Without having a clear framework in mind before you begin your story, you risk losing sight of why you started writing your memoir in the first place. Here's help determining your framework.
When I moved to India in 2010, I didn’t consider myself a travel writer. I was a freelance essayist who wrote about family and social issues. But that didn't stop me--and that shouldn't stop you either.
In early interviews, the questions I was most often asked were around the facts of my anorexia itself: How long did it take you to realize you were still ill? Why was it so hard for you to meet your basic needs? But along the way one interviewer asked a question which really stuck...
Bestsellers carry secrets (and if they were to share a few it might be these).
As a former motion picture executive and current instructor of fiction writing, I’ve heard too often the incorrect definition of a sympathetic character. It is not necessarily someone we like. It is not necessarily someone we admire as a doer of good deeds. We follow characters with interest and compassion when we have a...
It can strike while you’re working on any piece, anytime, anywhere. You're writing along like butter, and suddenly a stomach-wrenching jolt slams you up against a concrete wall. That thunderous voice in your head rebukes: "THAT'S THE WORST, MOST HORRIBLE, STUPID PHRASE SINCE . . . ." And you’re paralyzed.
Delving into the mental health of characters is dangerous, as it will serve as your own mirror, but to ignore the exploration is perhaps more damaging still, relegating your otherwise excellent work into the pile of works featuring "hard to relate to" protagonists. Here are 3 reasons why writers exclude the mental health...
Both everyday and every day are correct, but they can’t be used interchangeably. Here's a simple explanation of when to use each.
When you query a magazine editor, should you propose a word count for the article or let the editor decide? Here's what editors want you to do.
Some people know exactly what they want to write about when they start their memoir. Others come to the computer expecting to purge their life onto the virtual page. If that’s you, take it from me, it won’t work—at least not for a book project. By focusing on the three foundational legs of memoir...
To write honestly and compassionately about members of your family, you must first reflect on your purpose, your approach, the details of your story and the potential reactions your family members might have. Here's how to do that.
There are many elements writers need to pay close attention to when creating a fictional world. There’s setting, plot, pacing, voice, imagery and so on. Everything is important, everything counts. That said, one of my favorite places to focus my writing attention is on my characters. How do your create a good character? Well,...
BY JESSICA STRAWSER Can you imagine 30 days from now holding your finished first draft in your hands? It's possible. Here are 30 tips, resources and strategies for writing a book in a month.
BY ELIZABETH SIMS When your plot starts lagging behind your word count, try one of these simple suggestions for picking up steam.
Writers often have a tough time staying on our diet—you know, the one where our goal is to burn as many words as possible onto the page each day. That's why we're here to help.
BY ANNE R. ALLEN Bite-sized fiction has moved mainstream, and today’s readers are more eager than ever to “read short.” Here’s why writing little stories is paying off in a big way.
Over the past year I posted articles on this blog that covered everything—from grammar to writing better characters to getting published and more. Here’s a cheat sheet linking to what I consider the 50 best articles that can help you reach your writing goals. My goal is to help you move your writing career...
BY LORIE ANN GROVER Writing fiction springing from an actual event requires a finesse for your reader’s benefit, your friends’, your enemies, and yourself.
Before sending your novel out to potential agents and publishers, be sure to follow these important formatting guidelines.
One of the biggest bugaboos in manuscript submissions is when the author doesn’t properly introduce the protagonist within the first chapter. Here's how to help readers meet your main character.
In explaining why he wrote his novels, the great writer Joseph Conrad once told his readers that it was so they could “glimpse the truth for which you have forgotten to ask.” These words no doubt resonate with many writers, but especially with those of us who choose faraway places and times for our...
BY BRENDA JANOWITZ You simply cannot write a good novel without knowing your characters inside and out. Here are the top 10 questions you need to be able to answer about each of your characters:
As the middleclass lives out the tale spun by Stephen King’s Thinner, we might find ourselves picking up a dystopian novel to relive our despondent youths. In other words, if you feel angry about the current political milieu, then you just might be a dystopian author.
A literary agent shares a real-life novel pitch that ultimately led to a book deal—and shows you how to query your own work with success.
The lives and lifestyles of legendary writers can teach us all some crucial lessons about platform and self-branding today.