Writing Craft Tips


Tension is essential in stories that will resonate with readers. As a reader, you know the feeling – staying up way past your bedtime because you can’t put that book down. This post is a short introduction to crafting tension that will have your readers hanging on every word. Rule number 1: story is conflict…. Read more »

Newest Catchphrase: Write Up!

I spent the past weekend at the New York SCBWI conference and, as always, it was enlightening and energizing. But what struck me was a message that I heard repeated a number of times from various speakers – editors, agents, and authors – and it was “write up!” “Write up” means writing up for children,… Read more »

For Writers: On Voice and Tone

Editors and agents often say that they sign an author because of the excellent/compelling “voice” of the work in question. What does this mean, and how do you accomplish it? First, some definitions… Tone: the “atmosphere” of a narrative, generated by using diction (word choice) and syntax (sentence structure). Specific genres are characterized by their… Read more »

Writing the Killer Query Letter

Writing a great query letter is an art, but once you’ve created your synopsis, you’ve got the bones. Here’s the rest of the story: Your synopsis forms the basis for your query letter. Almost all queries today are email cover letters; your manuscript or pages are sent as a Word attachment – but these are… Read more »

Loglines and Elevator Moments

If you read my “Synopsis” post, you’ll see that you’ve already got a start on crafting a logline. But we’re going to take it a step further. A logline is a one-sentence summary of your story. Think about a movie poster, with its brief but compelling summary, or the cover grab of your favorite best-seller…. Read more »

Writing the Synopsis

Each time I attend a writing conference I’m reminded that one of the trickiest things to do correctly is write a synopsis. And yet the synopsis forms the basis of a query, so the more powerful you can make your synopsis, the better your query. I’ll post on queries soon, but I’d like to give… Read more »

A Plot Paradigm Compilation

I have always had trouble with plotting, so I’m a big fan of collecting working solutions to planning the plot. Today I’m posting the latest in my personal collection of plot diagrams, something I’ve put together based on the best plot diagrams I’ve found and used. Here is my plot paradigm with some explanation… (You… Read more »