Category: writing fiction

how to give yourself permission to write remarkable fiction

1 Call up a picture of your Ideal Reader in your head. Write to (and for) that person and that person only. Maybe your Ideal Reader is someone you know personally. Maybe your Ideal Reader is a person you compose from the materials of your imagination. Maybe your Ideal Reader is a mirror version of…

Mar 3, 2010 · 10 Comments / ADD YOURS

theme, Theme, your writing and you: stuff your teacher never told you

Since I’m busy working on a couple of things — including a free little ebook about writing like a bad girl — I’m cross-posting the below, which was originally at Storytellers Unplugged. 1 Perhaps theme gets a bad rap. Its twin, Theme with a capital T, deserves all the potshots and ridicule and dressing-down that…

Mar 1, 2010 · 4 Comments / ADD YOURS

8 things you need to know to write a gripping scene (and keep your reader hooked)

Ground your reader in space and time. Imagine the reader as this ghostly presence hovering over your story, soon to drift away….if you don’t grab him and ground him in your storyworld.  If you’re telling a story in first-person, it’s easy to turn too inward and go on about what that character is thinking and…

Feb 27, 2010 · 8 Comments / ADD YOURS

find the secrets to your novel in your beginning

Accomplished writer and teacher (and all-around interesting dude) Les Edgerton tells of some advice he gave to a student who didn’t know how to end her story. “Go back to the beginning,” he said (I’m paraphrasing), because often the beginning of your story holds the clue to the ending. The opening of your story establishes…

Feb 19, 2010 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS

if you make this mistake, you just might bore your readers to death

I saw the movie LEGION today and thought it was a fun popcorn movie with some great action scenes. There were also a lot of boring parts. The movie lacked conflict. And I’m not talking about the Big Conflict between the people trapped in the diner and the hordes of the possessed who want to…

Feb 15, 2010 · 21 Comments / ADD YOURS

write an opening that hooks your reader (or: how to raise hell and cause trouble)

1 Rules, of course, are made to be broken. Here are a few rules about how to open your novel: DON’T open with description. Description is static. Static means boring. It doesn’t matter what you’re describing: description is passive and inert and sits on the page. You need to emotionally engage the reader and get…

Feb 12, 2010 · 24 Comments / ADD YOURS

the key to a strong middle act (and what I learned from my mistakes)

The middle act is a bitch. The middle act defeats many a formidable writer. I’m approaching the middle of my own novel-in-progress THE DECADENTS. I was reading James Scott Bell’s book PLOT AND STRUCTURE and it occurred to me that I need to think of the middle act as a crucible. A ‘crucible’ is a…

Feb 4, 2010 · 19 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to get ahead as a writer: putting the deliberate into deliberate practice, part two

Part One is here 1. READ. Reading is so non-negotiable that I wrote what is practically a manifesto about this– and I’m not talking casual, three-books-a-year reading, or even three books a month. John D MacDonald put the standard at three books a week (tip: it helps to get rid of your TV set). Stephen…

Jan 22, 2010 · 13 Comments / ADD YOURS

the secret to becoming a successful published writer: putting the ‘deliberate’ into ‘deliberate practice’

You might love or hate Malcolm Gladwell, but since his book OUTLIERS came out the idea of “10,000 hours” has entered mainstream culture. Gladwell argues: When we look at any kind of cognitively complex field — for example, playing chess, writing fiction or being a neurosurgeon — we find that you are unlikely to master…

Jan 21, 2010 · 24 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to work with your subconscious to write a book that ‘hangs together’ (so an agent won’t reject it)

My agent once told me about a manuscript she was considering for representation. She was enjoying it. She thought it well-written. But when she reached the final page, she knew she would reject it. “It was too muddled at the center,” she said. “I still didn’t know what the book was about.” Which reminded me…

Jan 14, 2010 · 12 Comments / ADD YOURS
PREVIOUS 2 of 4 NEXT