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May 3, 2010

Socialpolitan.org Fiction Writing Articles

Filed under: Articles,Writing — socialpolitan @ 11:48 pm
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03-03-08
As an editor, I can tell you that one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when a writer “pesters” me every other day or once a week about his (or her) submission. I don’t mind if it’s a viable q…
03-05-08
So you say you want to get published? Well, great! These days you have more options than ever to see your work in print. Whenever I teach at conferences I am always amazed at how many authors are …
05-30-09
A disclaimer: I’m just providing a sample set of turning points here-not a formula. These aren’t engraved in marble. In fact, plenty of books don’t even use a three-act structure. (Some h…
05-30-09
Writing a novel is easy. Writing a good novel is hard. That’s just life. If it were easy, we’d all be writing best-selling, prize-winning fiction.   Frankly, there are a thousand different…
01-05-09
By Sandra Haven    Words are plentiful–and free. Just look in the dictionary! So how does a writer take these bare essentials and create a real, honest-to-goodness, worth-the-time-…
09-10-09
By Randy Ingermanson    Having trouble making the scenes in your novel work their magic? In this article, I’ll show you how to write the “perfect” scene.   Maybe you think it’s …
09-11-09
Keep it brief. No one wants pages and pages of description anymore. It’s hard to read a Dickens novel these days, as we are now much more interested in reading “what happens.” We live in a hurr…
06-22-08
I. The First Introduction   THAT’S RIGHT. I know it sounds like an ad for some sleazy writers’ school, but I really am going to tell you everything you need to pursue a successful a…
06-26-08
In the long run, one of the most influential books of the 20th century may turn out to be Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces.   The ideas expressed in Campbell’s book are h…
11-08-09
“Dramas should be complete and whole in themselves, with a beginning, a middle and an end…with all the organic unity of a living creature.” Aristotle   The key to creating a novel is to…
08-20-08
For as long as I’ve been a writer of romance, I’ve heard comments about the formulaic nature of romance novels. After I became published, I began to hear the murmurs of the “secret formula” wh…
08-21-08
Experienced writers know that plot and character are like Siamese twins: if one is terminally diseased, the other is doomed. While a solid structure is essential to a good screenplay, it fails …
09-02-08
Most types of story, whether short stories or novels, absolutely need that vital ingredient: the conflict. Preferably more than one. You may well have your characters all fleshed out and ready t…
12-07-08
By Steve Dempster   Your story, be it novel, short story or novelette, is finished. Or is it? Before you send it to a publisher, check firstly that your story makes sense!Maybe you r…
11-18-08
When it comes to writing fiction, there are numerous advantages to creating a make-believe setting – whether it be a house, a street, a town or even a whole country.   Not only do you n…
09-10-08
The most critical lesson in writing a love scene is that it is similar to making love in the real world: when done well, it is messy, chaotic and somewhat animalistic. The civilized approach do…
09-10-08
Writing fiction is like allowing yourself to be the ugliest person in the room and the most beautiful person at the same time. The “beautiful” you swans into the party, garnering admiration, pr…
09-13-08
We’re choking on acronyms. We’re knee deep in initials. We all have our particular set, maybe several sets, and I’m not talking about S. A. for Stella Alicia, or whatever your initials happen t…
09-13-08
Exposition: The introductory material which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters, and presents other facts necessary to understanding the story.   Foreshad…
11-14-08
By Cheryl St. John                 No matter what writing topic I’m asked to address, I hang the most importance on characters.&…
09-19-08
Three years ago a friend challenged me to turn a short story I had written into a complete novel. At the time, I remember laughing at her hysterically.Me? Write an entire novel? Where …
11-19-08
By Samantha Hunter I forget who said this, but they were spot on. If you want to be a writer, you will find revision is one of the major processes you’ll have to get used to. Nothing ever gets…
09-19-08
Most writers recognize the necessity of good worldbuilding in fantasy and science fiction. They understand they need to learn the geography of a foreign country for a spy thriller, and how, …
11-14-08
By Lajos Egri Even people who know little about the mechanics of writing are bored by a static play, a play which has little conflict or spotty conflict. There are four types of conflict…
09-29-08
If you write fantasy or are thinking about writing fantasy you probably are going to have medieval weapons in your created world. Today’s reader of fantasy is very savvy when it comes to weapons…
09-29-08
When I first started writing, I never gave a thought to developing the opening line. I just had a thought, sat down, and wrote it. Of course, I didn’t sell anything. I don’t think anyone learned…
09-29-08
When I first started writing, I let the characters develop themselves. It was quite interesting to see the twists and turns they created in their own lives, but I lost control of them. As intere…
10-01-08
The fastest way to write a novel produces a wonderful side-effect: better writing. This is difficult for many writers to grasp at first, particularly those writers who have a tendency to edit as…
10-01-08
Many romance writers take their heroine for granted. This can be a big mistake. The main character of any novel requires thought and consideration, but the main character of a romance novel re…
10-01-08
I really wish I had time to go to book signings. I love meeting people, and it always feels so good when people tell you, to your face, you’ve done a good job and helped them.   However, m…
10-02-08
Blogging successfully to build your online business will take time, effort, and planning. Each of these is equally important, so make a commitment to yourself that you will make the effort to gr…
10-02-08
As many of you know, a screenplay is broadly divided into three acts: 1. The beginning (Setup) that is 22 to 30 pages long, 2. Middle (confrontation or conflict) that is about 60 pages long, and…
10-02-08
Audience of the products of entertainment industries all over the world and people who are aspiring entertainment industry wannabes and workders if not the professionals in almost all parts of t…
10-02-08
Creative Writing Plot Tips We all tackle plotting differently. How you plot will be individual to you, as it is with every writer. Below is an outline of what can go into a plot. How much you …
10-02-08
When I was a frustrated, struggling writer, I used to believe there was something wrong with the system. How was anyone with talent supposed to break in, if the people within the system made it vi…
10-02-08
Last weekend, I held another sold-out workshop at Fox in Sydney, and, as is usually the case at my workshops, I found a new way of presenting an idea that helped me grasp it better. And I’d like t…
10-09-08
Archetypal Characters   Introduction to Archetypes   Archetypes exist as a form of storytelling shorthand.  Because they are immediately recognizable, an author may c…
10-09-08
Moviegoers and readers identify with stories through the characters. The most powerful way to reach an audience is through the characters’ emotions. For only when we connect with the characters…
12-08-08
by James Bonnet   In my previous articles - The Essence of Story , Beyond Theme: Story’s New Unified Field , The Metaphor Is King, and The Tragedy, Mystery, and Romance of Genre , …
10-09-08
Have you ever noticed whom the actors thank when they win an Oscar? They profusely thank the director for “getting the performance out of them.” They thank their agent, their husbands, wives, e…
10-09-08
In real life, some people skate from one success to the next. Others hit a flat-line long before they ever actually die. Unlike people, all story characters suffer both…
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
The Internet Writing Workshop Write – Critique – Learn     The Internet Writing Workshop is a set of mailing lists (groups) that communicate in English by email. We…
10-22-08
Writer’s Digest Magazine   WRITER’S DIGEST focuses on writers and their trade: the craft of writing, the tools for writing, the markets for writing. Features offer specific advice on h…
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clea…
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your mi…
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
10-22-08
Each of us needs a little urging at time to write and create. These 20 minute daily exercises will assist you in doing exactly that. Each day a new topic or thought will be posted. Clear your …
05-30-09
So you want to write a short story, but you don’t know where to start? No worries – today’s WEbook Writing Secret is here to help.   The key to overcoming writer’s block is structure. Cou…
10-30-08
Keep a spy notebook. Write down anything that inspires you or captures your interest. If it appeals to you, chances are good it will appeal to your readers as well. Don’t be afraid of copying out…
10-30-08
In this excerpt from Make a Scene by Jordan E. Rosenfeld, you’ll find out:    * What an action scene can do for your story    * When to use an action scene &nbsp…
10-30-08
A short story is a single movement with a single climax which “by the rule of elegance and efficiency” should contain the fewest scenes possible-perhaps three. The shor…
10-30-08
It is never wise to decide beforehand what length a thing will be. It will be as long as it takes to do it . . .   I’ll call any length of fiction a story, whether it be a novel o…
10-30-08
The novel is an organic event that requires prepared ground to do its work.   So let us define the problem solved by the cathedral: How do you build a large indoor lighted space? Answer…
10-30-08
I define story as a narrative of events (external or psychological) which moves through time or implies the passage of time, and which involves change.   I define plot as a form of stor…
10-30-08
1.      Have a point and make it by means of the best word.2.      Weed out the Jargon.3.      Look for all fancy wording…
10-30-08
Here is, as promised, the set of questions that must be answered favorably to your copy before you can call your revision finished.I. What is the tone of my piece? Have I indulged myself in langua…
10-30-08
A work that aspires, however humbly, to the condition of art should carry its justification in every line. And art itself may be defined as a single-minded attempt to render the highest kind of ju…
10-30-08
Definitions (by Madison Smartt Bell unless otherwise indicated)_________________________Aesthetic Distance-A deliberate emotional remove from the events of the story that can be closed or opened, …
10-30-08
(from a how-to book by Sherry-Anne Jacobs, AKA Anna Jacobs) This is the first of a 3-part mini-series by Sherry-Anne – in the next couple of weeks, look forward to tips on handling ‘middles’…
10-30-08
(from a how-to book by Sherry-Anne Jacobs, AKA Anna Jacobs) This Tipsheet forms part 2 of a 3-part mini-series on beginnings, middles and ends by Sherry Anne.   Let’s dispose of a cou…
10-30-08
(from a how-to book by Sherry-Anne Jacobs, AKA Anna Jacobs) This Tipsheet forms part 2 of a 3-part mini-series on beginnings, middles and ends by Sherry Anne.   THINK ABOUT THIS! &…
10-30-08
The basic plot work for most stories, novels and screenplays — Here it is. A sympathetic lead character has a desperate need for something — knowledge, success, love, a solution, to avo…
10-30-08
Every story needs a plot; a plan or framework created by the writer to remind herself who and what the story is about and how it will be told.Beginning writers often struggle to put the essence of…
10-30-08
The beginning of every bestselling novel starts with “What if?” What if a jagged, black, hairline crack suddenly appeared in a clear blue sky?If you’re a writer, your mind is already racing. You’v…
10-30-08
Plot diversity and character diversity go hand in hand. If you create characters with special personality quirks, different goals in life, varied backgrounds, they will speak and behave in ways th…
10-30-08
Coming up with new story ideas is important to any fiction writer. Many writers no shortage of ideas for stories — their problem is coping with having too many ideas. If you’re like most writers,…
10-30-08
PLOTTING:   Polti’s 36 Dramatic Situations   1. Supplication: Persecutor, Suppliant, Authority Figure 2. Deliverance: Unfortunate, Threatener, Rescuer 3. Crime Pursued by Vengenc…
10-30-08
If you could sit down in a chair next to the editor of work by James Baldwin, Elia Kazan, Jack Higgins, Jacques Barzun, David Frost, Budd Schulberg, Dylan Thomas and Lionel Trilling, what could th…
10-30-08
Plot generally takes its impetus from conflict: a clash of actions, ideas, desires, or wills.  This conflict can be physical, mental, emotional, or moral:   charact…
10-30-08
Exposition: The introductory material which gives the setting, creates the tone, presents the characters, and presents other facts necessary to understanding the story.   Foresha…
10-30-08
Plot refers to the series of events that give a story its meaning and effect. In most stories, these events arise out of conflict experienced by the main character. The conflict may come from …
10-30-08
Structure – Three Acts All stories, regardless of their subject or word count, should have three acts or a beginning, middle and end. They don’t necessarily occur in that order but they shoul…
10-30-08
I start out with a general premise or one image or scene as the embryo for my novels. For STAR-CROSSED, the premise came after I read a novel which used sexual slavery as sexy fun and titillation….
10-30-08
If you make explicit what you already know intuitively about the structure of movies and stories, you’ll have yourself a conscious plotting tool. The rhyt…
10-30-08
1. Nothing should happen at random.   Every element in a story should have significance, whether for verisimilitude, symbolism, or the intended climax. Names, places, actions and events…
10-30-08
In crafting a novel, some experts say plot comes first. Some say it’s character who leads the way. Some say it’s neither, and some say it’s both. They’re all right. And wrong. As writers, we take …
10-30-08
Writer’s question: I was told I need to develop a stronger sense of cause and effect in my fiction. Can you explain cause and effect in simple terms?   Response: There are three main ar…
10-30-08
(This is an abridged version of a workshop I presented at the Romantic Times convention in Kansas City, Missouri, and again as a guest presenter on eHarlequin.com. While the focus of the original …
10-30-08
Here’s an easy way to get you started in plotting. Follow these steps and your novel will follow.How do you plot a novel? You read your favorite book and the writer put the twists and turns in jus…
10-31-08
Most writers have a preference for one style of writing over another. Some writers are more adept at developing complex, interesting, and quirky characters. Others excel at page-turning action….
10-31-08
What is a plot?The dictionary definition of the word ‘plot’ relating to a story is:”The plan or main story of a literary work” [Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary]So the plot then, is the pla…
10-31-08
In real life, some people skate from one success to the next. Others hit a flat-line long before they ever actually die. Unlike people, all story characters suffer both ups and downs throughout…
10-31-08
Words are plentiful–and free. Just look in the dictionary! So how does a writer take these bare essentials and create a real, honest-to-goodness, worth-the-time-to-read, or better yet, worth-a…
10-31-08
I tend to date my writing career as beginning in 1990. That was the year I discovered and joined Romance Writers of America. I’d toyed with one story the year before, and that story was my firs…
10-31-08
Plotting is the process of describing your novel in summarised form, usually before you start the actual work of writing it. First, it can be very useful in the writing of your novel, especiall…
01-13-09
By Magdalena Ball As a book reviewer, I get anywhere from fifty to one hundred review requests a week.  Of these, I might accept five or so. While I do occasionally take nonfiction books, …
01-13-09
By Louisa BurtonIf you’ve ever taught creative writing, or even just sat around with your pals chatting about books, two questions inevitably arise. #1: What, exactly, is the difference between li…
01-12-09
Writing a Structured Story   I remember one of my good friends approaching me after completing a story – the first of his that went on to get published – and saying, in a state of awe an…
10-31-08
Ben Elton was being steered away from committing the crime of ‘Deus Ex Machina’ by a master of plot-writing. ‘Deus Ex Machina,’ translated literally as “god out of a machine,” is an…
10-31-08
All you people working on novels will be glad to hear, this section deals completely with you. A novel must have at least one subplot; otherwise all you have written is a really long short story…
10-31-08
by Melanie Anne PhillipsCreator StoryWeaver , Co-Creator Dramatica   Dramatica divides “subplots” into two types: Those that run parallel and don’t really affect each other Dramatically, …
10-31-08
It is said that there are two types of writers:  plotters and seat of the pants writers (or fly into the mist writers).  Obviously the majority of us fall somewhere in between.  …
10-31-08
As writers we’ve had the concept of “theme” pounded into our heads. “What’s your story about?” Every story needs a theme: a single word that tells us the core of the story–or, what it’s about….
