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Crafting Opening Novel Scenes That Pack a Punch

Today’s guest post is by Jennifer Locke.

Novel beginnings are tough.

The writer faced with a blank document must ask herself question upon question.

  • How do I include relevant information regarding time and place without front-loading a lot of backstory?
  • Which key details will set the scene in the reader’s mind?
  • How can I jump right into the action, without leaving my readers completely lost, unmoored from the specifics of story?

We’ve heard all the no-nos. Continue Reading…

8 Tips for Writing Success from a Writing Genius

Today’s guest post is by Fred Johnson.

The late David Foster Wallace (1962­–2008) has long been recognized as a literary genius by those qualified to decide such things. His 1996 novel Infinite Jest blew critics away with its complexity, inimitable style, and sheer length, and his other novels, along with his essays, short stories, and works of nonfiction, have been praised as works of startling originality and substance.

While it would be unwise to try to imitate Wallace’s own idiosyncratic style, it’s undoubtedly a good idea to listen to what this giant of American letters had to say about writing and getting stuff done.

So without further ado, here are David Foster Wallace’s eight tips to make you a better writer. Continue Reading…

5 Tips to Writing Secondary Characters That Pop

Today’s guest post is by author Jennifer Probst.

Secondary characters have always been important to readers in fiction and serve an important purpose for the writer.

I’ve always been a fan of the sassy best friend; the sarcastic sidekick to the hero creating a perfect bromance; the wise, funny matriarch bestowing valued advice. These characters add depth and dimension to story, hook readers, and lead them to do the most important task of all: buy your next book.

Introducing a secondary character who has no purpose and fails to win readers’ hearts is a missed opportunity to grow your readership. But how do you create these vibrant characters without watching them become flimsy paper dolls with no real personality or pop?

I’ve sketched out some important steps to make sure your secondary characters are rich, diverse, and have readers coming back for more. Continue Reading…

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