Writing Craft Tips

Driving Toward The End

This is the fourth post in my series on character. The External Goal We need to see your character’s internal desire explicit on the page, but your character also needs something driving her forward in the plot, and this is her external goal. The internal desire and external goal are related, of course, but they… Read more »

Desire

This post covers the third in my series on character. Desire. That kinda grabs your attention, doesn’t it? Back when I was an MFA student at Vermont College, faculty member and writer Louise Hawes gave a lecture with that title, and her evocative enunciation of the word desire sticks with me today. As does her… Read more »

Voice: It’s Not (All) About The Music

The title of this post is a little deceptive. There is a musicality to great writing, isn’t there? Words that soar and sing. Sentences that ebb and flow. Paragraphs that lead you in one direction and then plop you down in a foreign land. A beautifully written book is “word music”. But that’s not all…. Read more »

Backstory: What Your Character Knows

Backstory. The first of five important character elements… An Example of Backstory When I was about five, my parents took me and my sister to Daytona Beach, Florida. Those were the days when you could drive a car right across the sand to the waterfront (I know, right?) It was, I’m pretty sure, my first… Read more »

She, He, They: The Character-Driven Story

As I stated in my last post, I believe that all (good) stories are character-driven. Let’s discuss. At The Heart of All Stories When you pick up a novel, how long does it take before you commit to reading it all the way through? I’m no longer feeling that I have to slog through something… Read more »

Planning To Plot

As promised in my last blog post, in this one I’m going to address the multiple ways you can look at plot, and how simplifying your approach may in fact help. The Plot Paradigm The earliest plot paradigm harks all the way back to Aristotle, who defined the three-act structure in his Poetics, as this:… Read more »

A War of Words: Plotter Versus Pantser

Here’s the next in my series of blog posts on writing craft… When I began writing fiction (a long time ago, now) I had no idea what I was doing. Really. Not a clue. Sure, I’d been an English major in college. Yes, I loved to read. And, of course, I’d messed around with words… Read more »

Right (Write) To the Heart

This is the next in my series of blog posts speaking to craft. Today, I’ll take a holistic approach to the work. Maybe you’re writing your first (or third, or sixth) book. Maybe you’re still a beginner, hoping to write a book one day. You have the spark of an idea: a character, a concept,… Read more »

Writing Craft Books For Your Gift List

Tis the season…and if you are needing last-minute suggestions for either your own stocking or a fellow writer’s, here are my current favorites. Donald Maass, Writing The Breakout Novel Workbook. This has long been my very favorite craft book. Clearly written, with excellent examples and terrific exercises at the end of every chapter, if you… Read more »