10-31-08
Theme & Premise: Finding Your Premise – or What’s This Story All About? copyright 2001 by JoAnn Ross   Often, when you ask a writer what her story is about, she’ll launch into a lengthy…
10-31-08
Theme is the controlling idea or the central insight of a piece of fiction, the unifying generalization about the human condition stated or implied by the story.     Writers w…
10-31-08
“The theme is what the novel is about, and, still more, it is the reason for the novel.” Elizabeth Bowen”While the language may be lovely and the reasoning just, the ideas themselves may prove tri…
10-31-08
How do you define the theme of a book?   When writing a book you are often asked for the theme of the story.  What is theme?  Here are some points to consider:   The…
10-31-08
Theme is the meaning or concept we are left with after reading a piece of fiction. Theme is an answer to the question, “What did you learn from this?” In some cases a story’s theme is a promine…
10-31-08
by Melanie Anne Phillips Creator StoryWeaver / Co-creator Dramatica   Even when a story has memorable characters, a riveting plot and a fully developed genre, it may still be coming apar…
10-31-08
How many times have you picked up a book, become engrossed with well-drawn characters only to be disappointed by a plot that takes a ridiculous turn, or even disappears altogether?…
10-31-08
A premise is a short statement that makes an immediate value judgement on your characters. This judgement may not be true, in fact your story may even prove the premise to be false. The purpose …
10-31-08
“The soul that has no established aim loses itself.” — Montaigne   The premise is, quite simply, what is at stake in your story. It is the foundation of your story, upon which your theme…
10-31-08
THE OPENING CHAPTER …   A great opening to a romance sets up questions in the reader’s mind; questions that only the writer can answer.   To achieve this the writer has to:  …
11-12-08
Beginnings. Just like every chapter and scene within a novel has a beginning, a middle, and an and end, so does the entire novel.The novel beginning starts when the novel opens and ends at the tim…
11-11-08
The last thing Maxwell Hamilton had planned to do on his wedding night was make love to his wife.   Yes, a great beginning. And in my opinion, very descriptive of the tone and overall theme…
10-31-08
Dull, sagging and lame. Who would want a life like that? Who would want to be like that? Yet, it’s amazing how many stories sitting in slush piles around the world seem to have been modelled, at l…
10-31-08
The following are first lines – from some of my most loved novels:   Call me Ishmael.   It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must…
10-31-08
Someone in your story has to tell us that Jeff pulled out his gun, that Samantha smiled at the tall stranger, that daylight was breaking over the valley. That someone is the narrator or “author…
10-31-08
From the Elements of Effective Writing II: Form and Composition Workshop:   Opening Paragraphs It’s usually best to start at the beginning, so let’s take a look at opening paragraphs fir…
10-31-08
No one knows for certain how many good stories are passed over because the manuscripts containing them are formatted poorly, but it is certain that a properly formatted manuscript will be more …
10-31-08
Okay, this is an easy one. So much of writing is subjective — my preferences are not necessarily the same as someone else’s, nor are they necessarily right or wrong. But writing professionals …
10-31-08
When asked, a group of editors from top publishing houses, responded that the following are the most often seen mechanical errors in works submitted by authors. By removing them from our …
10-31-08
You’ve worked hard on your manuscript and now an editor has requested it. Whoopee!!!! Now get down to the nitty gritty and submit the cleanest copy possible. Follow these simple rules and your edi…
10-31-08
Write the bookSit down and write. When writing your first draft you want to get as much of your manuscript down from beginning to end. Run with your thoughts, your scenes, and your characters. The…
10-31-08
Pacing is the rhythm of a story. The momentum. The happening. It goes hand in hand with plotting, but the pace controls ebb and flow of the reader’s reaction to the progression of the plot. Pac…
10-31-08
Pacing, as it applies to fiction, could be described as the manipulation of time. Though pacing is often overlooked and misunderstood by beginning writers, it is one of the key craft elements a…
10-31-08
Pacing is tool writers have to control the speed in which a story reads. Lush, descriptive segments slow the pace, giving the readers a breather. Rapid-fire dialogue speeds the pace, leaving th…
10-31-08
“And of course not all fiction need move at the same pace. Runners of the hundred yard dash do not take off in the same way runners of the marathon do.” John Gardner”Excitement is simple: exciteme…
10-31-08
our reader is into the third paragraph of your story and although she has already developed a connection to your main character, nothing seems to be happening. She’s beginning to feel the tug o…
10-31-08
One of the nice things about being an author is that we can break any rule we want. (I just did.) It’s part of our job description. Language changes through usage — definitions, spelling, gram…
10-31-08
See Where They Hide: Spotting Passive VoiceDefining and Refining Your Words for Brisk Story Telling     I love to edit my own work, make it better, stronger, clearer. I loo…
11-02-08
Author Interviews You Can Listen To On The Writer’s Craft   Alphabetical list of authors in The Writer’s Craft:     Warren Adler Dorothy Dunnett Michele Martinez Mit…
11-02-08
A romance is a love story that focusing on a changing relationship between two central characters, normally a man and a woman. It is about two people falling in love. The story ends in a positiv…
11-02-08
Before you even begin writing your novel, you need to know who your characters will be. Minimally, you would want two major characters, the hero and the heroine. They will interact mostly with e…
11-02-08
Is it the plot? No, not really, though all romances have some of the same elements in their plots. Is it an exotic setting? Not that, either. What’s left, then? The characters, of course-more sp…
11-02-08
We’ve found these writing resources to be helpful and inspiring. Do you have a tricky grammar question? Do you like to read about the trials and tribulations of other writers (so that your own a…
11-02-08
Want to learn how to write a novel? There’s no limit to the number of steps or outlining tools or writing tips you might use to write one.    But, thank God, at the core of novel wr…
11-02-08
How many times have you finished reading a novel and said, “I could have written that book.” You know what? You’re right. All of us, I believe, carry at least one novel around in our…
11-02-08
Join Over 65 Courses in Writing Skills!         Top Online Classes in Writing Skills ABCs of Grammar Author Se…
11-02-08
Open my mind, Lord. Grant me the talent to write with clarity and style, so my words go down rich and smooth, like fine wine, and leave my reader thirsty for more. Open my heart, Lord. Grant m…
11-02-08
The Author:   1.        Give a brief introduction to the life of the author.  Include any information that might help understand the novel you have…
11-02-08
Part 1 Parts of Speech 1.1 Nouns 1.1A Noun Identification1.1B Count, Mass, Collective Nouns1.1C Plural & Possessive Nouns 1.2 Pronouns 1.2A Pronouns & Antecedents1.2B Ambiguous…
11-02-08
What Makes a Clear Sentence?     The most basic kind of sentence follows what is called the SVO pattern. It begins with a subject (S), something performing an action; then it has a …
11-02-08
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting Your Romance Published Writing a Romance Novel for Dummies Writing Romances: A Handbook by the Romance Writers of America The Romance …
07-11-09
Foreword by the Author Developing Efficient Work Habits Elements Of A Successful Story In the opening… In the body of the story… In the conclusion… Throughout the story… …
11-05-08
» Plotting » Conflict » Sensuality/Sexuality » Romance Plots » Character Archetypes » Editing » 5-Minute Pitch   PLOTTING:   Polti’s 3…
11-05-08
CLICHÉS AVOID THEM LIKE THE PLAGUE from Laura Hayden’s “Left-Brain- Right Brain/Creativity Program” suspense@suspense.net         …
11-05-08
Personality Components are those emotional and psychological attributes characters may possess. Feel free to print the following list and copy it for each character. Either circle the componen…
11-05-08
Your story people will never be the same. Brought to you by Writers’ Village UniversityFind out more about the Internet’s leading onlinewriters’ group, and how you can join!   The Charac…
11-06-08
Character Trait Chart and Personality Components It can sometimes be helpful to make a Trait Chart for each character. This is especially helpful during the early stages of character develo…
11-05-08
POV is the abbreviation for Point Of View. Everyone has a unique POV influenced by personality, bias, history, culture, and even location. And this includes the characters you create. Part of …
11-05-08
In the same way that a painter uses shape, color, perspective, and other aspects of visual art to create a painting, a fiction writer uses character, setting, plot, point of view, theme, and v…
11-05-08
MASTER CLASS ON WRITING Master Class is an independent writing workshop comprised of twelve progressive lessons designed to help you build (or rebuild) your novel…
04-10-10
Part 1: How to Use this Guide  More of this Feature • Part 1: How to Use this Guide Part 2: Plot Part 3: Setting…
11-05-08
For as long as I’ve been a writer of romance, I’ve heard comments about the formulaic nature of romance novels. After I became published, I began to hear the murmurs of the “secret formula” wh…
11-05-08
Romance writing isn’t what it used to be. The coy relationships that made Mills and Boon a publishing phenomenon form only one of a number of types or ‘lines’ of romance writing on offer. The …
11-05-08
Alpha Amours: The Roles of the Alpha Male Hero & Alpha Female Heroine in Romance   The earl towered over her lithe form, broad shoulders blocking her view of the glittering ba…
11-05-08
Romances sell over one billion dollars worth of books a year and account for about one half of all paperback book sales. Romance novels are based on an enduring theme. A man and woman meet, …
11-05-08
What is the Romance Genre?  Here is the most crucial piece of advice a newcomer to romance writing will ever receive: Before you write, read!     It’s essentia…
11-05-08
ROMANCE GENRE DEFINED: A romance novel is defined as a story in which the primary focus is on the developing relationship between the protagonists (usually a hero and heroine). The following…
11-05-08
Go for it!   Nobody is born published. Not even the Nobel prize winners!   I usually start with my characters. They need physical descriptions, mannerisms, quirks, and backstory….
11-05-08
10 Steps to a Fab Job as a Romance Writer If you have always believed your fantasies worthy of being read by millions, now is the time to start using…
11-05-08
Making the decision So you have decided you want to write. Perhaps, you have been scribbling down snippets of thoughts on scrap paper for years, or maybe you have something important to say. …
11-05-08
What Is Fiction? Without preamble, let’s define our terms. I’ll forgo giving you some kind of cute Webster’s phonetic pronunciation of fiction and a numbered series of inappropriate definitions…
11-05-08
Learning to write is like learning anything else and can be broken down into three general parts.   Research   First, there are entire books written on this subject, and it’s impor…
11-05-08
One is easy, the other is… well, something else   Dictionary.com defines craft as: Skill in doing or making something, as in the arts; proficiency. The …
11-05-08
AFFIRMATIONS by Rita Rainville   ***If these notes are duplicated, please give credit to Shad Helmstetter, author of The Self-Talk Solution, Workshop presenter, Rita Rainville. Self-…
11-05-08
When we encounter a new setting or new experience, all our senses are on the alert. While we may not be conscious of it, we are using filtering that experience in our own unique ways. We rea…
11-05-08
As a writer, it’s your job to provide a vicarious experience to your reader. The only way you’ll be able to do this successfully is by stimulating your reader’s imagination. Not by bombarding …
12-18-08
“To describe a blazing fire or a tree in a plain, we must remain before that fire or tree until they no longer resemble for us any other tree or any other fire. . . . There are not in the entire w…
11-05-08
writing advice 14 Caro Clarke writing advice 16      Writing Advice 15 Description: What’s it for?   (1) It was a dark and stormy night …
11-05-08
We don’t hook a reader with logical exposition, flat narration or argument. We must get to the part of the reader’s life that is involuntary, automatic: the five senses and mood/emotion. In th…
11-05-08
Most writers recognize the necessity of good worldbuilding in fantasy and science fiction. They understand they need to learn the geography of a foreign country for a spy thriller, and how, …
11-06-08
Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are, a special co-worker once told me. First, let me explain what special means. In Ebonics, we’ll say, ”She’s a special case.” Or if someone i…
11-11-08
Sometimes I think I get a bit overzealous. Like in thinking I can cover the subject of Controlling Character Emotion on a brief webpage. Books are devoted to this topic. I have given three-hour…
11-06-08
ving life to a character is one of the most rewarding parts of being a writer. It is also one of the most difficult. Too many times in fiction we witness the “cardboard” or one-dimensional char…
11-06-08
You need to know a lot of the background of protagonists characters you create for major projects. It’s easy enough to describe the competent professional side of a person–much harder to paint…
11-06-08
Have you ever wondered why characters like Sherlock Holmes, King Arthur, Achilles, Scrooge, Dorothy and Superman go on forever? The real secret of their immortality lies in something you’ve pro…
11-06-08
Got one (or two) of your characters stuck? Don’t know what to do with him/her? Is he/she getting too boring or predictable? Want to know more about his/her personality? Or maybe you have a story f…
11-14-08
Characters in any story must be well-drawn, interesting, and sympathetic if the reader is to identify with them and care what happens to them. Most romance readers are women, and they identify …
11-11-08
Creating believable characters is an essential element of fiction. The story rest on your characters shoulders. If they don’t hold up then your story collapses. So how do you make believable ch…
12-04-08
Finding Your Hero in Category Romance by Catherine Mann and Joanne Rock Romance authors strive to create the ultimate hero with every story, a tall order when so many fabulous men have alrea…
11-07-08
Blurb: Learn all about characterization in the romance novel.   Solid characterization – the character traits or actions that define the people in a novel – is an essential part of any …
11-06-08
When people find out I’m a clinical social worker they usually say “I’ll bet you get a lot of ideas from your work”. They’re right. Before I got a Masters degree in social work I earned a BA in…
11-07-08
Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. John Gray’s book became a bestseller, and it’s easy to see why. The contrasts between male and female are something most adults of both sexes can relate to…
11-07-08
If you could sit down in a chair next to the editor of work by James Baldwin, Elia Kazan, Jack Higgins, Jacques Barzun, David Frost, Budd Schulberg, Dylan Thomas and Lionel Trilling, what could…
11-07-08
“Only connect the prose and the passion,and both will be exalted.” – E. M. Forster Emotions are the lifeblood of characters and of stories. Without emotional characters, you are just writing eve…
11-08-08
Make no mistake, romances rise and fall on the yummy quotient of the hero. Plots may be brilliant, settings carefully researched, but if the reader doesn’t fall arse over teakettle for the hero…
11-08-08
We all want a happy ending for our characters, but on the way they need conflict. This conflict can be caused by the situation (say, she didn’t tell him she was pregnant before he went off to w…
11-08-08
One of the most requested tapes from the RWA National Conference was Laurie’s workshop on “The Psychology of Creating Characters.” You can order the tape (called Romance Writers 98 Audio 3-10) …
04-10-10
WORKSHEET: Character Arc/Hero’s Journey (Adapted from C. Vogler’s “The Writers Journey ” and J. Campbells’ Hero with a Thousand Faces “)   CHARACTER ARC HERO’S JOURNEY YOUR CHARACTE…
11-08-08
Picture the Conflict   One theory of psychiatry refers to “inner pictures” in a person’s personal “photo album”. As well as being a snapshot of experiences, the pictures are a way to visua…
11-08-08
Understanding the concept and use of character voice helps a writer create multi-dimensional, sympathetic characters that will not only elevate their story to a “keeper” status, but bring reade…
11-08-08
However interesting or exciting a character may be, the character isn’t real to the reader until he speaks and creates a cadence or rhythm of his own. Readers “hear” what they see with their ey…
11-08-08
A character is especially believable when the reader recognizes something familiar about that character. Something the reader can identify with. This familiar aspect could be an external marker…
11-08-08
How many characters belong in a scene, a story and a reader’s head? Find out how to avoid fictional overpopulation. There are occasions when a crowd is desirable. Rock concerts, parades, footbal…
11-08-08
I would never write about someone who is not at the end of his rope. –Stanley Elkin Many writers mistake the outer life of a character for the inner life, as…
11-08-08
Fiction Writing and Characterization Fiction writers generally come in two kinds: those who are strong on plot, and those who are strong on characterization. Rarely is a writer brilliant at bo…
11-08-08
Writing Emotional Scenes Without Melodrama   Emotional scenes are, of course, crucial to romances. A romance is a novel about two people falling in love and defeating their problems …
11-09-08
There are differing methodologies for creating child and adult characters for children’s novels and adult fiction. These methodologies are based upon the viewpoint of the targeted reading audie…
11-09-08
Try a simple experiment. Think about a person you know and blurt out, without too much thinking, either “adult” or “child.” Now try another, and another. We’re not talking about their age here….
