Writing Craft Tips

Making Trouble (For Your Characters)

This writing craft tip might feel a little too uncomfortably familiar at the moment. I know a lot of writers right now can’t find focus, and I hear you. Some days it’s like walking through wet cement. Navigating a terrible situation requires processing. I hope this post helps you when you’re ready. Our Stories, Ourselves… Read more »

What’s At Stake?

Continuing the posts from a month or so back, when the world was a different place. But I still want to write, and share craft, so here you go. Finally, a great story – and a great character – need stakes. Stakes are raised through adding tension at both a macro and a micro level…. Read more »

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 »