In this excerpt from the book Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, Orson Scott Card explains why exposition can present particular challenges when you're writing science fiction, and tips for overcoming those challenges.
The following is excerpted from the online course The Art of Storytelling 101: Story Mapping and Pacing by Terri Valentine, which explores style, concepts, characters, and how to write strong scenes. Learn more about the course and register at Writer’s Digest University. Practically speaking, scenes are the irreducible matter of novels. The...
What is anaphora? This literary device, which appears in biblical verses as well as the works of Walt Whitman, can be used to build up tension or energy in rhetoric, poetry and prose. Here, Aaron Bauer uses Walt Whitman's "I Hear America Singing" to explore anaphora.
For the last two decades, we’ve scoured the web for our annual 101 Best Websites for Writers, a comprehensive collection of online resources for writers. This selection represents this year's creativity-centric websites for writers. These websites fuel out-of-the-box thinking and help writers awaken their imaginations.
Writing from multiple POVs allows you to zip around to new settings, cut away from scenes, leave cliffhangers unresolved for longer in ways that don’t work as well if you’re following one character’s perspective through the whole thing. Here are a few tips for getting started.
Practicing this type of imitation is useful because displacing characters and putting them in new settings and situations helps clarify how character voice affects a story as much as (or more than) plot.
Politics can be a contentious topic to address in any scenario these days—but that doesn't mean you should avoid including politics in fiction if the story warrants it. Here, Aimee Agresti offers her best tips for writing about politics in a novel.
According to literary agent Donald Maass, a protagonist is defined as the subject of a story, whereas a hero is someone with extraordinary qualities. Here, Dustin Grinnell offers examples of such extraordinary heroes and dissects what it takes to write them.
You can write a great character sketch, a moving love scene, a thrilling chase, even a heart-clutching murder—but a good story needs more than those elements. It needs plot movement—articulated by pivot points.
Not all practice makes perfect. A writer who works in isolation will not improve significantly over time. Leveling up requires stepping outside of your comfort zone. Here's how your can do that through peer critique of your work.
If you’re one of the millions of individuals who want to write a book “someday,” you may be struggling to turn that someday into today. Similarly, running might be that “impossible” thing and now I consider myself a runner. Here are 4 things writers can learn from running.
In Iowa Writers’ Workshop–graduate James Han Mattson’s acclaimed first novel, The Lost Prayers of Ricky Graves, the cyber-bullying of a gay teen leads to a multi-victim shooting. Here, he discusses related topics, including LGBTQ literature and writing about gun violence.
The author of three novels for young adults, Ashley Hope Pérez’s most recent work, Out of Darkness, has received national acclaim. Here she discusses the representation of latinx literature in the discussion of global lit.
As a writing critique group member, you walk a hair-thin line between appropriate ruthlessness and inappropriate intrusiveness. So how do you know where the boundaries are before you stumble into them? Here are nine mistakes it’s never okay to make.
Some writers struggle in transitioning from one type of writing to another, but Nicholas Meyer has conquered many forms. Learn Meyer’s cross-format storytelling processes and what encouraged him to write his memoir, The View From the Bridge: Memories of Star Trek and a Life in Hollywood.
Writing imitations of work that you admire is a great way to stretch your writing skills and improve your mastery of writing techniques. Here's an example of how it's done using Tana French's In the Woods.
Many artists have encountered the advice to "imitate the masters." Aspiring composers generally study, practice and perform pieces by others before attempting to write their own concertos, for example, and visual artists often attempt to recreate museum pieces in their own sketchbooks. This practice of imitation makes a great writing exercise...
The Buried Giant, Nobel Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro’s 2015 foray into Arthurian-inspired fantasy, is not the first book you would think of as a suspenseful novel. But Jane K. Cleland's principles of building suspense with memory loss explain how the device heightens tensions in novels like this one.
The success of NBC's The Good Place relies on its flawed but lovable characters, charming humor and, especially, its game-changing twists. Here are some hands-on lessons you can learn from the show’s terrific writing.
Laura Oles discusses her considerations for transforming her favorite weekend getaway, Port Aransas, Tex., into a setting for her mystery novel.
Is there a magic formula you can use to consistently come up with great story ideas for your books? Tim Knox offers up one idea.
Books with multiple points of view can yank readers out of the story or make readers feel detached from the main character. Here’s what you can do to keep readers turning the pages.
Learn about two writing techniques inspired by screenwriters that you can employ when writing opening scenes for novels.
Richard Alther wrote his latest novel from the perspective of a woman. Here, he shares his observations on writing from the opposite gender's point of view.