11-09-08
In this tip section we’ll focus on creating differentiated characters, making each character unique and consistent. Character Pro 5 helps with this by providing a unique character spine based on y…
11-09-08
1. Don’t underestimate the importance of knowing the character spine. Truly great characters have an innate consistency that can only come from knowing the character’s inner workings. Spend the…
11-09-08
Let’s focus on using stressful situations to reveal character and better define a character arc. Character Pro 5 helps with this by providing a unique character spine based on your choices and es…
11-09-08
What are some simple tricks to add instant personality to a minor character? Here are four techniques pros use to add a special touch to a character who’s there to serve a function and not much el…
11-09-08
The famous (or is it infamous?) Seven Deadly Sins can be a great source for interesting motivations for the bad guy of your story. Most heroes also have issues with the deadly seven. As do most…
11-09-08
How many times have we read through a story and found one or two secondary characters that just seem flat? There’s something missing there. Well, friends, there’s a simple technique that’s guar…
11-09-08
As writers we’ve had the concept of “theme” pounded into our heads. “What’s your story about?” Every story needs a theme: a single word that tells us the core of the story–or, what it’s about….
11-09-08
We’ve all heard the loose definitions, “It’s how the character changes during your story.” Or, “It’s what happens to your character to change him.” Your character should travel an arc, which re…
11-09-08
Ever heard of serotonin? Without getting too “sciencey,” it’s a chemical in the brain that affects behavior. High serotonin levels cause a calmness, serenity and resistance to change. Low serot…
11-09-08
When writing fiction, one of the greatest challenges is to come up with compelling characters that both interest the reader and fit the story. On the surface, fitting the story might seem like …
11-09-08
Review these elements when critiquing short stories.   We will focus on one or two of these “elements of writing” at a time, by answering these questions (if they are not answered in the st…
11-09-08
Creating great characters is an art unto itself, separate from storytelling. So, what are the basics? A great character is someone the reader wants to spend time with. Whether they’re loved or …
11-09-08
Round Characters: characters who recognize, change with, or adjust to circumstances. Complex and many-sided, they touch life at many points. The round character-usually the main figu…
11-09-08
In fiction, character refers to a textual representation of a human being (or occasionally another creature). Most fiction writers agree that character development is the key element in a story…
11-09-08
Using People You Know Many scripts have been written with a particular actor (or at least their screen/ stage persona) in mind. The obvious drawback is that if your character is recognizable as…
11-09-08
I’m sure you’ve read sentences like the following:   She dropped her eyes to the floor. (Whoops! Hope they didn’t get broken. But why remove them from their sockets in the first place?)…
11-09-08
Introduction If you already have a story idea, it is a simple matter to create a whole cast of characters that will grow out of your plot.  In this lesson we’re going to lay out a m…
11-09-08
In the Name of Love… Finding the Right Names for Your Characters     Let’s say you are writing a Harlequin romance (and who is not?), and you have come to the point in your story …
11-09-08
Character tagsA tag word or action tag can make even a character that has a small part in your story stand out or be recognized when needed. With a main character, it can show a little pe…
11-09-08
Plausible, complex characters are crucial to successful storytelling. You can develop them in several ways.    Concreteness  They have specific homes, possessions, medical histo…
11-09-08
Does your Main Character Change or Remain Steadfast? A lot of writers think a character must Change in order to grow. This is simply not true. Characters can also grow in their Resolve. In that…
11-11-08
What’s your perception of the word – heroine? Is it someone who’s done something heroic, or is it simply the female protagonist in our stories? Must they be the same? And what is your definitio…
11-10-08
The debate rages on between alpha, beta, and now gamma heroes regarding which one is the best hero. Personally, I’m partial to tall, dark, and handsome alpha males. Give me Indiana Jones, Hans …
11-10-08
While I was avoiding another run through with my characters, I started to think about my hero in my latest WIP. Some important questions were raised by my ruthless writer’s subconscious that reall…
11-10-08
An author’s insight into the women who make the romance by Rachel Carrington   If you’ve written for any length of time then you know characterization is important to shape y…
11-10-08
“In your opinion, what qualities should a hero always have?” Jayne Ann Krentz:  The fundamental qualities of a true hero are the ancient, heroic qualities: honor, courage, determination. No…
11-10-08
I like men.  I like their rougher voices, muscular bodies, hairy chests, and all the other wonderful differences that make them unlike me.  I like how they think, how they act, and how…
11-10-08
Michele Michele Albert/Michelle Jerott (written for The Romance Journal, 1998)   When Laura asked me to write a short piece on why Cajun heroes are popular, I said, “Sure!”  Then…
11-10-08
The earl towered over her lithe form, broad shoulders blocking her view of the glittering ballroom. With his lazy smile, white teeth gleamed, almost feral in the candlelit corner. Boldly, he tra…
11-10-08
Barbara Dawson Smith   Man of action, man of steel, master of his own destiny. All these descriptions fit the historical hero, a hard-edged, dominant male who is willing to take enormous…
11-10-08
What attributes and characteristics make a romantic hero? Does he have broad shoulders tapering to a trim waist? Is he tall and dark? Is he blond and witty? Each author and each reader has her …
11-10-08
The process of building a hero is a little different than creating other characters. You are looking for a different response to him from the reader. Romance readers are for the most part women…
11-10-08
Romance writers have a secret.   We know what makes a hero “to die for.”   As romance writers, we construct men that women will fall in love with. At least, that’s the goal. While …
11-10-08
Tight, well worn jeans, beard shadow and a hot stare that sees into your soul. That small, crooked smile, sexy enough to melt your heart.   And cocky confidence… that’s well deserved. …
11-10-08
You’ve read him. You’ve loved him. Most of all, you’ve lusted after him. He’s the bad boy hero – a fixture in romance novels, especially ultra-sensual and/or erotic romances. What makes him so …
11-10-08
Villains are tricky rascals. As an author your job requires you walk a fine line. You must make your villains credible, logical, believable and understandable, but not likeable. You want your v…
11-11-08
You have, no doubt, heard of The Hero’s Journey. In this article, we will explore the lesser-known ANTI-hero’s journey and the uncharted dark side of the passage — the place where the dark for…
11-11-08
Villains are tricky rascals.   As an author, your job requires you walk a fine line. You must make your villains credible, logical, believable and understandable, but not likeable. You want…
11-11-08
Villains come in many shades from “blush gray,” to “buried alive black.”   A character doesn’t have to be a serial killer with a fine collection of little fingers to be a villain. Often t…
11-14-08
By Ruth D. KerceCopyright (c) A lot has been written about how to develop the hero and heroine in a story. An often overlooked, but equally important character, is the villain. He/She must als…
11-11-08
Building a fictional character is the same thing as meeting a stranger and getting to know her. Take that meeting one step at a time, or as the old saying goes, peal that onion one layer at a time…
11-11-08
In the beginning of your story you have to grab your readers’ interest and sustain it till the end. Our hook is our character. Readers keep on reading to find out more about the character. To s…
11-11-08
“There’s no need to stop a story to characterize,” writes Editor Sol Stein in Stein on Writing, 1995.   You know your characters inside and out. Their hair color, skin tone, clothes sense…
11-11-08
How do you choose a name? Do you put down the first name that pops into your mind? Initially that’s what I used to do, until someone pointed out to me that there are a few things to take into c…
11-11-08
Does your story suffer from “Multiple Personality Disorder”?   In psychology, Multiple Personality Disorder describes a person who has more than one complete personality. Typically, only …
11-11-08
The other day, a writer friend of mine told me her publisher recommended she read a certain book to get the flavor of what they liked to publish. Eager to know, my author friend rushed to find …
11-11-08
Note: The following is an excerpt from Chapter 2 of “Everything You’ll Ever Need to Know to Write a Bestseller” by Bill MacWithey.   While there are many aspects to writing, and we’ll co…
11-11-08
In 1757, in Poor Richard’s Almanac, the wise and astute Benjamin Franklin wrote: “Little strokes fell great oaks.” There’s an important message to writers in that saying, because it is through …
11-11-08
Characters. What’s a work of fiction without them?   To my way of thinking, characters drive a narrative. Perhaps I’m lucky: I’ve got voices in my head, and when one of these voices begin…
11-11-08
Growth is the by-product of a cycle that occurs in nature; that which flowers and fruits will also eventually wither and go to seed. The seed, of course, contains the potential for renewal, but…
11-14-08
Creating characters that are believable takes time and discipline. Creating dynamically real individuals and not imposing your own thoughts and impressions upon them is not easy to do, and is o…
11-14-08
Someone recently inquired about character development-specifically, how does a writer work through the process of character development to make flat characters into well rounded, believable peo…
11-14-08
When beginning a novel, the tendency of most writers is to create a Protagonist to suit the plot or story they have imagined and then dive into the fun stuff of writing the book. But many autho…
11-14-08
by Richard Michaels Stefanik       Humor is a perceptual experience that causes people to laugh. By definition, it is generated by a ‘sudden radical deviation from expect…
11-14-08
By Steve Dempster       The main or lead character in any story is a lynchpin and has very definite qualities. Miss one of these and your story may well grind to a halt! This a…
11-14-08
By Paula L. Fleming Your protagonist has a problem she needs to solve. How will she go about it? Maybe she’ll do it the same way you would if you were in her shoes. Then again, she’s not you,…
11-14-08
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.   Characterization is the process of conveying information about characters in fiction or conversation. Characters are usually presented through their…
11-14-08
by  William H. Coles, MD  Characterization in literary fiction has special importance and authors need to develop their own sense of responsibility for full and effective charact…
11-14-08
by Marg McAlister   One thing that gives away an inexperienced writer is overuse of tags such as ’she noticed’ or ‘he saw’. Example 1: “Taking a second look, SHE NOTICED that his face w…
11-14-08
By Terry W. Ervin IICharacterization is an important element in almost every work of fiction, whether it is a short story, a novel, or anywhere in between. When it comes to characterization, a …
11-14-08
By Terry W. Ervin II Fiction writers employ a variety of characters while weaving their tales. Beyond the standard definitions of protagonist (the main character in a literary work) and antago…
11-14-08
By James Patrick Kelly   Once I admitted to myself that I had the raging hunger to write, I gobbled up every book on the subject I could find. I still have most of them; I’ve just gather…
11-14-08
For those interested, Morgan Hawke has a new writing article on her blog – The Stages of INTERNAL CONFLICTWriting INTERNAL CONFLICT ~ On Paper!The Chronological Order of INTERNAL CONFLIC…
11-14-08
Conflict is very important in a romance novel — and really in any kind of a novel at all.  What would the story of Romeo and Juliet be without the family feud?  How good would Gone w…
11-14-08
ALL THE STRUGGLES YOUR CHARACTERS GO THROUGH   Think of conflict as fuel for your story. Without conflict, there would be no action; no physical or emotional obstacles which must be overco…
11-14-08
1. Does one of the characters have to change in order for the conflict to be resolved? _____ Yes, Score 1 _____ No, Score 0 _____ Both characters change, Score 2 2. Can conflict be resolved wit…
11-14-08
By Marg McAlister   Some writers are just too kind.   They hate to put their characters under any kind of pressure. They hate to see them losing, or struggling to survive. That’s q…
11-14-08
Out Of Your Head By Deborah S. Rossman and Mary Ann Heathman   Concentrate On Conflict | Creating Characters | Guidelines   “Crazy title, isn’t it? Impossible, too. In the real wor…
11-14-08
By Marg McAlister “Dan stood on the wet paving, his arms limp by his side, his jaw hanging in horror, as he peered through a crack in the curtains. Before him a man crept towards the figure …
11-14-08
By Tina Morgan Inserting conflict into your fiction is not quite as simple as inserting a fist-fight into the storyline. Conflict in fiction can be as diverse and as individual as you are. I…
11-14-08
By Martha Tucker   Start your writing with conflict if you want to guarantee sales, grab anagent or publisher, get paid a big advance. Your protagonist wants something and your antagonis…
11-14-08
The Building Blocks of a Strong Plot By Pat Collinge   In building your characters, you need to develop heros and heroines who are strongly defined, who have a past, a present, and a futu…
11-14-08
By Peder Hill   Conflict is the essence of drama. Got none? Then you got none.  It’s the primary ingredient that weaves together all the other elements of a novel.   You a Seinf…
11-14-08
By Chris Lee Ramsden     In Chuck Palahniuk’s ‘Fight Club’, Tyler Durden gives his followers a special task to fulfill before they meet again: to pick a fight with someone in …
11-14-08
By Andrea Kane     Visitors who have spent any time at all at All About Romance know that one of my pet peeves about romance is the “I hate you, now let’s hit the sack” scenario so man…
11-14-08
By Deborah S. Rossman   The development of conflict is perhaps the single most difficult task of the writer. It is also the most important.   Action in a story is defined by charact…
11-14-08
Conflict is the primary problem or dilemma in a story. There are three kinds, commonly called man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. self.   In man vs. man, the conflict is between …
11-14-08
By Mervyn Love   Most types of story, whether short stories or novels, absolutely need that vital ingredient: the conflict. Preferably more than one. You may well have your characters all …
11-15-08
“Just be like that,” she pouted.   “Oh, come on,” he groaned. “Not this again.”   “You don’t love me,” she replied.   “Right,” he snarled. “That’s why I bought you an eight hu…
11-15-08
Have you ever read a court transcript? It accurately gives a word-by-word report of exactly what is said. But it is interesting?   Uh-uh. If we wrote verbatim the way we talk, our readers …
11-15-08
© Vicki Hinze    After you’ve written your scene, it’s a good idea to run a checklist on all dialogue. As you do so, ask the following questions:   Did I say exactly wh…
11-15-08
By Linda O’Brien Tag (tag) n. v. 1. a descriptive word or phrase applied to a person, group, organization, etc. as a label or means of identification; epithet. Webster’s New Universal Unabri…
11-15-08
By Dr. Vicki Hinze   What makes dialogue effective?   Effective dialogue moves the plot forward. It deepens, or layers, characterization. It creates immediacy and intimacy, an…
11-15-08
By John Hewitt   Dialogue is one of the most difficult aspects of writing to master. There are many pitfalls you must try to avoid, such as: Stilted language Dialogue that does not sound l…
11-15-08
The business of dialogue. We’re treating it as if it is something arcane, and esoteric, and that you need a master’s degree, and all that. All it is, is talk. Dialogue is the currency of humani…
11-15-08
“You get a real person down there and his talking will take care of itself.” Flannery O’Connor”Make dialogue crackle with feelings not directly expressed.” John Gardner”Dialogue is a lean language…
