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Author Archives: Elizabeth Sims

How to Map Out Your Hero’s Adventure in Your Manuscript


BY ELIZABETH SIMS How do the most successful authors of our time construct their stories? The Hero’s Adventure. So what is the Hero’s Adventure? You know it already, and you may even have elements of it in the story you’re working on. But I suspect you haven’t yet methodically and thoroughly appropriated it for yourself. Here’s what you need to know. Read more

How to Use Profanity And Other Raw Talk In Your Fiction


The expletive known in polite circles as “the f-word” was most famously used in a major novel, Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead, published in 1948. Except it wasn’t. Let me explain. Read more

8 Simple Tips to Write Better

Great writing begins with an appetite for life. Try these 8 approaches to get out of your comfort zone, break rules and reap rewards. Read more

Develop Any Idea Into a Great Story: The BADS Technique Illustrated

How do great authors develop stunning narratives, break away from tradition and move the form of fiction forward? They take whatever basic idea they’ve got, then move it away from the typical. No matter your starting point—a love story, buddy tale, mystery, quest—you can do like the great innovators do: Bend it. Amp it. Drive it. Strip it. It’s BADS, baby, it’s BADS. Read more

Namedropping: Finding Solid Names for Your Unique Characters

What’s in a character’s name? Everything. Here’s how you, the writer, can master the neglected art of moniker-making. Read more

7 Simple Ways to Make a Good Story Great

To stand out to the gatekeepers who hold the keys to publication, it’s not enough for your story to be good. Use these techniques to take your fiction to new heights. Read more

Out-of-This-World Names

Jor-El. Jondalar. Modir-Rettr. What makes for a solid sci-fi character’s name? Get genre-specific tips and tricks from novelist Elizabeth Sims. Read more

8 Ways to Write Better Characters

Depicting convincing relationships could just be the key to writing better characters. Try these 8 ways to do it.

by Elizabeth Sims

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Should You Write a Novel or Short Story?

You’ve got a great idea—but how can you tell if it’s weighty enough for a novel, or would work best as a short story? Here are five key factors to consider.

by Elizabeth Sims

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8 Ways to Write a 5-Star Chapter One

When you decide to go to a restaurant for a special dinner, you enjoy the anticipation. You’ve committed to spending sufficient time and money, and now you’ve arrived, and the place looks … Read more

10-Minute Fixes to 10 Common Plot Problems

Structural problems can sink a novel. Let’s look at 10 common plot problems and how to quickly fix them.

by Elizabeth Sims
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Get off to a Strong Start

Still looking for examples of great Chapter Ones? WD Contributing Editor Elizabeth Sims shares more of her picks.
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How to Add Suspense to Your Novel

Forget formulaic junk-food mysteries. Infuse your story with all the ingredients of savory suspense.

by Elizabeth Sims
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The Essential Book Handselling Kit

Carry the following with you almost everywhere you go.

by Elizabeth Sims
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10 Simple Steps to Handselling Your Book

Yes, your own efforts really can make an impact on your sales, one reader at a time. Here are 10 simple steps to word-of-mouth success.

by Elizabeth Sims

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How to Make Your Novel a Page Turner

Never underestimate the power of suspense—in any genre. Use these surefire techniques to make your  book one readers won’t be able to put down.

by Elizabeth Sims

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The 7 Biggest Myths of Publishing (Know the Truth)

A veteran author tells you, writer to writer, what getting published is really like—and confronts the seven biggest myths.

by Elizabeth Sims

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Get Messy With Your First Draft

Rough up your first draft to get to the good stuff.

by Elizabeth Sims Read more

Face-to-Face with an Agent

You’ve got an agent. You’ve got a deal. Is it worth it to fly to New York—on your own dime—for some face time? Here’s one writer’s advice.

by Elizabeth Sims
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