Don’t Start at the Beginning

As wonderful as my character’s tragic backstory or hushed conversation might be, none of that matters an iota if I don’t get the beginning right.

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What I Meant to Say Was…

Listening to the world around you – yes, perhaps more than is polite – is a surefire way to realistically represent the world around you, no matter the setting, time period or characters. 

What’s the Point (of View)?

Let’s delve a little into point of view choice between first, second and third, and see what influencers, challenges and story elements will help us make our decisions about which to use. 

Beware the Mary-Sue

Before we can avoid writing her, or accidentally scare ourselves into a corner and avoid writing women altogether, it’s important to ask: What exactly is a Mary Sue, and why don’t we want one?  

Get Series-ous: Seven Things to Do Before Starting Your Series

Though it has its many positives, there are certain pitfalls any writer can run into when writing a series. Taking these precautionary steps in advance will help you to minimize the challenges down the line and, hopefully, to produce better books.

Storyboard Not Storybored

Still, as someone who obsessively plans, outlines, plots and interviews, one of my most beloved tools of writing has stuck by me time and again. It’s not uncommon or revolutionary, not now, but it’s gotten me out of more sticky plot issues and setting questions than I care to admit. Behold the power of the storyboard.

The Constructive Critique Question

The constructive critique is a vital tool and not just for the reasons you think. While there is much to be gained from new sets of eyes reading and analyzing your work, the value of a critique, whether in a classroom, writing group or on a peer-to-peer basis, is undeniable.

Villains – Make Them Good or Make Them Gone

These characters are the lens through which a tale is told, and who they are–and how well the author knows them– directly influences that story. You’d be hard pressed to find a writer who didn’t understand the importance of heroes and heroines.

The same can’t always be said of the villains, however. 

Dear New Authors (I Did It So You Don’t Have To)

Here’s what you need to know about being a writer. You have to get up. Because no matter how long it takes you, no matter how battle-weary you feel, no matter how many times you’ve cried this year, if you don’t get up, that’s game over.