11-15-08
This should be the easiest part of writing. After all, we learn to speak at a young age and practise that skill for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to work that way, the re…
11-15-08
By Karen Hertzberg When it comes to writing good dialog, I’m of a mind that some writers are just born with a gift for hearing the voices in their heads and taking good notes. If you’re on…
11-15-08
By Nicole R Murphy   There’s nothing that kills a scene like hackneyed dialogue. Just stop and think about the average B-Grade Hollywood Movie. Sure, at times the plot is bad and the…
11-15-08
By Earma Brown   Have you started your book yet? Yes. Congratulations, you’ve begun a worthy journey! If you haven’t started, do this first. Dream a bigger dream with me.   Im…
11-15-08
By Nancy Warren   I was thinking about how often we refer to good dialogue as ‘sparkling’. For some reason, thirst perhaps, the word sparkling immediately made me think about m…
11-15-08
By Sandra E. Haven        A person’s character is more quickly revealed in dialogue than in any other way. Dialogue is both a method of communication between peop…
11-15-08
By Sandra E. Haven   HANDLING: BROKEN GRAMMAR, ACCENTS, AND INTENDED MISSPELLINGS    Common methods employed by writers to show a character’s voice include poor grammar, alte…
11-15-08
By Sandra E. Haven           Dialogue is one of the most useful tools in fiction writing. It can speed a story’s pace. It can show characterization. It can off…
11-15-08
By Marg Gilks   Think about it: there’s a pretty boggling array of punctuation marks at our disposal — not just your run-of-the-mill sentence-enders like periods, question marks, an…
11-15-08
Speech is sloppy.  People leave out words, compress phases into single words, and use contractions.  Speech is impromptu, not planned.  People tend to have habitual phrases they …
11-15-08
By Sandra E. Haven   Accents, Broken Grammar & Other Tricky Dialog Common methods employed by writers to show a character’s voice include poor grammar, altering spelling to reflect m…
11-15-08
From the Writing Effective Dialogue Workshop:   Here are three very important rules about punctuation with quotation marks that you should memorize (or at least write down and keep handy)…
03-03-09
By Gloria Kempton   Dialogue is conversation–nothing more, nothing less. How hard do we really think about the conversations in which we engage on a daily basis? How difficult do we mak…
03-03-09
By Gloria Kempton Dialogue That Propels The Story Forward I sighed and put the novel manuscript down. How could this fiction writer really think she was engaging the reader? The two characters …
11-15-08
By Steve Dempster   In short story writing, dialogue is very important for a number of reasons. I’ve listed a few below, not in order of importance – all are important – but to give a ‘p…
11-15-08
By Steve Manning   Dialogue isn’t so much read as it is heard by the reader. The eyes see the words on the page, the brain processes the thought, but then that little voice we all have i…
11-15-08
By Lee Masterson   Before I begin, it’s important to understand a little about dialogue in fiction. Regardless of what you might read on the page, dialogue in a story is NOT about two pe…
11-15-08
By Randy Ingermanson       Subtexting refers to the art of putting a whole different layer of meaning under the surface, so that the dialogue is not really about what the di…
11-16-08
ADAPTATION 101   Brimming with confidence, you’ve just signed the check purchasing the rights to adapt John Doe’s fabulous, but little known novel, Lawrence of Monrovia, to screenplay fo…
11-16-08
riting classes provide a wonderful opportunity to be able to meet other like-minded creative people who wish to develop their own writing skills. Within any writing classes, there will be peopl…
11-16-08
The art of blogging is the web phenomenon of the 21s century, being used both for personal use and as a business toll, but what is it that makes a successful blogger?   Here are a few ti…
11-16-08
Do you hate HTML, and you have been looking for a way to get round it then don’t bother any more, for here is the revolution you have been waiting for. It’s called BLOG.   Yes blog, a dr…
11-16-08
By Shawn Scarber   I’ve always felt it was important to catch your reader from the very start with a good hook. But just how do you go about creating a good hook? The key to a good hook is …
11-16-08
By Laura Backes, Publisher Children’s Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children’s Writers  Tension. Without it, life would be–let’s face it–boring. So would fiction. Tension works with …
11-16-08
By B. Lynn Goodwin Saturated by work, family, and responsibility? Many book buyers are. They may be looking for escape, enlightenment, or both, when they pick up your book, scrutinize the cover…
11-16-08
How to create a story that will suck the reader in like a black hole and not belch him out until “The End.” by Marilynn Byerly   THE HOOK   What gets us into a story? What keeps us …
11-16-08
How to create a story that will suck the reader in like a black hole and not belch him out until “The End.”   by Marilynn Byerly   VIEWPOINT CHANGES WITHIN A SCENE   I’ve sai…
11-17-08
Romantic Times Magazine interview with Janet Evanovich   When Hot Six debuted on the New York Times list at No. 1 last July, beating out a little fellow you might have heard of named Harry…
11-17-08
How to Get Published   Free Sample   The information on this page is an excerpt from the FabJob Guide to Become a Romance Writer. It is only a small sample of the valuable informatio…
11-17-08
by Marilynn Byerly Your novel is hundreds of pages long, but you’ll need to describe it in a few short paragraphs when you try to sell it to a publisher. How can you condense all that importan…
11-17-08
When I completed my first romance novel and faced the intimidating task of trying to find a home for it, I soon realized that I hated to submit work to publishers or agents — that only allow…
11-17-08
by Melissa AlvarezAh, the dreaded query letter. But, tell me why is it so dreaded?Maybe it’s because you have put body and soul (and probably a few sleepless nights) into your manuscript and are n…
11-17-08
By Lori Foster   “Voice is an author’s fingerprint.”   Very wise words from Jennifer Enderlin, Executive Editor of St. Martin’s Press. And because I so strongly believe in the pow…
11-17-08
Now, what is a SIMILE?   Basically, a simile is where we compare things and point out what is SIMILAR about them.   KEY WORDS are often: like, as, similar to and oth…
11-17-08
Let’s see. First, a venture into the realm of story in business, with some quotes from “The Story Factor” by Annette Simmons, and a call for “Who Am I?” stories. Then, I’ve picked a bouquet of exe…
11-17-08
“The simile is a common device and a useful one, but similes coming in rapid fire, one right on top of another, are more distracting than illuminating. Readers need time to catch their breath; the…
11-17-08
A simile is a comparison made between two things that are not alike in most ways, but are alike in one important way.  In a simile, the words “like” or “as” are used to signal that a compa…
11-17-08
Writers use similes to compare things.  Similes usually use the words “like” or “as”.   For example:     His eyes were as blue as the sky.     His eyes were bl…
11-17-08
What is a metaphor? The term metaphor meant in Greek “carry something across” or “transfer,” which suggests many of the more elaborate definitions below:     a comp…
11-17-08
“The metaphor is the miracle of higher civilization.” John Fowles”If you look long enough you can usually find a proper name or a metaphor that will bring those dull but necessary facts to life.” …
11-17-08
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that denotes a certain object or idea is applied to another word or phrase to imply some similarity between them.    Exampl…
11-17-08
By Linda Adams and Emory Hackman   You may be forgetting an important character in your book.  It’s not the protagonist.  It’s not the antagonist.  It’s the setting. &nbsp…
11-17-08
By Jamie Denton  If you’re writing a story and your heroine is from the city, there are certain things she won’t do. She wouldn’t expect a door to be held open for her, no matter how many …
11-17-08
By Justin O’Leary Choosing a Perfect Setting A setting provides a mood whether it’s an island inhabited by dinosaurs, an exploratory space ship or a country town with a secret. It should not …
11-17-08
By Lori Handeland Setting. So what, you say. That’s the least of my worries as a writer. I’ll pick a place and set my book there. No problem. But have you ever considered a setting can i…
11-18-08
Setting refers to the context in time (both time period and time span) and place (including social environment and physical features) in which the action of a story occurs.  Place or setting…
11-18-08
“Every human event happens somewhere, and the reader wants to know what that somewhere was like.” William Zinsser”In a few cases you’ll need only a paragraph or two to sketch the setting of an eve…
11-18-08
THE SCENE – A TIME AND A PLACE – THE WORLD OF YOUR STORY   Describe with telling, sensory details. The look. The smell. The feel of where we are. Create credibility. Verisimilitude. But re…
11-18-08
Setting, quite simply, is the story’s time and place. While setting includes simple attributes such as climate or wall décor, it can also include complex dimensions such as the hi…
11-18-08
By Alice Gaines Chambers    Location, location, location   It’s often said that in retail there are three things you need to succeed – location, location, location.  Whil…
11-18-08
By Sharon Caseburg   One of the greatest difficulties Speculative Fiction authors experience when writing stories in this genre is in their ability to provide a believable environment fo…
11-19-08
When I first began writing love scenes, I was so terrified that they usually came out like this: He took her hand and led her to the bedroom where they did unmentionable things for hours and …
11-19-08
By Kim Kay   “The basic unit of fiction is not the sentence or the paragraph, but the scene.” — Unknown   A novel is made up of several mini-stories which, when linked together…
11-19-08
By Vicki Hinze The majority of novels have a beginning, middle, and an end. Every scene should, too. Each scene is a capsule that depicts a specific story event. That event relates to the eve…
11-19-08
By Patricia Kay   This time we’re going to talk about story construction. Many times, writers confuse plotting a story with the construction of a story. The two are not the same. Plottin…
11-19-08
“Always dramatize important events.” Ayn Rand”A scene is a miniature drama in which a single issue is decided in specific circumstances.” Philip Gerard”In any true story, certain things have to be…
11-19-08
Dramatize!   The basic building block of fiction is the scene, often called the dramatized scene, as it dramatizes important events. Along with narrative and exposition, the scene and hal…
11-19-08
In this article I’m going to talk about WRITING THE LOVE SCENE and/or SEXUAL TENSION IN A ROMANCE. This particular aspect of the book is probably the scariest part of writing a romance for MANY…
11-19-08
By Patricia Waddell     The anatomy of a love scene is more than body parts performing a physical act, it’s the emotional and intimate interaction of the hero and h…
11-19-08
The title of this tutorial really isn’t fair. Scenes are the heart of the story, but narration is also necessary. To have one without the other makes for a very boring read. Used together, the rea…
11-19-08
By Crawford Kilian The basic unit of fiction is not the sentence or the paragraph, but the scene. Every scene in a story has both a verbal and a nonverbal content. The verbal content may be a y…
11-19-08
By Martha Alderson Every story spans a period of time. Story can be defined as conflict shown in scene, meaning that most writers will treat time in scene rather than in summary.An example of a…
11-19-08
By Charlotte Dillon       There was a time when few novels, even romance novels, had much sex in them. There were many embraces and lots of panting and kissing and even some p…
11-19-08
By Vanessa Hart   Writing about a couple making love can be hinted at, implied, or described in detail. How the writer chooses to handle love scenes is an individual decision. If you pre…
11-19-08
By G.D. Baum   The most critical lesson in writing a love scene is that it is similar to making love in the real world: when done well, it is messy, chaotic and somewhat animalistic. The…
11-19-08
By Winnie Griggs   Have you ever had this wonderful scene pictured in your mind, a scene filled with vibrancy and character insight and high drama?  A scene with purpose and dr…
11-19-08
By Deirdre Savoy The time has come. Circumstances have led your hero and heroine to a place, both emotionally and physically that they can no longer deny themselves the opportunity to be toget…
11-19-08
By Alicia Rasley        Scenes are what give the reader the experience of the action of the story and the perspectives of the main characters.  Without scenes, th…
11-19-08
by Alicia Rasley      Structure  But there’s more to a scene than just the central event.  It might help to think of this as a mini-story, with its own setup, rising …
11-19-08
By Randy Ingermanson   Having trouble making the scenes in your novel work their magic? In this article, I’ll show you how to write the “perfect” scene.   Maybe you think it’s imposs…
11-19-08
By Vicki Hinze What exactly is a sagging middle?   When you start writing a story, you begin in this fireball burst of enthusiasm. You usually know the beginning and end. It’s how to get…
11-19-08
By Dr. Vicki Hinze   No, this isn’t about sit-ups!  The sagging middle addressed in this workshop is between the opening and the climax of a book.  Many writers lose control a…
11-19-08
By Joy Cagil     To satisfy the reader emotionally, a good ending is as important as a good beginning. Readers should not finish our stories with a bad taste or a feeling of somethi…
11-19-08
From the Extended Short Story Writing Workshop: The (Last) Most Important Part of Your Story   In truth, the ending of your story is no more important than the beginning or middle, but it…
11-19-08
By John Hewitt     I am not opposed to happy endings. When you spend the length of a movie or a book rooting for one or more characters, you want things to work out well for them. T…
11-19-08
Lori Handeland How do you create the perfect ending? How do you find a way to put the finish on months of work? How do you produce an ending to your masterpiece that will make your story linge…
11-19-08
By Dr. Vicki HinzeThe ending of a novel is the summation; the portion of the book where what the characters have experienced in the novel’s events lead to a conclusion that is logical and in a sen…
11-19-08
By Lea Schizas       Bungee jumping, sky diving, secret mission, Indy 500: how do these events compare to the art of fiction writing? Each one brings to its “doer” an element o…
11-19-08
By Mallory York   Ah, the age-old writer’s debate–to outline or not to outline?   Outlines have proven quite effective for a lot of writers, and many of the famous stories we know…
11-19-08
By Joe Massucci     Outlining before you begin writing may make the difference between a powerful story with depth, or a mediocre tale; a paycheck, or a rejection letter.   Wh…
11-19-08
By Lee Masterson Have you ever had an idea for a novel, and then just sat down and began writing without knowing exactly where the story was going? It happens to everyone at some point, but mo…
11-19-08
By Kerri-Leigh Grady Though the cause of a good case of indigestion, the title says it all, and anyone who has played a musical instrument does not need to read any more of this. The clarinet …
11-19-08
By Kerri-Leigh Grady   In the course of critiquing and having your work critiqued, you’ve probably heard someone reference push-pull as the means to an end (the end being sexual tension)…
11-19-08
By Kerri-Leigh Grady   Using Action, Body Language, Expressions, and Intimacy   As you plot your story, you’re probably aware that you need to include certain interactions between …
11-19-08
By Kerri-Leigh Grady   Most everyone has heard about the five senses and how important they are. A good rule of thumb is to make sure each of the five senses receives some kind of attent…
11-19-08
By Kerri-Leigh Grady   His pulsating manhood maneuvered toward her passionate center, and she moaned with delight as it pierced her mound of . . . . Is this sexual tension? Some writers wou…
11-19-08
By Connie Flynn   The secret to sexual tension is not hot sex scenes, but building a believable attraction between your protagonists, then creating believable obstacles to their pursuing…
11-19-08
By Marg Riseley   Awhile back, we read a great snippet on one of the romance listservs on sexual tension that had been previously published in the newsletter for the Romance Writers of A…
