fiction

4 Ways to Write a Compelling Character

Where do fictional characters come from, and, more important, how do you build one from scratch? For some writers, characters whisper in their ears or appear in their dreams; for others, building a character requires as much effort and forethought as constructing a house. Though the method will vary for every...

New Literary Agent Alert: Jennifer Wills of The Seymour Agency

Reminder: New literary agents (with this spotlight featuring Jennifer Wills of The Seymour Agency) are golden opportunities for new writers because each one is a literary agent who is likely building his or her client list. About Jennifer: Jennifer has five years of experience in some of the publishing industry’s leading literary agencies. She worked...

7 Things I’ve Learned So Far, by Karim Dimechkie

When I Think It’s Done, It’s Not. I honestly can’t count how many times I’ve thought my novel was complete, both while writing Lifted by the Great Nothing and the current book I’m working on. It only requires a short break to realize how far from done the book really is.

Shark Week Is for Readers, Too: 10+ Books to Read this Week

Each year for one week, The Discovery Channel takes over the airwaves with a seven-day onslaught of movies, documentaries, survivor tales and semi-factual mockumentaries about sharks. As fascinating as it all is, readers are left high and dry—where are all the books about sharks? I’ve rounded up several—some classic, some campy,...

Tighten the Tension in Your Novel

“Your novel is lacking tension.” “I understand the reason for this scene, but my mind kept wandering while I was reading.” “This chapter is missing a hook … I’m just not interested.” You might have received this or similar feedback from your writing buddy, critique group, or even an agent or...

Questioning the Traditional Story Structure

In today’s excerpt from Words Overflown By Stars, author David Jauss discusses and questions the traditional story structure. There’s nothing second-rate about a traditional story. Lots of people write great ones and millions of people love to read them. For some writers, though, the form itself may feel unnatural, not suited...

fiction writing | scene length

Scene Length: Short Scenes versus Long Scenes

This excerpt is from Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld. It’s worth checking out if you’re writing fiction! Let’s talk about an issue that’s sure to rise up in your mind: scene length. One of the benefits of writing in scene form is that the ending of a scene provides...

premise in writing | writing a novel

Writing Scenes: Stepping Forward, Falling Back

Author of The Breakout Novelist, Donald Maass, discusses writing scenes in today’s tip of the day. He explains the importance of setting goals for each scene with an example from George R.R. Martin’s book, A Storm of Swords. Most instruction in writing scenes begins with this sound advice: Send your character...

10 Ways to Launch Strong Scenes

Any story or novel is, in essence, a series of scenes strung together like beads on a wire, with narrative summary adding texture and color between. A work of fiction will comprise many scenes, and each one of these individual scenes must be built with a structure most easily described as...