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 having a beginning,...
Download a 26-day countdown poster with energy boosting ideas to fuel your marathon and track your accomplishments from Day 1 to Day 26. Write-A-Thon Poster 8.5×11 Write-A-Thon Poster 11×17 Need a speaker? Contact Rochelle to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: firstname.lastname@example.org About the...
Q&A with Rochelle Melander, author of Write-A-Thon Need a speaker? Contact Rochelle to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: email@example.com How many books have you written in 26 days or less? Five! I wrote Write-A-Thon in 26 days during National Novel Writing Month in 2009. Of course, I...
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Life to Tell About it) by Rochelle Melander Writer’s Digest Books, 2011 ISBN-13: 978-1-59963-391-6 ISBN-10: 1-59963-391-4 $16.99 paperback, 240 pages Buy the book! Read an Excerpt! Find out how to avoid getting overwhelmed in the midst of your writing marathon. Free Webinar: September 27! Are...
The following are just a handful of suggested outlining techniques that may work for your writing. Which method is best suited for you? Find out here.
A how-to is written as a sequence—first you do this, and then you do this. The essential question the writer asks herself when writing a how-to is, “What happens next?” If you are about to embark on a how-to, start at what you consider the beginning, and just keep answering that question over and...
The best writers never stop striving for ways to write better. Here, five masters of the craft share their secrets for honing the essentials, one technique at a time.
As anyone who’s ever tried to come up with one of those vital one-sentence pitches for their book knows, getting it right can be maddening. Here, courtesy of bestseller Jon Land, is one particularly sharp strategy to take your elevator pitch to new heights. ThrillerFest’s AgentFest pitch slam took place yesterday, and literary agents...
JOHN SCALZI is the author of several science fiction novels, including the bestselling Old Man’s War series, comprising Old Man’s War, The Ghost Brigades, and The Last Colony. He is a winner of the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, and he won the Hugo Award for Your Hate Mail Will Be...
Kristin Hannah (kristinhannah.com) is The New York Times bestselling author of 18 novels, including the blockbusters Firefly Lane, True Colors and Winter Garden, and, most recently, Night Road. You’ve said the seed of your writing was first planted by your mother, not long before she passed away. Does that still influence the types of...
With so many great ideas, how do you organize them into some sort of coherent outline that will guide your writing? Here's how.
by Laura Whitcomb
To make characters seem real, you need to tap into what drives them. Use this foolproof method to bring the emotion of your story to life.
by David Corbett
A good opening line is a powerful thing: It can grab an editor’s attention, set the tone for the rest of the piece, and make sure readers stay through The End. Here are 10 ways to steer your story toward success.
by Jacob M. Appel
If you think you’ve heard all you need to know about what drives a plot, think again. Here’s the real stuff the best stories are made of.
by Steven James
So how does bestselling author Karin Slaughter (Broken) stay sane when her writing is frustrating her? We asked—and here are her responses.
It takes a lot of energy to write a book and stay with it through drafts, revisions, submissions, rejections, sales and marketing. Many writers find the energy in the sheer joy of writing. But others draw on darker impulses and feelings to carry them through the process. Sorrow, anger and hurt can be the...
Most of the time, we want to balance our scenes using dialogue, action and narrative to engage readers at an emotional level and keep them hooked. Here's how to do that.
by Gloria Kempton
Structural problems can sink a novel. Let’s look at 10 common plot problems and how to quickly fix them.
by Elizabeth Sims
Don’t be afraid to make things hard on your characters. You should always come up with several different problems to choose from. Here are 3 ways to do that.
by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
Here’s editor Anica Mrose Rissi’s list of what you can do to increase your book’s chances of making it out of the slush pile and into the spotlight.
by Anica Mrose Rissi
Here are 4 quick exercises to make sure your characters speak to readers (and agents).
All stories contain four elements that can determine structure: milieu, idea, character and event. Here's a look at each one and how each will affect your novel.
by Orson Scott Card
In his session “The Psychology of Character Motivation,” Edgar-nominated author D.P. Lyle, MD, shared this invaluable exercise for developing your characters’ motivations as your story unfolds.
by Jessica Strawser, reporting from ThrillerFest 2010 (New York City)
Sometimes writers need a little inspirational nudge. Try these exercises to help get you started.