11-22-08
Abstract: Something that exists in theory versus reality, such as the author’s latest overdue royalty check.Advertising: 1) expensive but basically useless marketing on which the author spends mos…
03-30-09
By Meggie Hardy Tips for Crafting that First Chapter “Umm, you’ll want to take your time with this one.””Impressive resume?””Impressive buns.” Her secretary plopped the headshot and resume down…
11-26-08
By Steve ThompsonIf you are an avid reader of romance novels, then you probably know that there are really only two types of heroines. For three years, I worked for a publishing house that dealt o…
11-29-08
By Sandi Layne   This is a how-to exercise.  I am not entirely sure, if it is for me or for you, but it’s been on my mind.  I think it’s because I’ve been stuck.  Scripture i…
11-29-08
By Sandi Layne   Last week, I briefly sketched out one way to approach the writing of a romance novel, going a bit more in-depth with the creation of a heroine and hero as well as decidi…
11-29-08
By Sandi Layne   You Need a Goal!   Now, we get to the real fun part of any novel: Plot Development! If you were to start on a trip, it would be helpful if you knew where you w…
11-29-08
By Sandi Layne   Write On!   We’re prepped.  We’re ready.  We know the Who, What, When, Where and Why of our novel. We’ve been in prayer.     It’s time to w…
11-29-08
By Gail Gaymer Martin     What attributes and characteristics make a romantic hero? Does he have broad shoulders tapering to a trim waist? Is he tall and dark? Is he blond and wi…
11-29-08
by Vicki Hinze     I am ready to search for an agent, except that I don’t yet have a title for my novel. Here’s my dilemma: My story is both a mainstream novel and a mystery novel. …
11-29-08
Jack Bludis, who writes under the name Jack Burns and many others, is our guest columnist this week. He has published about thirty print novels in a genre long ago and far away. In the last …
11-29-08
By Robert Harris   The gothic novel was invented almost single-handedly by Horace Walpole, whose The Castle of Otranto (1764) contains essentially all the elements that constitute the g…
11-29-08
By Joyce Lavene   Maybe this column should have been called how to murder someone and make it look romantic! Many romance writers are making the jump into mystery. As genres, the two are…
11-29-08
By Colleen Collins   “Don’t be sure I’m as crooked as I’m supposed to be.” -Humphrey Bogart as private eye Sam Spade   I used to think most private investigators (AKA PIs, private d…
11-29-08
By Lynette Rees   Certain genres are renowned for being more suspenseful than others: horror, crime fiction and romantic suspense, but each and every book, no matter whether …
11-29-08
By Jo Beverley   This brief run-down of English titles is for use by fiction writers. It is by no means comprehensive, but covers the more common situations arising in novels set…
11-29-08
By Loyola University New Orleans                              …
11-30-08
By Deborah Owen   There are many ways to form a story in your mind, but I have developed a unique approach that almost writes the story for you. Keeping in mind that every s…
11-30-08
By Laurie Sanders   Imagine for a moment that you have just been hired as an acquisitions editor for a small publishing company that publishes romance. Your task is to f…
12-02-08
By Patricia Simpson   One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by other writers is how I make my paranormal stories believable. This is a great question because we writers of the p…
12-02-08
Learn the basic ingredients for writing Romantic Suspense novels…   By Cheryl Wright   Those first few lines, those opening sentences and paragraphs, are your  first ste…
12-02-08
By Nora Roberts   Construction is tone of the key words in creating romantic suspense. In a romance novel, the love story is built step by step on the emotions, needs, doubts and persona…
12-02-08
Whoever told you it was easy lied!   by Gayle Wilson   1. All the demands of mainstream suspense with certain additional requirements and many more limitations   2. Th…
12-02-08
By Roxanne St. Claire Interested in writing romantic suspense, but not exactly sure how to define it, create it or break into this competitive market?  Read this…Romantic suspense is one…
12-02-08
By Roxanne St. Claire   I cracked the code of romantic suspense about a year ago, but I have to admit it didn’t happen in one of the many seminars and classes I’ve taken on the topic. Al…
12-03-08
Inspired by Paddy Chayefsky   by Jeff Newman     Paddy Chayefsky, award-winning writer for TV, stage, and screen, once said that the essence of a dramatic story was this: “Who…
12-04-08
By Dr. Vicki Hinze Let’s celebrate the magic of books!Books are magical. They must be. What else could explain our reading words on a page and those words firing our imaginations, transporting …
12-04-08
Everyone’s Talking Romance!   (This section of Desert Rose Chapter is down; I’ll leave it up here in hope that it’s only temporarily unavailable.)         At leas…
12-04-08
Read up-to-date writing guidelines and submission samples. Check out our Critique Service for professional feedback on your manuscript. And don’t miss our monthly writing articles from editors …
12-04-08
Anyone can write a book within a three-month time slot. The key is to have the motivation to write the book in the first place, be focused enough to stick to your game plan, and have the confidenc…
12-04-08
by Sharon G. Clark    The goal of every writer, at least this one, is to write a memorable book; one the reader can’t forget after they’ve finished.  How is this possible when the c…
12-04-08
By Jennifer Blake   Congratulations on your decision to join the ranks of romance authors. Hopefully, you’re a long time reader of romance. If so, you’re already ahead on one point: y…
12-04-08
Forget the feather boa, and gird your loins, girls. This is a world where your name is not your name, euphemism is stock-in-trade, and love is a red-orange thing. Trust me, sweetheart, it’s har…
12-04-08
By William ‘Bill’ Mernit   If creating a successful romantic comedy really was as easy as plugging a couple of stars into a standard boy-meets-girl, boy-loses- girl, boy-gets-girl struc…
12-04-08
By Susan Donahue     “Heart, mind, body and soul,” or words to that effect, appear in the climatic scenes of nearly every romance novel, and for good reason. Those words suggest the…
04-23-10
Sorry, this article has been taken down by request of the author (Kimberly Ivey Wuttke). Please visit the article section to find many articles by wonderful authors.
12-04-08
Romance fiction is designed to entertain.At its best, it can transport a reader to a fantasy place where happy endings are guaranteed, where there are always resolutions to problems and the girl i…
12-04-08
By Cynthia VanRooy   Romance writing is sensual writing. I don’t mean what you’re thinking, so get your mind out of the bedroom. I’m talking about making the most of the five physical s…
12-04-08
By Cynthia VanRooy   One reason why romance fiction is so popular is because it is emotionally engaging. To make your story zing, to make it emotionally engaging without leaning toward m…
12-04-08
by Cynthia VanRooy   As creators we want our readers to believe in our characters, to visualize them as people living beyond the covers of our books. Too many romance writer…
12-04-08
By Dawn Arkin     Romance writing is so much more than the “bodice rippers” of the 70’s. Today, romance can on take many forms. Fantasy, science fiction, mystery, horror, and supern…
12-04-08
By Lori Foster   “You need to know the rules. You need to understand them. Then you need to forget them.” A direct quote from Harlequin Temptation editor, Susan Sheppard. Deliberately break…
12-04-08
By Lori Foster Life should be enjoyed. Every day, every hour, every minute. And that means using all our senses; taste, touch, smell and sight. If we’re not doing that, we’re missing out on …
12-04-08
By Lori Foster   You know what the song says: Go ahead and face it, you’re addicted to love. Well, I freely admit it. I am addicted, along with a huge portion of society. How do I know this…
12-04-08
By Barbara Bretton Picture this scene: you’re in the ballroom of a fancy hotel. There’s a cocktail party in progress marking the start of the annual American Medical Association convention. T…
12-04-08
By James Bonnet     In my previous articles – The Essence of Story, Beyond Theme: Story’s New Unified Field and The Metaphor Is King, I pointed out that all g…
12-04-08
By Stella Cameron   My husband saw me first. He popped in front of me at a London party and said, Would you like to dance? I dancedthe Mexican Hat Dance. Have you ever executed this unga…
01-12-09
By Rob Parnell   During some recent Easy Way to Write chat sessions I’ve been banging on about building novel templates as…
12-07-08
The comma appears to be a harmless little fellow, but don’t let appearances deceive you. Sure, the little guy never shouts, never declares, never questions, never even finishes a sentence, for …
12-07-08
The greatest novel in the history of the universe will never reach publication if the author does not have a decent command of the English language. If your grammar needs a brush up, consider t…
12-07-08
Adjectives are modifiers. They describe nouns & specify size, color, number, etc., e.g., The small “x” in the upper corner of the window is used to exit your file. Adverbs describe verbs, …
12-07-08
If the first rule of writing is Show, Don’t Tell, the second should be Keep It Active. Active voice is what puts us in the middle of the action and allows us to feel. Passive voice is what give…
12-07-08
By Patricia Holt Like many editorial consultants, I’ve been concerned about the amount of time I’ve been spending on easy fixes that the author shouldn’t have to pay for.   Sometimes th…
12-07-08
E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil   Third Edition: Completely Revised and Updated   The manifestation of one of the most influential …
12-07-08
Make definite assertions. Avoid tame, colorless, hesitating, non-committal language.-Rule 12 WilliamStrunk, Jr.   The Elements of Style …
12-07-08
Mix and Match  You’ll find two lists below. Print both up, cut them out into slips and place them in two piles….one list in each pile. Without looking, pick two pieces of paper from the fir…
12-07-08
What Makes a Clear Sentence?     The most basic kind of sentence follows what is called the SVO pattern. It begins with a subject (S), something performing an action; then it has a …
12-07-08
Part 1 Parts of Speech 1.1 Nouns 1.1A Noun Identification1.1B Count, Mass, Collective Nouns1.1C Plural & Possessive Nouns 1.2 Pronouns 1.2A Pronouns & Antecedents1.2B Ambiguous…
12-07-08
Conventions of Written English     Most young Americans will know most of the contents of this section fairly well. Our schools have done a good job in teac…
12-07-08
By Judy Vorfeld Are you one of the many bright people who speaks well but has trouble with the mechanics of writing: following those confusing rules concerning spelling, punctuating, capitalizi…
12-07-08
By Michael LaRocca Most books aren’t rejected because the stories are “bad.” They’re rejected because they’re not “ready to read.” In short, minor stuff like typos, grammar, spelling, etc. &n…
12-07-08
From the Writing Effective Dialogue Workshop:   Here are three very important rules about punctuation with quotation marks that you should memorize (or at least write down and keep handy)…
12-07-08
By Sandra E. Haven         Most writers tend to use too many passive verbs in their stories. Passive verbs “tell” readers what you, the author, think is the situation. They…
12-07-08
© Marg McAlister   Sit back, and imagine what it feels like to be you. Now that shouldn’t be too hard – you’ve lived in your own skin for a long time.   Do you feel happy o…
12-07-08
One of the most important decisions you will make in writing your story is choosing which point of view to use. The point of view is the “head” or “camera angle” from which the action will be f…
12-07-08
Point of view is the angle of vision from which a story is told, the perspective or vantage point from which a writer views reality or conveys action or information. There are four basic points…
12-07-08
“On of the principal techniques is the use of a character whom the reader adopts for his reading experience. In the best fiction and most of the time, the reader is identifying with one or another…
12-07-08
Point of view in fiction refers to the source and scope of the narrative voice. In the first-person point of view, usually identifiable by the use of the pronoun “I,” a character in the story do…
12-07-08
Main forms: First person – I go, ie. an eyewitness account Third person – he/she goes, ie. narrator can be absent- a) Omniscient – voice of God type narration, can flit between characters- b) L…
12-07-08
What is point of view (POV)? A simple way to explain it may be to say that POV is being in a character’s mind, knowing their thoughts and feelings.  It lets your readers in too. &nbsp…
12-08-08
THE WAY YOU PUT YOUR STORY TOGETHER   The most fundamental method is three-act structure. Not the all-purpose Swiss Army knife some people claim, but still a powerful tool – it’s been help…
12-07-08
By Vicki Hinze   It is the perspective through which readers will experience the story. From the inception of the story idea, the writer makes story-telling choices. She chooses chara…
12-07-08
By Rob ParnellThe great Chinese ruler, Mao Tse Tung, once said, ‘In order to break the rules of a system, one must first learn and understand them.’ (Okay, I paraphrase – he was actually talking a…
12-07-08
By James Scott Bell There’s a constant confusion, it seems, over point of view. Even veteran writers sometimes get in a fog about it.I’d like to approach in a little different way. Instead of hea…
12-07-08
by Pam McCutcheonI’ve judged quite a few unpublished manuscripts lately and I noticed that one of the things that appears to separate the amateur from the professional writer is an understanding o…
12-07-08
By Tannith Perry         The omniscient point of view is all knowing. The author can take the reader all over town and in and out of every single person’s head if she wa…
12-07-08
By Steve DempsterOf the many different writing styles, viewpoint writing is probably the one that works best for aspiring writers – but what is it?Viewpoint writing is used extensively in modern n…
12-07-08
by Steve Dempster       There are some simple rules to remember when writing form a character’s viewpoint, yet many forget them. Here’s a rundown of some to remember . . .No matte…
12-07-08
Point of View   |   First person   |   Third person   |   Mixed POV   |   Changing the&nbsp…
12-07-08
Point of view is the angle of vision from which a story is told, the perspective or vantage point from which a writer views reality or conveys action or information. There are four basic points…
05-30-09
“A short story is a single movement with a single climax which “by the rule of elegance and efficiency” should contain the fewest scenes possible-perhaps three. The short story moves to an “epipha…
12-08-08
When is narrative effective?   Narrative is effective . . .   when the writer wants to convey necessary information to the reader quickly and efficiently.   There …
12-08-08
By Dr. Vicki Hinze   If you’re confused about the difference between narrative and exposition, don’t worry. Most writers use the terms synonymously.  Both are portions of the w…
12-08-08
By Shery Ma Belle Arrieta   “So what happened?”   When someone asks you that, what do you say? You respond by telling a story – when it happened, where it happened, how it happened…
12-08-08
Someone in your story has to tell us that Jeff pulled out his gun, that Samantha smiled at the tall stranger, that daylight was breaking over the valley. That someone is the narrator or “author’s …
12-08-08
“Order of event is the key to all narrative, because the order in which you tell the events, true or fictive, is the order in which they happen for the first time to the reader.” Philip Gerard”I a…
12-08-08
By William H. Coles, MD Authors who continue to refine their thinking about narration improve the quality of their stories. Clear authorial thinking about story information presented to the r…
12-08-08
“Exposition is the communication of knowledge which the reader requires in order to understand a scene.” Ayn Rand”Back story is all the stuff that happened before your tale began but which has an …
12-08-08
By Rachel Simon   Exposition is the background material a reader needs to for the story to move forward. In “Little Red Riding Hood,” we need to know that our main character is a girl on…
12-08-08
Flashbacks and foreshadowing are tools that we can use to add dimension to our writing. Flashbacks give us the ability to see into a character’s past in real time. Foreshadowing drops hints of …
12-08-08
