Writing for Life


The 2 Deep, Dark Secrets of High-Producing Novelists

man whispering

Today’s guest post is by international best-selling author Jerry B. Jenkins. Many know him as the coauthor of the Left Behind series, but Jerry has written more than 100 novels, and I’m honored to have him share his expertise and insights with Live Write Thrive readers:

Magicians are not to reveal their secrets. No such code exists among novelists, so allow me to let out of the bag our two deep dark secrets:

1. Neither the secrets, nor the novelists, are actually deep.

2. Neither the secrets, nor the novelists, are all that dark (with the exceptions of Mssrs. King and Koontz).

Before you assemble with pitchfork, table leg, and torch, I promise to reveal what can make you a high producer. What separates the actively selling storyteller from the dilettante is something you’ve suspected all along, and it’s achievable.

You don’t see me saying it’s easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it. Neither did I say it was original. I’m just reinforcing it as one who’s proved it.

With a few reasonable caveats—and I’ll spell them out—you can become a highly productive novelist.

It comes down to how badly you want it. How badly do you want it? Continue Reading…

The Fatal Flaws of Fiction Writing


How Fiction Writers Can Ramp Up Tension and Pacing


This month our editors are going to tackle Fatal Flaw #7—Lack of Pacing and Tension. Rarely are fiction writers taught how to pace a story or how to create tension. These two important components are essential considerations, and it’s often easy to spot when a story or a novel’s scene lacks them. But not so easy to know how to fix the problems. So Rachel Scott Thomson begins our practical look at fixing this fatal flaw.

Pacing. It’s important. You know how sometimes you can’t put a book down—how the pages turn all by themselves as your heart rate speeds up and your eyes get wider and the book gets closer and closer to your nose?

Yeah, pacing does that. Books that use pacing really well—thriller novels and their kin—leave us feeling like we need a nap. Or therapy. Continue Reading…

Grammar, Punctuation & Confusables


Wreaking Havoc

Say What new

I don’t mean to wreak havoc on your life, but here’s a set of confusing words that you need to know before you wreck someone else’s life—or your prose.

Wreak and reek are homonyms—they sound the same but have oh-so-different spellings and meanings.

Reek is a verb that means to give off a strong or offensive odor.

  • My clothes reeked after spending an evening in a smoke-filled pub.

Wreak is also a verb. It means to inflict or cause damage, harm, or punishment.

  • Hurricane Katrina wreaked billions of dollars in damages all along the Gulf Coast.

Both reek and wreak are regular verbs, adding ed (reeked, wreaked) for the past tense, and ing for the participle (reeking, wreaking). Continue Reading…

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