6 Tips to Make Your Scenes Visually Dynamic

Today’s post is a reprint from 2016.

Many of us were raised watching thousands of movies and television shows. The style, technique, and methods used in film and TV are so familiar to us, we process them comfortably. To some degree, we now expect these elements to appear in the novels we read—if not consciously, then subconsciously.

We know what makes a riveting scene in a movie, and what makes a boring one—at least viscerally. And though our tastes differ, certainly, for the most part we agree when a scene “works” or doesn’t. It either accomplishes what the writer or director has set out to do, or it flops.

As writers, we can learn from this visual storytelling; what makes a great movie can also strengthen a novel or short story. Much of the technique filmmakers use can be adapted to fiction writing. Continue Reading…

6 Factors to Becoming Super Productive

If you’re like so many people these days, you’re fatigued and often unmotivated. Covid has wreaked damage not only to the world at large but to every person’s psyche. Our nerves are shot. We are all suffering from post-traumatic stress in one form or another (or we are in present stress).

I don’t have to continue with the long list of stressors running rampant in our lives.

Still … we want to be productive. And even if productivity means just getting through your to-do list each day, that matters.

Writers need to be productive to get any writing done. And we don’t want to just write; we want our writing to be excellent, maybe even significant.

So, in this world that drains more than fills, what can writers do to increase productivity in a practical way?

I propose six factors that can influence our productivity, and these have to do with ensuring we function at our peak performance level. And, overall, these will result in better health and feeling better about ourselves overall. Continue Reading…

Crafting Great Characters Starts and Ends with Motivation

This material ran on my blog four years ago, but it’s worth sharing again!

Most fiction writers know that character is at the heart of a story. Whether you are writing short or long fiction, you need terrific characters.

But what’s in a character? And how much do you need to know about your characters before you start writing?

The depth of detail you develop for your characters may vary. It stands to reason that you aren’t going to put as much work into crafting minor characters as you would major ones. And the most important character—your protagonist—should have the most depth.

How deep should you go? That’s a good question. Some writers spend months working on a character: her looks, her history, her family, her issues. But often the details a writer works up are trivial details. Continue Reading…

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