Writing Craft Tips

My Courses Are Up!

At last!! I’m so excited to announce the launch of my Six Day Story System course! I’ve spent the past 6 months preparing this course – and a number of others that will be up very soon. This first one speaks to a need I’ve seen repeatedly: for information at a just-above-basic level. A series… Read more »

Where to Put Flashbacks

Since I’ve been talking lately about backstory wounds (see this post, and this one, too) I now want to talk about general backstory and flashbacks. That is, the stuff that comes before your story opens but plays a role in the formation of both character and plot going forward. Where to Start Telling Your Tale… Read more »

Pearl: A Backstory Story

Backstory. As I’ve grown as a writer and teacher, I’ve come to believe that backstory is the true secret of building a great character. This article from the archives illustrates its importance. The Misbelief Stems From the Wound Lisa Cron, in her terrific craft book STORY GENIUS, describes what she calls the character’s “misbelief” –… Read more »

Courses for Writers

I’m very excited to announce that I’m preparing the first in a series of writing courses, and plan to release it into the world in May! First, My Fundamentals Course This has been long in the making – and it’s only the first of many. This first course will cover the basics of writing for… Read more »

For Writers: Revision

I love revision. My first drafts tend to be real ugly ducklings. If there’s a swan inside, it only emerges after multiple revisions. In this post, I’m giving you two things: first, my ten-point global revision technique; and second, my detail checklist. The detail checklist is especially helpful for getting rid of those pesky errors… Read more »

For Writers: On Voice and Tone

This week I’m going back into the archives for a refresher on voice. 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… Read more »

Your Character’s Desire & Goal

Whatever you are writing – for kids or adults, picture book or young adult or older – your protagonist must have two story arcs: internal, and external. And each of those arcs has a destination. Just to keep it simple, we’ll call the internal destination your character’s desire, and the external destination their goal. In… Read more »

The Antagonist Never Changes

I’m a fan of Steven Pressfield. He’s a screenwriter who also shares his substantial knowledge of craft, and I’ve been following him for a long time. A while back he wrote this post about the villain (antagonist). At the time I wanted to argue with him in the same way he argued with his former… Read more »

Picture Book Basics

Back in the day I believed that picture books were THE books for kids. I had good reason to feel this way as BHP (Before Harry Potter) there was no real “middle grade” category, and YA was still in the semi-adult realm, with books like The Red Badge of Courage. So, like many of you,… Read more »