We like to think and talk a great deal about protagonists and antagonists, and that’s not a bad way to look at things, exactly. But it’s vital to realize that those two terms are purely a matter of perspective.
Should you write a memoir, or write a novel "based on a true story"? Here, Joan Jackson offers four advantages to fictionlizing the truth.
There are three primary sources for content: the author’s knowledge, interviews with others to seek information and insight, and research. Here's how to drive drama using the latter.
Here's how to explore the functions of dialogue and narration in a scene, so that you can find the mix that’s right for your novel.
The following is a brief rundown of the three most common POVs and the advantages and disadvantages of each.
When does black women’s fiction become just women’s fiction? To answer that question, we’d first have to establish the difference between the two. Some might argue that it’s the characters, others might say themes or cultural perspective. After reflecting on this for years, I concluded that the biggest thing that separates...
Persuasive characters keep a good story aloft and your readers involved. So where do you find these characters? How do you make them breathe? Here are specific tips to help you create characters that will win over readers.
Here are seven excellent pieces of advice for fiction writers from bestselling author Margaret Atwood.
Recognizing the subtle differences in writing emotion and writing feeling can help render both more powerfully on the page.
Here are a few things I learned along the way to writing a novel between stints as a copywriter.
No doubt about it: writing a novel isn’t easy. But use these lessons to help make it (slightly) easier.
When I wanted to write an essay about my difficult relationship with my brother I had to figure out a way to make it interesting to other people so I turned to these 10 elements to keep the story rolling.
What exactly is the difference between behaviors, habits, mannerisms and quirks? Read on to learn the subtle (yet important) differences between them.
Understand why and how to break these 7 common rules about writing dialogue, and you’ll write more effective, nuanced and engaging character conversations.
You’d think New Age Fiction would be overflowing with titles. But it’s not. This makes no sense. Here’s why:
You can doom your debut from the start with these 7 (tongue-in-cheek) strategies for flailing, and failing—or, you can do just the opposite.
How do you stop over-plotting your novel? It isn’t easy, and it isn’t pleasant, but the reward for plot discipline can be a lean, compelling narrative that attracts literary agents. Try these tips.
Whether you're writing your first novel or are struggling with completing a second one (or more), sometimes you need some help focusing and figuring out how to reach your goal. Use these 9 tricks to help you go from first sentence all the way to completed novel.
I've always been a big nerd. But for one shining moment, one GLORIOUS MOMENT, when I finished writing my book, OH BOY, YOU'RE HAVING A GIRL: A Dad's Survival Guide to Raising Daughters, I felt like a complete and utter badass. Here's why.
A new year, a new writerly you. New Year’s Day is a time for reflecting on the past year while thinking about the goals, wishes, and hopes for the new year ahead. What does this mean for your writing goals? Maybe 2013 is the year you finish your novel. Maybe it’s...
Writers differ in their opinions of the revision process. Some balk at it–they see it as the “no fun” part of writing, and much prefer drafting and creation to fixing and rethinking. Other writers embrace the process and consider it an act of strengthening, polishing, and ultimately making their novel the...
In your novel, the inciting incident is the first sign of trouble for your protagonist: it’s the catalyst, the chemical reaction, that sets the plot into motion. But the inciting incident isn’t only important for your main character. Understanding how to harness it is also crucial to hooking your reader from...
Donald Maass, bestselling author of Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction, now takes an in-depth, comprehensive look at the craft and method of writing 21st century fiction. You might be asking, “What exactly is 21st century fiction?” Read this exclusive sneak peek from Writing 21st Century Fiction to...
If your supporting characters aren’t working toward an understanding of the main character or situation in some way, you might ask yourself what they’re really doing there, hogging time and space in your book. Here are questions to ask about your minor characters to make sure they have a purpose.