Most writers try to avoid flashbacks, but if you just can’t resist sending your readers back in time, fiction columnist Nancy Kress has some advice. Kress explains what makes a flashback work, …
04-04-09
By Cynthia VanRooy Ever have the experience of meeting someone at a party and within minutes you’ve heard about their three miscarriages, the ex-husband they left because of his drinking, the …
12-08-08
By Syd Field     At this moment in time, I think we’re in the middle of a screenwriting revolution, a time where screenwriters are pushing the form and craft in new directions. I fi…
12-08-08
By Winnie Griggs What is Backstory?  Quite simply, it is everything that happened to your characters from their birth up until the point your story opens.  So, by definition, all ba…
12-08-08
By Steve Dempster     If you have decided to write a novel, the story that exists within it extends way beyond the book itself. This ‘backstory’ is what helps give your book depth: …
04-10-10
By Chris Lee Ramsden     All your main characters have a back story that you should probably know inside out. However, your readers don’t need to be exposed to all the excruciating de…
12-08-08
Sometimes to get a plot to work we sell out our characters. We’ve all done it and it’s the quickest way to lose a reader. We coax a character into performing some act that helps the plot but sh…
12-08-08
By Vicki Hinze  Inside each of us resides the demon Doubt. It rests easily there, right on the shoulders of Fear. And like Fear, Doubt attacks us when we least expect it-and when we least…
12-08-08
By Vicki Hinze  Inside each of us resides the demon Doubt. It rests easily there, right on the shoulders of Fear. And like Fear, Doubt attacks us when we least expect in–and when we leas…
12-08-08
By Lisa Collazo, LCSW   How do writers become motivated to write?   Is there a special formula that writers need to follow in order to push forward with their writing?   Procr…
12-08-08
By Lori Foster   Sheesh, I have no time to be motivated! Deadlines loom, inspiration stirs, and the drive to make a name for myself is there, it really is! But motivation? I’d rather take …
12-08-08
By Kathryn Lively    You want to write that novel. For years you’ve dream of taking time off to transcribe the idea you’ve nurtured for years. You can see the action taking place an…
12-08-08
“The efficient and elegant writer makes each scene bear as much as it can without clutter or crowding, and moves by the smoothest, swiftest transitions possible from scene to scene.” John Gardner”…
12-08-08
By Janet Kent Fiction is made up of scenes showing characters resolving a problem or reaching an important goal. It must show the characters in action, talking and doing as if the reader were wat…
12-08-08
Transitional devices are like bridges between parts of your paper. They are cues that help the reader to interpret ideas in the way that you, as a writer, want them to understand. Transitional …
12-09-08
Style is the way you use words and sentences. Many new writers worry unnecessarily about it. Let your style develop naturally, don’t try to force it. Everyone has style the moment they put pen to …
12-09-08
By Crawford KilianChecklist For Fiction WritersAs you begin to develop your outline, and then the actual text of your novel, you can save time and energy by making sure that your writing style req…
12-09-08
Style in fiction refers to the language conventions used to construct the story. A fiction writer can manipulate diction, sentence structure, phrasing, dialogue, and other aspects of language to…
12-09-08
By Craig LockWhat is style and how do you acquire it? We all have a natural style. Style is simply the way in which you put words together when you are writing. It is a reflection of your speaking…
12-09-08
By Marisa Wright   If you want to get published in Romance, it’s critically important to write in the correct style. There are many different styles of writing. At one end is writing for…
12-09-08
By Dr. Vicki Hinze What is the difference between tone and mood?Tone typically refers to the emotional atmosphere the writer establishes and maintains through the entire novel.  One of th…
12-09-08
Tone is the implied attitude of the writer or the speaker towards subject, material, and audience; the emotional coloring or emotional meaning of the work. Overstatement (hyperbole): saying mor…
12-09-08
“Tone. What the story sounds like; analogous to tone of voice in ordinary conversation, which often does more to convey the mood of the speaker than does the actual content of the speech.” Madison…
12-09-08
(or, more appropriately, Reaching Inside Your Reader to Twist Her Heart Until It Bleeds Tears) By Chris Green (w/a Crystal Green)Sounds cruel, doesn’t it? But, as writers-as creators-that’s our j…
12-09-08
(Creating special nuggets of gold in your novels.)By Dr. Vicki Hinze Don’t you love looking for hidden meanings in novels?Love digging deeper, past the obvious, and finding that special nugget of …
12-09-08
An image is a sensory impression used to create meaning in a story. For example, near the beginning of “Young Goodman Brown,” we see Faith, Brown’s wife, “thrust her own pretty head into the st…
12-09-08
A literary symbol is something that means more than what it is; an object, person, situation, or action that in addition to its literal meaning suggests other meanings as well. Often, the thing…
12-09-08
“Symbolism. The systematic use of something in a narrative to represent somethine else-often the use of some concrete object to stand for an abstraction.” Madison Smartt Bell”Imagery tends to evol…
12-09-08
By Crawford KilianMaybe you never got anything out of your literature courses except a strong dislike for “analyzing a story to death.” Sometimes the symbolic interpretation of a story or poem ca…
12-09-08
By James Bonnet Visual metaphors are the secret language of great stories. In this article, I will discuss what they are and the source of their power.Great stories and dreams are among the mor…
12-09-08
What is a metaphor? The term metaphor meant in Greek “carry something across” or “transfer,” which suggests many of the more elaborate definitions below:   a comparis…
12-09-08
In horror fiction, there is always a dark threat, something that goes bump in the night, or whatever else you choose to call what your main character is afraid of. Your Dark Threat may take the fo…
12-09-08
By Alicia RasleyNot all books need dark moments, but properly used, this point of crisis can intensify the conflict and at the same time, initiate its resolution.Think of the dark moment as the ti…
12-09-08
By Vicki HinzeWhat follows is a question and my response from the A Aids4Writers  Program. I’m including this exchange in the Writers’ Aids Library because it is a question frequently asked.T…
12-09-08
By Zaharia The most common rights are these:All Rights – where you sell away any claim you have to that piece of work. If you think you might want to use that storyline in another medium, don’t…
12-09-08
Show Me the Money!    What do the various romance publishers pay?  Here’s the best info I’ve been able to glean from four years of surveying authors who were generous enough to…
12-09-08
By Jill Black As a writer (or any business) in order to generate good financial returns for your efforts you will need to place a great deal of emphasis on product creation and the marketing a…
12-09-08
By Vicki Hinze ©   There are two kinds of writers. Those who write for their own pleasure, and those who write to sell.   If you’re writing for your own pleasure, then selling…
12-09-08
By Vicki Hinze ©How do I know when a book is finished and ready to be submitted?It’s a common question-for multi-published authors who work on tight deadlines and for as yet unpublished autho…
12-09-08
By Bobbi Duffy Every author wants his or her book to get a great review.  Every reviewer wants to write a glowing review for every book he or she reads.  So you have two people with the …
12-09-08
By Jenna GlatzerWriters who are new to freelancing are often too afraid to ask for more than an editor offers. Thrilled to be making any money at all, new writers typically agree to whatever figur…
12-09-08
By Kerri-Leigh Grady   You send in your query, hook the editor, send her the partial and full manuscripts, then an eternity later, BAM! The Phone Call. Now what? Wringing your hands …
12-09-08
By Joseph HayesWith so much press concerning questionable business practices involving scam artists and “book doctors”, writers should be aware that there is no easy way to get published. Yet thou…
12-09-08
By Angela Booth   If you’re a new writer, you may be feeling overwhelmed with how much there is to do and keep straight in your head. You’ve got to get ideas, research, write, find marke…
12-09-08
What do you mean you don’t have a schedule?   I can hear you protesting out there.   “I only write when inspiration strikes me.””I have to be in the mood.””I can’t write when I’m not…
12-09-08
By Patricia McLinn 1.) No agent is always better than the wrong agent. This person will represent you to the publishing world and handle your money — do your homework *and* listen to your g…
12-16-08
In a message dated 11/16/2004 10:35:21 PM Mountain Standard Time, LISTSERV@MAELSTROM.STJOHNS.EDU writes:   You come up with an idea for a plot, you can see the main characters. You know …
12-16-08
Fiction tells a story through plot, setting, and characterization: Plot     Sequence of actions, usually presented in individual scenes.  Somebody is doing something,…
12-16-08
1. Point of View: The way in which the reader is presented with the materials of the story; the vantage point from which the author presents the actions of the story.   First Person (…
12-16-08
By Shery Ma Belle Arrietashery@writesparks.com We writers are a powerful lot. We control time. We dictate actions. We control destinies.   We can make two completely opposite people fall …
12-16-08
By Rita Hestand     I truly believe a writer has to learn their craft. Learning it can take years, I should know. I’ve been at mine forty years-and I’m still learning. So I’ve comp…
12-16-08
By Nicholas Sparks   It’s critical to understand these elements and how they are related.Plot — There are many definitions of plot, but plot is essentially the story, or the events tha…
12-16-08
Fiction Heuristic General   Is the primary interest of the story in plot, character, theme, or some other element? What contribution to the story is made …
12-16-08
I. Plot (plot vs. story) -plot: artistic arrangement of events, how artist present story   -story: sequence of events in chronological order   Plot has: a. emphasis: what author de…
12-16-08
By Sandy Tritt   So you wanna be a writer when you grow up, huh? My first word of advice is don’t. Don’t become a writer. Not for money. Not for glory. Not for any reason unless you …
12-16-08
Writing4Success Tipsheet Archive Browse through and find just the article you need to polish your writing or get your career moving!   Tipsheet #1: 6 Ways to Jumpstart Your…
12-16-08
By Vicki Hinze   Opinions vary, but based on my decade of experience in this business, and some of the hard-knock lessons I’ve learned, here are what I hope will prove to you to be a f…
12-16-08
By Dr. Vicki Hinze   What is a novel notebook, and why do you, a creative genius need one?   A novel notebook is simply a binder in which you organize and store all the information …
12-16-08
By Shery Ma Belle Arrieta     Anne Lamott wasn’t so subtle about what she thought of first drafts in her book, Bird by Bird. In fact, she started off by writing, “Now, practicall…
12-16-08
By Sandy Tritt   Although I tried to cram more than one idea on each of Tip Page, there remained several tips I wanted to cover that didn’t fit neatly in any of the established pages…
12-16-08
By Jenna Glatzer   Every writer has heard it time and again, and it’s not without merit: “Write what you know.”   When I began freelancing, I was just out of college, so what di…
12-16-08
By Jenna Glatzer   You know how, when you’re watching a speaker, you can tell if he or she is nervous? There are those tell-tale signs: trembling hands and voice, lack of eye contact, pe…
12-16-08
By Michael LaRocca Some of us write simply because we can’t not write. Ideas grab us, move us, and demand to be written. We strive to make it as real as we possibly can, to improve at our craft…
12-16-08
Arts/Humanities Ask any question! Allexperts.com is the oldest & largest free Q&A service on the Internet. African-American Literature Arts: Crafts, Hobbi…
12-18-08
By Shery Ma Belle Arrieta (mailto:shery@writesparks.com)   We’re born creative. However, this innate characteristic becomes buried as we get older. Our logical left brain usually takes the …
12-18-08
By Shery Ma Belle Arrieta (mailto:shery@writesparks.com)   Have you recently (re)discovered your love of writing? Have you sold many articles to publications? Have you made exceptional prog…
12-18-08
By Vicki Hinze This brief glossary of terms, from the reference point of fiction types, hopefully will aid in defining what you’re writing and help familiarize you with common terms:   …
12-18-08
By Vicki Hinze Psychic Distance is the amount of emotional space you put between the reader and the character.  Writers use psychic distance to manipulate the intensity of reader involvement…
12-18-08
By Vicki Hinze What does a writer do when a novel contains an element that requires a serious suspension of disbelief?  How exactly does the writer incorporate that element so that the reade…
12-18-08
By Shery Ma Belle Arrieta (mailto:shery@writesparks.com)We writers are a powerful lot. We control time. We dictate actions. We control destinies.We can make two completely opposite people fall in …
12-18-08
By Nicole R Murphy   There are certain things that nearly all beginning writers do. It’s almost a right of passage, to have them picked up and commented on. So to save yourself …
12-18-08
By Stevi Mittman     Exercises to Strengthen and Tighten Your Writing   Note: Over the course of the next year or so I hope to do several of these columns focusing on sev…
12-18-08
by Jennifer Turner   The brainstorm hits like a monsoon. Your muse is screaming in your ear. The world fades into a tapestry of forgotten dust bunnies and dirty dishes. You have an idea…
12-27-08
By Vicki Hinze There are two kinds of writers. Those who write for their own pleasure, and those who write to sell.   If you’re writing for your own pleasure, then selling what you write …
12-18-08
What is Expository Writing? Exposition is a type of oral or written discourse that is used to explain, describe, give information or inform. The creator of an expository text can not assume tha…
12-18-08
By Bill Johnson Understanding What A Story Is *An essay that explores the human need for stories.   Foundation Principles of Storytelling *This essay discusses 15 principles I believe…
12-18-08
by Nick Daws   So you want to write a book, but can’t think of an idea? No problem! Here are just a few suggestions to set you on the road to your first best-seller!   Start b…
12-18-08
ANALYSIS This section includes links to articles analyzing novels.    NOVELS ANALYZED   The Hunt for Red October [Bill Johnson]Anatomy of a Plot: A review of the plot and an …
12-18-08
TITLE: Start date: Projected End Date: Actual End Date:Targeted Pub/Line?:Wd ct K ; Pgs. – Chapters w/ pgs ea.Brief summary of genre targeted:Premise:Critical Situation:Setting (area of country /…
12-18-08
By Susan J. Letham You need to know a lot of the background of protagonists characters you create for major projects. It’s easy enough to describe the competent professional side of a pers…
12-18-08
By Susan J. Letham You need to know a lot of the background of protagonists characters you create for major projects. It’s easy enough to describe the competent professional side of a pers…
12-18-08
This section is devoted to articles covering the basics of fiction writing and language use.I Don’t Need No Double Negatives! by Shery Ma Belle Arrieta”I don’t want no sympathy from you.” What doe…
12-18-08
Novice writers (and some professionals) often fall into the trap of “expositing” information instead of presenting it dramatically. Sometimes exposition is inevitable, or even desirable. Lloyd Abb…
12-18-08
by Marilynn Byerly   How to create a story that will suck the reader in like a black hole and not belch him out until “The End.” THE HOOK What gets us into a story? What keeps us there?…
12-18-08
By Alicia Rasley     Archive of the Articles of The Month.     Making Scenes Matter Ten Tips to a Powerful Proposal Bad Guys Need Love Too Getting to Know You: Questions…
12-18-08
Ready — Set — Plot! If the romance isn’t the plot in a romance novel (and it isn’t) then what is? And how do we create it? read the article   The Top Eleven Ways Not to Finish Your …
12-18-08
By Morgan Hawke   Craft of Writing Tips, Tricks & Rants All you need to know to Write EROTIC ROMANCE Making ROMANCE Happen To BE Erotic Fiction – SEX Must drive the Plot….
