Negative Description

How to Write a Book

Sometimes when describing a thing, it is almost easier to describe what it is not.

How to Put Your Story Into Motion

How to Write

When describing anything—a setting, a character, or even a conflict—consider ways that you might bring that thing to life by describing both its past and its future.

It’s Complicated

Accepting Responsibility for Your Titles

As your protagonist struggles to overcome a problem, in the past I’ve talked about how the protagonist goes through at least two try/fail cycles. Early in the story, in an inciting incident, the protagonist learns that he has a major problem on his hands. He then struggles to resolve the problem at least three times, […]

Gaming the Publishing Industry

n publishing, we have two different distribution systems. The traditional publishing industry has its editors, and they have contracts with the bookstores and with the book distribution companies that are designed to keep you from selling your books at bookstores—and these contracts are very effective.

How Should You Write Emotion?

How to write emotion

As we write, I suspect that we try to express the world as we see it. In other words, those who are emotionally dead inside will portray protagonists who are very much like themselves, while those who are emotionally charged will try to portray people with rich and powerful interior lives, and both can be a problem.

Becoming a Writing Junkie

Writing is fun, so fun, that some people think that it’s addictive. Like exercise or alcohol, you can come to crave it. Years ago, a writer named Charlie Brown wrote dozens of novels. One day he realized that he wasn’t making a lot of money at it, and yet he loved writing, so he started […]

Ownership and Control

Very often I have new writers come to me who have been approached by agents, editors, publishers, or producers who want to take control of their work. Sometimes, that’s a bad idea. Think of it this way. Suppose that you’ve spent a long hard year tending and watering your garden. At the end of the […]

How to Get in Your Reader’s Way

When the movie Avatar came out, I went to see it on opening day at a theater that was nearly empty.  I predicted in my kick for that day that the movie would be a blockbuster and possibly become the bestselling science fiction movie of all time. Why?  Because the acting was superb?  Because the […]

Hit the Gas

When your work begins to pay off, don’t spend your time in celebration or take a vacation. It’s time to “hit the gas.” In the last few weeks, I’ve been hearing a lot of good news from writing friends. They’re selling books and short stories, winning awards, and so on. But often in the past, […]

A Question of Balance

How do you develop as a writer? It requires a balance of study and practice. As a new writer, I heard that the average writer took seven years to go from being a novice to professional. I wondered if I could speed up the process. So I set a goal to begin making money within […]