Tag Archive - writing craft

10 Steps to Nail Your Story

Today’s guest post is by best-selling author DiAnn Mills:

I’m all about ways to ensure stories delight our readers. That’s why we writers write. The process of shuffling through blogs, how-to books, and conference workshops for the most effective way to create reader appeal is an ongoing process.

Someone is always trying to hammer a new method into our brains.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen writers get so caught up with all the dos and don’ts that their creativity becomes paralyzed. They become stuck and spend their time constantly revising their stories without making them better. Some writers spend years perfecting a manuscript and never submitting. Instead of overthinking story, the writer could have written more books to improve her craft while entertaining readers. Continue Reading…

Hacking Your Reader’s Brain

Today’s guest post is by Jeff Gerke, award-winning author, former book publisher, and writing instructor. I heard Jeff give a talk on this topic and was enthralled. Be prepared to learn something that will blow you away—the truth about reader engagement. His topic ties in wonderfully with what our editors have been examining all month—Fatal Flaw #7: Lack of Pacing and Tension. Jeff provides a whole other way of understanding why our fiction often lacks these crucial elements.

What makes a novel a best seller? What makes it something readers careen through, staying up until three in the morning to finish? What causes readers to tell all their friends they have to read a given novel?

Now, I would wish the answer to be “excellent fiction craftsmanship.” I would like to report that the secret to a novel’s success is the hard work and disciplined training of the writer. Converting telling to showing, keeping that point of view consistent, replacing all those flabby “to be” verbs and “–ly” adverbs with their fitter, punchier alternatives.

Yes, I would like to report that, but I can’t. Continue Reading…

Why Cinematic Technique Is Essential for Novelists

This week I’ve released my new writing craft book Shoot Your Novel, which I feel offers writing tools that are not taught by any other writing instructors. Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may have gone through the whole course last year, post by post, and if you have, I hope you have learned some very new approaches to writing fiction.

Why should writers learn new approaches? Aren’t the “old” approaches time-tested? Don’t they work?

They do. However, times have changed in some very significant ways. The primary way has to do with the type and deliverance of media in our modern world. Sol Stein in his highly regarded book Stein on Writing said, “Twentieth-century readers, transformed by film and TV, are used to seeing stories. The reading experience for a twentieth-century reader is increasingly visual. The story is happening in front of his eyes.” This is even more true in the twenty-first century. As literary agent and author Donald Maass says in Writing 21st Century Fiction: “Make characters do something that readers can visualize.” Continue Reading…

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