12-18-08
Speculative Romance Online wants to help you transform the speculative romance in your imagination to the speculative romance that sells. Check out the What’s New list (left), or browse by cate…
12-18-08
I wrote three novels before I got a nibble from a publisher. Several people have asked me how I managed to keep myself motivated, pushing myself to finish each one without any guarantee my work …
12-18-08
By Morgan Hawke PLOTTING – for Cheaters.The easiest way for me to craft a story at top speed is by deciding on the Final Climactic Scene, then plot the rest of the story to make that scene happ…
12-18-08
By Crawford Kilian   If your novel or short story is going to work, it’s going to need all the right components. Used without imagination or sensitivity, those elements may produce only…
12-18-08
By Alicia Rasley   No, this isn’t about sit-ups!  The sagging middle addressed in this workshop is between the opening and the climax of a book.  Many writers lose control and…
12-18-08
Writer Index   FAQs   How to Write Publishing Literary Agents Editors Money Business of Writing Going Pro Worldbuilding Miscellaneous Writing HollyLi…
12-18-08
We’ve got lots of exciting things planned for this area – workshops, writing contests, and other stuff you’ll help me decide on. For now, take a look at the of essays I’ve written on a couple o…
12-18-08
Characterization: Longing and Need Equals Motivation August 2004 How to Get Published September 2002 The Romance Writers Toolbox: The Quick & Dirty Way to Write a Book January 2004 Following Y…
12-18-08
By Vicki Hinze  Reasons Manuscripts are Most Frequently Rejected by Editors and/or AgentsOnce per year for the last seven or eight years, I’ve surveyed a number of editors from large publishi…
12-27-08
Recommended Reading   Character Development   Crafting Effective Dialogue   Plot & Structure   Description & Setting   Writing for Children &nbs…
12-27-08
By Vicki Hinze   How does an author create one? For what purpose does an author create one? What is the fictional dream? How does an author create one? For what purpose does an author crea…
12-27-08
So you wanna be a writer when you grow up, huh? My first word of advice is don’t. Don’t become a writer. Not for money. Not for glory. Not for any reason unless you have a passion in your gut t…
12-27-08
By Leslie Caine   1) Write from the inside out. Determine what is fascinating about you, as well as what you find fascinating in life, and write from your unique perspective. That we …
12-27-08
By Donna Gimarc, a.k.a. Elisabeth Fairchild     There are any number of tools an author may choose in focusing the writing of a novel. Three of the most common are: plot, character, a…
04-10-10
By Gwynne Forster At book signings, writers’ conferences, in correspondence and at my lectures, the questions that readers and aspiring writers ask me most often are how I got started writing …
04-10-10
Linda ConradWhen I got my first “revision” letter for my first published romance, the editor asked me to ramp up the sexual tension. I had no clue what she meant, but a friend suggested that I try…
12-30-08
By Ann Roscopf Allen1. Set aside a time to write and keep it sacred.Make this a time when you know you are at your best and feel most creative — Saturday mornings, late at night, whatever works f…
12-30-08
By Melanie Anne PhillipsToo many writers fall into the trap of making Structure their Story God. There’s no denying that structure is important, but paying too much attention to structure can dest…
12-30-08
By Barbara Dawson Smith”Telling” is a way of conveying facts to the reader-the wrong way. The right way is to “show” information through the use of action, dialogue, and the five senses. (If you’r…
12-30-08
By Elizabeth Rose  I’m sure you’ve read those articles here and there about how to write a book in a week. Well, I’m going to say right now, that’s a bunch of bunk. Expecting someone to b…
01-04-09
© by Holly Lisle All Rights Reserved Back when I was attending a fair number of conventions and signing a decent number of books, I came up with a saying which I attributed …
01-05-09
Your Main Character – Why your setting is your main character. It’s The Little Things That Count – What you need to know to build a good world. IN THE BEGINNING . . . there was a lot of plan…
01-05-09
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia   This is a list of emotions. Contents 1 According to Book Two of Aristotle’s Rhetoric 2 The artificial language Lojban 3 Alphabetical …
01-05-09
I think I’m safe in assuming that other writers have already shared the nuts and bolts of writing with you, so I’m going to focus on two things, the realities of writing and giving some encoura…
01-05-09
By Stella Cameron   As a storyteller you may, like me, be driven to write by heart and gut before the head completely kicks in. But also like me, you could learn that it pays to remember…
01-05-09
By Jim Ross       One day you wake up and announce to the world that you would like to write a novel. Pardon the pun, but that is a novel idea. At some point in time that is wh…
01-05-09
List compiled by Laura Bokesch, Library Media Teacher   “Structure” includes all the elements in a story. The final objective is to see the story as a whole and to become aware of how the…
01-05-09
By Steve Dempster     Despite all the competition, most new and aspiring authors want to write a novel. This article take s a quick look at some points to consider before you put pe…
01-05-09
By Chris Lee Ramsden       Fiction writing seems to be something that everyone and his dog is engaged in these days. Firstly, about twenty-five years ago, the arrival of the wo…
01-05-09
By Arvind Singh        One of my friends recently remarked that reading or writing fiction in his opinion was a waste of time. Of course, he made this remark in jest. Yet …
01-05-09
By Randy Ingermanson       What’s the dirtiest word in a writer’s lexicon? Think about that for a minute before you read on. What’s the worst thing you can call a fellow writer?…
01-12-09
By Rob Parnell   You probably won’t be surprised to learn I read a lot of unpublished manuscripts. I also read a lot of published work. Are there some glaring dif…
01-12-09
By Rob Parnell I picked up a story the other day written in the 1950s. Here’s an extract:”Two storys high and built of granite, rose the Georgian house, but the porch and its pillars were of red, …
01-12-09
By  James Scott BellFrom chapter one of Write Great Fiction: Plot & Structure:    * Find out what plot is,    * how it works,    * and learn t…
01-13-09
By Louisa BurtonOne night some years ago, my husband rented the movie Hard Target. Never having been a huge Jean-Claude Van Damme fan, I was dis­gruntled but re­signed; after all, he-my hu…
04-10-10
By Louisa BurtonMy favorite bon mot about writing (this week) is this frequently quoted little gem from W. Somerset Maugham: “There are three rules for writing the novel. Unfortunately, no one kno…
01-17-09
By David B Silva You’re going to write a fantasy novel. You’ve come up with some characters, you’ve come up with some spells, you’ve even outlined your basic plot. Now what? How a…
02-04-09
By Caterina Christakos   There are seven fundamental reasons that some books succeed and others collect dust on the author’s bookshelf. These seven keys to success as an author are simp…
02-08-09
You have worked hard on your business and now the time has come. You keep reading that you should do it and all the benefits of it, but the thought terrifies you! You’ve been putting it off, but…
02-17-09
By Melanie Anne Phillips   Most of our writing tips focus on the creation of a sound story, regardless of the medium in which you are working. But since the writing of screenplays has its…
02-17-09
By Melanie Anne Phillips   Dramatica asks 12 Essential Questions every author should be able to answer about his or her story. Four deal with the Main Character, four with Plot, and …
02-24-09
By  Michael Sinkolongo   Can you be a writer? Yes you can! You can be that writer that you have always dreamt of being.I strongly believe that anyone can be a writer, and like I…
02-24-09
By  Sophfronia Scott   When preparing to write a non-fiction book, most aspiring authors have no trouble coming up with a list of chapters for their nascent books. They might ev…
02-24-09
By Sophfronia Scott Thinking about genre is one of those places where writers can get stuck. They don’t submit their manuscripts, or worse, they don’t finish them because they feel the sto…
02-24-09
By  Sophfronia ScottRecently I reviewed a client’s query letter. It was a hard working query letter, detailing the marketing prospects for the book, her own glowing credentials and the…
02-24-09
By Penny GrahamYou have worked hard on your business and now the time has come. You keep reading that you should do it and all the benefits of it, but the thought terrifies you! You’ve been putt…
02-27-09
By M. Christian   It seems like every writer has some smart-assed answer to the age-old question: Where do you get your ideas?  For the longest time, I pla…
02-27-09
By Adrian Hunter Bondage fiction is a lot like heavy metal…the lyrics don’t really matter as long as the sound is right. Lots of poseurs try to fake their way through the m…
03-03-09
By Laura WhitcomExcerpt from  Novel Shortcuts In this excerpt from Chapter Three: Crosshairs Moments from Laura Whitcomb’s Novel Shortcuts, you’ll learn: Why it’s so impo…
03-03-09
By Elizabeth Sims Rough up your first draft to get to the good stuff. As Ernest Hemingway famously said, “The first draft of anything is shit.” For years, I didn’t understand. When I started wri…
03-24-09
By Kathryn Lively One of the challenges an editor must face is polishing the work of an author without erasing too much of that author’s style. If you follow a particular novelist, you might not…
03-03-09
By W. Terry Whalin For many years I’ve reviewed fiction and read fiction and judged fiction, yet I’ve never written a novel. My storytelling has been in nonfiction books and magazine artic…
03-04-09
By Rob ParnellA student asked me this week if I knew of any successful writers that ’showed’ how they took their first drafts and made them into the highly polished versions you see in the booksto…
03-04-09
By Lee Masterson   “By ’scientifiction’ I mean the Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Edgar Allan Poe type of story — a charming romance intermingled with scientific fact …
03-05-09
By James Scott BellBeginning a novel is easy. You can start with a bang, introduce colorful characters, set up intrigue, and generally gun the story engine like teenager in his first car.It’s that…
03-04-09
By Robert Gibson   Introduction:   Within the field of science fiction, a special source of addictive fascination can be found in the sub-genre “Future His…
03-04-09
By Lee MastersonYou are the ultimate creator of your fictional world. No matter where or when your story is set, regardless of what events unfold, and despite the characters you introduce to your …
03-05-09
By James Scott BellMy son was assigned his first Dickens novel in middle school. He got A Tale of Two Cities and dutifully set out to begin. Twenty minutes later he came out of his room with a be…
03-06-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip   Though plots can be simple or complex, many plots follow a three act pattern that rises and falls like the tides over the course of a story.&…
03-06-09
By Melanie Anne Phillips When your reader/audience first meets your characters in a story, it has the same effects as when you are introduced to someone in real life….
03-06-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip   Last issue we presented the Screenwriter’s Bag of Tricks (Part One), which provided a collection of useful techniques for writing scripts. This issue, we’ll offe…
03-06-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip   Remember blowing bubbles with that solution in the little bottles and the plastic wand? The craft of writing is a bit like blowing bubbles (life is like a box of…
03-08-09
By M. Christian A couple of weeks ago I had a delightful lunch with the always-great writer/always-great person Donna George Storey (who also has a column here on ERA, “Shameless Self-Promotion”…
03-08-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip   We’ve all heard the phrase, “the hero’s journey.” Much has been written about the steps in this journey and the nature of the hero himself. What is usually assum…
03-09-09
By Lawrence Konner   CHARACTER VS PLOT   The best stories are character-driven as opposed to plot driven because it’s the only way that you’re going to get a believable situation. …
03-12-09
By James Scott Bell My high school basketball coach was a strict disciplinarian. If it was up to me, I would have spent my practice time shooting jump shots. But Coach made us do fundamental dr…
03-12-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip Problems   Without a problem, a story is at rest or Neutral. All of the dramatic pieces are balanced and no potential exists. But when a problem is introduced, th…
03-23-09
By James Scott Bell Some writers object to thinking about plot and structure because it may lead to formulaic writing. They miss a critical distinction.   Why does something become a for…
03-23-09
By James Scott Bell If you write for any length of time, especially professionally, you will come to know the inevitable bumps and potholes that dot the literary road. It may come in the form of a…
03-23-09
By James Scott Bell   The following is adapted from Revision & Self-Editing by James Scott Bell   WHAT DOES A SCENE DO?   Your scenes must do one or more of the foll…
03-24-09
By Steve DempsterIn fiction writing, events occur in strict chronological order. If you would like to know what this means, please read on! In previous articles I’ve used my fictional tongue-in-c…
03-29-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip   Does your Main Character Change or Remain Steadfast? A lot of writers think a character must Change in order to grow. This is simply not true. Characters can als…
03-29-09
By Melanie Anne Phillip The Protagonist is one of the most misunderstood characters in a story’s structure. When creating your Protagonist, don’t let him or her get bogged down with all kinds of…
04-04-09
By Corbette Doyle Original Publication Date in Love Notes: January 2002   Advice is cheap, especially for struggling novelists. Be a Point of View Purist. Minimize the use of italics. Do…
04-04-09
By Paula Guran (Reprinted with permission from and with special thanks to the folks at Dark Echo Writer’s Workshop) Don’t expect to find a definition of horror here. The closes…
04-04-09
By William Meikle For anyone thinking about writing in the horror genre, there are certain situations that, over the years, have been done so often that the audience knows exa…
04-04-09
By Elizabeth Barrette   People often wonder what makes scary stories so attractive. Why do we find thrillers thrilling? Why does horror horrify us? What gives creepy tales…
04-04-09
By Carolyn Kaufman, PsyD   Characters with psychological problems and quirks have appeared as long as people have told stories. For most of recorded history, madn…
04-05-09
By Dwight V. Swain   Backstory, or a character’s past, is often necessary to explain a character’s motivations. It can add insight on personality or create reader sympathy.However, you s…
04-05-09
By Cheryl Wright   Show me an interesting character, and I immediately know the author has done her homework. Backstory will make or break a character.   So exactly what is backsto…
04-05-09
By James N. Frey This article was originally published in the German magazine TextArt: Magazin für Kreatives Schreiben (The magazine for creative writers) in a question/answer column. &n…
04-05-09
By Tess Collins Ancient Greek stories are full of characters whose fatal flaw brings about their downfall-the arrogance of Oedipus, the ambition of Jason, and don’t forget Achilles and his heel. M…
04-06-09
By Tess Collins   If Hannibal Lector were a real person, not many of us would invite him to dinner. Fewer people would accept a date with Dracula, sign a contract with the Devil, go on …
04-06-09
By James N. Frey This article was originally published in the German magazine TextArt: Magazin für Kreatives Schreiben (The magazine for creative writers) in a question/answer column. …
04-06-09
By James N. Frey Note: This article was written for a question/answer column in TEXTART, a German magazine for writers.   Question:   I recently retired from teaching. I have al…
04-11-09
By Barbara McNichol You’ve noodled through your book concept, created an outline to make your ideas flow, and filled in your outline with detail. You’ve accomplished a lot. Pat yourself on the bac…
04-13-09
By Dakota State University   Fiction Writers   Fiction writers learn to write by writing. Although writing is an art, there are skills, tools, and techniques that can be learned in …
04-13-09
By Craig Lock “We share what we know, so that we all may grow.” * Sharing some thoughts on Writing that “Great American Novel”* (from Creative Writing Course) * or that of any other count…
04-13-09
alliteration – the repetition of initial consonant sounds; used to draw attention to words or ideas or to create music with the language   assonance – a repetition of vowel sounds without t…
04-13-09
Parts of Speech Noun: the name of a person, place, thing or idea   Noun/Adjective: a noun that functions as an adjective. Example: “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.” The…
04-13-09
Definition – Adjectives are words that describe nouns or pronouns. They may come before the word they describe (That is a cute puppy.) or they may follow the word they describe (That puppy is …
04-13-09
By Darcy Pattison   Many of my thoughts about backstory are shaped by the needs of fantasy and science fiction writing (sff) where the writer creates a world, complete with complex histor…
