Writing Craft Tips

Writing Craft Tips: Plot

This week I thought I’d give you a few links to older content regarding plot that still may be helpful for whatever you’re struggling with. Next week, I’ll link to the tons of content on building characters. Plot One of my most popular craft links is to this plot paradigm. It’s available for you to… Read more »

Character or Plot: Which Comes First?

I’m a fan of the Marvel Universe. I find the dialogue snappy, I love the embedded humor, I enjoy the ridiculous costumes and sets, and even the not terribly well-hidden messages. But these mindless movies beg one serious writerly question: is the plot or the characters? Do we create plot-driven or character-driven stories and why?… Read more »

KidLit Bundle Ends Tonight!

Kidlit Writers – ICYMI! I contributed to this Infostack bundle because I think it’s an incredible deal. For $67, you have access to a wide assortment of inspiring materials, gathered from talented authors, to help you write your best book. Now, to sweeten the pot I’m adding to the deal: if you have bought this… Read more »

Writers! Back Away Slowly…

I was listening to a writing discussion with Jennie Nash and Allison Williams the other night and Allison made a comment that the writers who succeed are the ones who can put the work down and come back to it with a fresh eye. I know from personal experience how important that fresh eye can… Read more »

Writing Lessons From an Illustrator

I listened to an excellent lecture today, and with acknowledgement to Eric Castleman, who gave the lecture, I’d love to share with you – reinterpreted for writers – his wise advice. He didn’t know that he was an artist from the jump. He liked art and dove in – he is entirely self-taught. You can… Read more »

3 Exercises to Uncover Your Personal Life Theme

What the heck is a “personal life theme”? And why, you may ask, would I want to uncover mine? (Do note that this exercise is a bit of personal therapy.) Aside from the general importance of self-knowledge, for a writer, understanding our life theme can guide us in choosing which books to write and how… Read more »

4 Ways To Make Reader/Character Connections

As Lisa Cron says in her terrific craft book Story Genius, our brains are wired for connection. People need other people; readers need characters. When we read, we are looking to make a deep emotional connection with the main character of a story. Here are four ways – dos and don’ts – to ensure that… Read more »

8 Killer Character Questions

By that, I don’t mean your character needs to be a killer. But – what, you writers may ask, is the most important task to tackle while writing? I’m a firm believer that without a great character, your novel will be…lost. The best plot, the most exciting premise, the most challenging adventure is nothing without… Read more »

Writers Craft Question: What Is “Head-hopping”?

I thought I’d write about the question of “head-hopping” because I see it often in less experienced writers. Head-hopping is moving in a narrative, without breaks, from one character’s point of view into another. This is not the same as writing from an omniscient point of view, in which the story is told in third… Read more »

Writers: What’s Your Core Value?

While I was earning my MFA at Vermont College of Fine Arts, Marion Dane Bauer was on the faculty, and she gave a lecture on finding the heart of your work by finding the heart of what moves you. It often comes from your past, and is an issue that you deal with or have… Read more »