Writing Craft Tips

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 »

“Best Of”…Writing Advice

So many good books to celebrate this year! I’ve been following the “best of” lists, the successes of friends, the books that are making a difference in kids’ lives. I decided to make my own “best of” list, but not of books (for those, please see the CBC lists, and NPR’s list, among others. What… Read more »

Pantser, Revised

If you know me at all well, you already know that I’m an avowed pantser. (If you don’t know me, or don’t know what a pantser is, it’s a writer who “writes by the seat of her pants”, i.e., organically.) I hate outlines and I love spontaneity. I love the open-ended response to “what if…?”… Read more »

New Craft Books For Writers

Lately I’ve discovered some new writing craft books that have become staples of my reference shelf. I wanted to share my impressions of these recent releases, so I hope you enjoy. THE EMOTIONAL CRAFT OF FICTION: HOW TO WRITE THE STORY BENEATH THE SURFACE, by Donald Maass (Writer’s Digest Books, 2016). I’ve long been a… Read more »