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Five Things I Learned Writing a Series

Today’s guest post is by Dan Rice.

When I started writing, I dreamed of creating an epic fantasy series. Hence, I set the goal to bang out a series one book after another. This posed a couple of problems.

First off, my writing was horrible, not marketable at all. My early efforts were so bad, I ultimately decided my only choice was to start over anew.

As I became more knowledgeable of the writerly world, I learned that it’s often best to market a book that works both as a stand-alone and the first in a series. I decided that was the way to go because it’s hard to gain traction while querying without saying you’ll love this book that’s the first in a fifteen-book epic fantasy series.

So that’s what I set out to do: write a book that could kick off a series and be a stand-alone. It took a long time, but eventually I produced a marketable manuscript and found a publisher. Dragons Walk Among Us kicks off The Allison Lee Chronicles, a four-book series. I’m editing the third book and have the initial outline of the fourth and final novel. Continue Reading…

5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Writing My First Novel

Today’s post is by Luke Lovelady.

Writing your first novel is without a doubt the most simple, fun, and stress-free project you will undertake.

*Cue the damaged writers laughing in the background*

Okay, while it might not be any of those things, there is truly poetic beauty that comes with grappling with the daunting task of writing your first novel.

The feeling of holding a written piece of work that you slaved months (maybe years) pouring your heart and soul into is like no other feeling in the world.

From my experience, writing my first manuscript in high school came with countless wasted hours meditating over seemingly pointless details.

If I had simply taken the time to comprehend some basic ideologies from experienced authors, I would have saved countless hours and a bit of mental stability. Continue Reading…

How to Go Big in Your Fiction

Today’s post is by Steve Alcorn.

How do you make your story memorable long after the last page has been turned? How do you captivate your readers, and leave them with a powerful impression?


Writing big means going beyond mere words—it means creating images in your readers’ minds, a movie that will involve all their senses and keep them on the edge of their seats.

Let’s take a look at two of my favorite techniques for writing big.

The Power of Suggestion

A big part of memorability is vivid writing, and that’s mostly accomplished by simply showing rather than telling, which can be hard because vivid showing involves two almost opposite techniques:

  • Suggest rather than specify.
  • Be specific.

Wait! How can we do both?

Suggest rather than specify means you don’t need to tell us every little detail. Here’s an example from Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies:

Around the outskirts of the city, cut off from town by the black oval of the river, everything was in darkness. Everyone ugly was in bed by now.

Tally took off her interface ring and said, “Good night.”

“Sweet dreams, Tally,” said the room.

She chewed up a toothbrush pill, punched her pillows, and shoved an old portable heater—one that produced about as much warmth as a sleeping, Tally-size human being—under the covers.

Then she crawled out the window.

What a vivid mental picture we get of the city, the night, her room, her bed … and yet none of them were really described, were they? We saw them through Tally’s eyes. Westerfeld just suggested they were there and let us do the rest. Continue Reading…

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