, no. We like to line up our cannons and see just how many hits a character can take . . . all in the name of […]

Boost Your Bottom Line & Sell More Books

bottom line books, bottomline books. bottom line books customer service & the bottom line book You got through the hard part of writing the book and you’ve either published or are looking to publish…and you want to make money and/or increase sales. So, what do you do? That fact is in today’s market, whether you […]

Our Brains on Story

Brain on Story

Humans have been telling stories since we’ve had language — in fact, interesting things happen to the brains on story. Since our birth we have been inundated myths, legends, fairy tales, captivating novels and on a historical basis oral storytelling has expanded to print, plays, television shows, movies, video games…. It seems like what changes […]

Seductions and Promises – Writing Openings

writing openings

The sweetest thing writers can hear is that our readers missed their bedtime because they couldn’t put our book down. The words on the page seduce the reader to continue flipping and it’s obvious this engagement begins at the story’s Writing Openings and continues. So the question I’m exploring today is what openings do we […]

Haunting Your Character with a Ghost (or Wound)

In storytelling, a character’s ghost is a past, significant (and often traumatic) event that shaped his worldview in a thematic way. It prepares the character arc and works as a motivator. Choose the appropriate ghost for your character and learn how to reveal it to the audience. It’s finally the month of Halloween! And if […]

The Secret Ingredients for Writing Theme

How to write a novel

Many people in the writing community caution against writing with a theme in mind. They argue that if you do, your story will feel contrived, or worse, preachy. But this is only true if you don’t know what you are doing. And for many writers, unfortunately, that is exactly the case. Setting, characters, and plot […]

Understand and Implement Voice

woman voice talk sing stage

In writing, voice happens at three levels: the author, the narrator, and the characters each have their own voices. While many editors and readers openly state they are hooked and reeled into a story by a strong voice, many writers struggle to understand let alone implement voice. Despite voice often being regarded as elusive, and […]

The Price of Magic

Magic price

When writing in speculative genres, it’s important to consider the cost of magic. Everything in life has a cost. It’s a law so universally understood that we feel it in our bones. Yet when we deal with fiction, some writers forget to consider the high price of magic. The renowned author Nancy Kress noted that […]

A Guide to Critiquing a Story

writing group critique

How should we critique someone’s writing? Frequently authors ask if I have a form that I use to help me critique a story.  Given the large number of things that I look at in a story, any form that I might use would simply be too long to be workable.  Yet it makes sense to […]

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