04-13-09
Abstract means to write about things in a general way.   Author intrusion is anything which the writer does that interrupts the story for the reader.   Characters are the people or …
04-14-09
By L. ShepherdScience fiction is one of the most creative genres of fiction on the market. Science fiction does not limit itself to what is possible, or even what is probable. In this genre, the b…
04-14-09
By Steven Wyble   Movies such as The Matrix Trilogy have garnered interest across the country in the genre of science fiction. However, all science fiction movies have their roots in the p…
04-25-09
By Sabrina Jeffries   Before I was a writer, I was a technical editor. My job was to transform someone else’s mess into a coherent piece of work. It wasn’t always fun and was sometimes …
04-25-09
By Nan Jacobs Author’s note: This article discusses “close third person” point of view, which is the most commonly used POV in the romance genre.     T…
04-27-09
By Kelley Miles Essoe Place this list in front of you. Do not pin it to your forehead. You cannot see it there. …
04-27-09
By Melanie Anne Phillips Creator StoryWeaver / Co-creator Dramatica   A goal is what the characters chase, but what chases the characters?  The consequence doubles the dramatic tensi…
04-30-09
By Alicia Rasley   Back to the Beginning-The Scene’s First ParagraphsLet’s start at the start, that is, the all-important first paragraphs in the scene. I say “back to the beginning” becaus…
05-01-09
By Rob Parnell   I’ve been reading Robert McKee’s book on ‘Story’, where he outlines what he perceives to be ideal story structure – not just for movies but for novels and short stories…
05-01-09
The TV Writer On–What Else?–TV Writing   Scenes are more than a signposts on your way to the end of the screenplay road. They’re more than just moments in which story or …
05-01-09
The TV Writer On–What Else?–TV Writing   One of the things that keeps viewers viewing is a constant increase in the dramatic tension of a teleplay. That means you have to …
05-01-09
The TV Writer On–What Else?–TV Writing   Half-hour sitcoms tell less story than one-hour shows, but they have a traditional pattern as well.   Start with a Teaser t…
05-01-09
The TV Writer On–What Else?–TV Writing   I’ve probably said this before, but since it’s THE most important aspect of writing for films and television it can’t hurt to sa…
05-03-09
By Lana Straub   “Wow, that book was so awesome it touched my heart!” Exclaimed the stranger at the library the other day. I looked over at her and grinned to myself. That’s what I want m…
05-03-09
By Jennifer Minar   What’s going to happen next? You turn the pages as quickly as you can. Agitated, you read on, lured by the sense of dread that’s pulsing through your veins.   Y…
05-04-09
“It is well to remember that grammar is common speech formulated.  Usage is the only test.  I would prefer a phrase that was easy and unaffected to a phrase that was grammatical.”~ W. So…
05-05-09
By Rita Marie Keller Just about everyone is familiar with this beginning: ‘In the beginning God created the heavens and earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the fac…
05-05-09
By Nick Vernon Your theme has to be something you can prove in your story – It doesn’t have to be a universal truth. This means that your theme doesn’t have to be something that happens in real…
05-05-09
By Nick Vernon  What a plot is and what a story is can be sometimes confusing. If you think they are the same They are not. A plot is the outline of your story. The story is everything in…
05-05-09
By Nick Vernon When an idea comes to us for a short story, we either think of a story line first or a character first. Whichever we think of first, and later on build, we have to make sure the …
05-05-09
By Nick Vernon  For a theme to work and the story, which will revolve around the theme, it has to contain three things Character Conflict Resolution What’s the reason for this? …
05-05-09
By Steven Barnes Most writing ‘experts’ favor a particular way of looking at plot, and will adhere to it for years or an entire career. That’s all well and good, but its important to realize tha…
05-05-09
By Nick Vernon Complete a character questionnaire for each of your main characters or even secondary characters that play a vital role in your story. This way you will know your character(s) w…
05-12-09
By Melanie Anne PhillipsCreator StoryWeaver , Co-Creator Dramatica A whole flock of Story Gurus (myself included) will tell you that stories have structure. Therefore, if yo…
04-10-10
By Melanie Anne PhillipsCreator StoryWeaver , Co-Creator Dramatica   What if your story had a mind of it’s own, as if it were a character unto itself with its own personality, its …
05-13-09
By Melanie Anne PhillipsCreator StoryWeaver , Co-Creator Dramatica   Relationships begin with a “baseline” and then evolve.  You will need to establish how your characters feel about …
05-13-09
By Armando Saldaña Mora   If you’re working with archetypal characters -or doing the very recommended technique of developing a character as an archetype and then “swapping element…
05-14-09
By Rob Parnell    How many times have you heard people say this about a book? Have you ever analyzed the books that people say this about? I have. They all share one…
05-15-09
By Rob Parnell This week, I was interested to read about brain waves and how they work, and apply what I could glean to writing. Here’s the basic info: Beta Waves In our normal w…
05-15-09
By Keelia Greer   Deep Point of View (POV) is close third person, a combination of first and third person omniscient. It is driven by the character’s experiences and emotions.   Wh…
05-16-09
By David B. Silva There is an image most people carry of the artist (think Van Gough’s self-portrait, the one with his ear bandaged), working in solitude in a barren garret in a dark corner of …
05-24-09
By  Karen S. Wiesner   Turn your dream novel into a reality by taking some tips from the worksite and using this Story Plan Checklist. Writing a novel and building a house are pretty…
05-26-09
By  Rob Parnell You pick up a book by an unknown author. From the cover you have some vague idea it’s a thriller of some sort. You start reading.   Two si…
05-26-09
Plot – the main story arc of a literary work Elements of the Story Arc: Exposition – introduction of the main characters and setting; “en medias res” in shorter forms Rising…
05-26-09
Writing a short story is an easy way to become familiar with the process of writing.  The short story can take on many different forms and one should allow them a measurable degree of creativ…
05-26-09
By Jerome Stern   Whether it’s literary nonfiction, fiction or magazine writing, elements of storytelling remain the same. The goal is to create an interesting story, one in which creative …
05-30-09
By Amy Moore Benson Amy Moore Benson, owner of AMB Literary Management Services, shares with you the five reasons why an agent might reject your work. Surprise! It might have nothing at all to…
05-30-09
By Alicia Rasley   I’m not really a very structured writer, or rather, what structure I write with is internalized, integrated from 40 years of reading and 30 years of writing. Subconsci…
05-30-09
By Alicia Rasley  THE OTHER STORY QUESTION The way I add internal conflict is to consider how this person should be affected internally by this plot, or, alternatively, what character is…
06-12-09
By Brandon R. Massey   The issue of time management for fiction writers is an ever-popular subject. If I received a nickel every time someone asked me, “how do you find the time to write?…
06-12-09
By Brandon R. Massey   If you’re anything like most aspiring fiction writers, you’ve wondered: how do you begin writing a novel? It’s an excellent question, with many possible answers. An…
06-12-09
By George Hutton   You know the feeling; you are sitting there, like you are now, looking at your computer screen, like you are now. Only instead of reading these words in front of you, y…
06-12-09
By George Hutton   There are several reasons why you should write every day. It can help you to organize your thoughts, it can allow you to practice your self-expression, it can even help…
06-12-09
By Rob Parnell The difference between a good story and great story is like the difference between a pop song and a symphony.   While many pop songs work well, are catchy and appealing – a…
06-19-09
By Stephen King   Everyone writes for an audience, even diary writers, who are their own audience. A letter writer may write for an audience of one, a business writer may write of an audien…
06-19-09
Try asking couples at random about the things that made them fall in love and works that make their hearts feel better and beat faster, and for sure a good portion of your respondents will say …
06-28-09
What is at the core of your main character that touches you emotionall What do you identify with, to help you write the character from the “inside out”? What is it about him/her that intrigues…
06-28-09
By John Morgan Wilson   Your main character evolves as the story unfolds, presenting the character with a set of challenges. In turn, the story evolves as your character reacts to those c…
06-28-09
By John Morgan Wilson   We’ve all heard the caveat to writers: Show, Don’t Tell. Sometimes you have to do some general telling to fill in a character’s background, but telling only goes s…
06-28-09
By  Emily Hanlon   Point of view one is of the fiction writer’s most powerful techniques. Writing from your character’s POV means that you get inside the main character’s head…
06-28-09
By  Emily Hanlon   1. Don’t think. Creating a story or book has little to do with the intellect or language when we first begin. Our best ideas will emerge as a spark or image…
07-04-09
By Melanie Anne Phillips   Many writers have a misconception that genre is something you “write in” – like a box. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Genre is the overall mood of a s…
04-10-10
My two favorite words are still “axiom” and “myriad.” Say them with me “ax – ee – umm” . . . “mere – ee – aaaad.” Good three-syllable words. Strong words. Words like “Dracula” and “Frankenstein….
07-10-09
This article does not discuss what to write or how to write, but merely a favorite – why to write.  The world appears in its dissatisfactions. Potential lies in the prospect that desires t…
07-13-09
By Kurt Vonnegut   1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.   2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can roo…
07-13-09
By Michele Martinez   As a federal prosecutor in New York City, I spent most of a decade locking up hardened criminals. Specializing in narcotics and gangs cases, I knew crime inside out…
07-16-09
By Rob Parnell   An esteemed subscriber asked me a question in an email this week.   She asked, “How do I write about emotion?”   To be honest, I hadn’t given the subject muc…
08-28-09
By Brian Scott   Many aspiring book writers yearn to get a literary agent for representation. Literary agents have become valuable to getting books published. The first step could determine…
08-28-09
By Brian Scott The “blurb” is the back cover material for your book — the selling points that will get people to buy the book. If you write the blurb before you write an outline, you’re guarante…
08-28-09
By James BonnetWhen I speak of a great story, I mean stories or films that are critically acclaimed and generally acknowledged to be classics. I also mean bestsellers, box office successes, and…
08-28-09
By Tony Levelle When Dorothy Fadiman agreed to be a poll watcher in the U.S. presidential elections of 2004, she thought she was only volunteering to work on Election Day. She had no idea that …
08-28-09
By Stuart Voytilla   One of the most valuable skills for a writer to have is a command of genre. Whether you choose to specialize in a single genre, or want to platfor…
08-28-09
By Linda CowgillWhen characters share emotions with the audience, it deepens the experience of the story. Viewers are made available to the storyteller through emotion: writers seek an emotiona…
09-12-09
By Rob Parnell   Sex scenes are difficult for most writers, whatever their skill level.   First attempts at writing about physical love often result in what is called ‘purple prose’ …
09-04-09
By Jeffrey Hirschberg   Throughout my eighteen years of screenwriting I have read and analyzed thousands of scripts from writers of all levels, incl…
09-10-09
There is no doubt that the success of your ebooks will largely depend on your chosen topics. Your chances of making your ebooks best-sellers will dramatically increase if you write about topics …
09-11-09
Whenever I teach creative writing, there are always a few students who say they can’t think of anything to write about. If you have the same problem, this little exercise may help you come up wi…
09-11-09
Susan Snowden prepared this checklist for short story writers:   After You Write (Checklist)   __ Walk away from your story for a few hours or a day.   __ Revisit your title….
09-11-09
1. The Slow Start – Many novices start out with too much background information and then slog along before they pick up speed. You want to grab the reader with a compelling scene and then add t…
09-12-09
By Rob Parnell   Writers often talk about their quest to be published. They talk as though it’s the end result to their work – as though, when they’re published, everything will change …
09-13-09
By Greg Doherty   A 3-Act story has a beginning, middle and end in a fairly rigid structure.Act 1: A clear main character (protagonist) identifies a clear quest or goal, identifies a clear …
09-13-09
By Rachel Carrington   An author’s insight into the women who make the romance.   If you’ve written for any length of time then you know characterization is important to shape your…
11-09-09
By: Patrick DentPLACESetting is one of the most neglected aspects of fiction; after all, it is merely where the story takes place, right? Right. But every aspect of writing should be carefully con…
11-14-09
By Bob Burnham Here are the ten benefits you WILL receive when you write a book. You Are The Expert. The silver bullet and fastest way to becoming the expert is for you to ‘Write a book’. Once …
11-19-09
By Jason W. Moser   Author’s Note: Novel writing tips will help you develop new ideas if you are running dry for your next best seller. This article has been written to help you, the writ…
11-19-09
By Patrick Dent When writing fiction, the author must rely upon his/her instincts and experiences to create a story. This article will provide an overview of 7 of the major elements of writing f…
11-19-09
By Terescia Harvey   For years, I’ve struggled with the drive for perfection in my writing. What makes it so frustrating is that although I can tame the demon, I can’t exorcise it. Just w…
04-10-10
By Terescia Harvey   Telling   Example » Nick was angry.   This is easy. I, the author, am telling you, the reader, that Nick is angry.   That wasn’t hard to spot…
11-19-09
By Terescia Harvey   ..is what’s supposed to happen when someone reads your books, stories, work in progress, or any other kind of fiction you write.   It’s a state of mind in which …
04-10-10
By Terescia Harvey   Cliché:   trite, hackneyed, stereotyped, tired, worn out. Kind of like a tv program one’s children have watched…and watched…and watched some more. …
11-19-09
By G.D. Baum The murder mystery genre’ is alive and well and living at an on-line bookstore just a mouse click away. How is it that this over-utilized method of story-telling has remained so …
11-19-09
By T.s. Trent The action/adventure genre is most often defined by a protagonist that takes on some sort of heroic quest, where they must prove their own worthiness. Most of the time, if that pro…
11-19-09
By Mario R. Churchill The world of creative writing is an ever expanding one as stories or genres continue to evolve in a natural reaction to the changes in time. Having confirmed writing skills…
11-19-09
By Karyn Follis Cheatham Every writer expends a great deal of creative energy developing a story line and limning well-balanced prose with evocative sentences. That’s what writing is all abo…
11-19-09
By Deborah Owen   What kind of horror story do you want to write? Your options are as wide open as the type of ‘monster’ you wish to create. The term ‘monster’ represents not only the cri…
11-20-09
By Susie Yakowicz You receive a meager check in the mail for a piece that took weeks to write and months to sell. Suddenly, your stomach twists and your mind fills with remorse. You know the f…
11-20-09
By Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz Many writers and readers are familiar with romances written with a touch of fantasy, futurism, or a paranormal theme. Writing across genres is becoming more and mo…
11-20-09
By Dawn Copeman I home-educate my seven year old daughter. Last week I gave her a creative writing task to do. It was a national curriculum-approved task. She had to choose her characters from …
11-20-09
By Hank Quense How many times has this happened to you? You’re in the middle of a story and suddenly you stop to ask yourself: “why is the character doing this?” The lack of motivation by the …
11-20-09
By Sandra Miller Writers are notorious for their love of words. Because of that, we often have a hard time learning to consider certain words as enemies. Here are some words that can suck the i…
11-20-09
By Elizabeth English “If you build it, they will come!” The skillful use of metaphor can give visible shape to a character and recognizable, believable impetus to conflicts in film. The deeper …
04-10-10
By Anne Marble While romance novels aren’t always as clichéd as their critics claim, there are still some clichés that linger. Just because something is clichéd, that doesn…
11-22-09
By Linda Shertzer Creating a good conflict in a romance is only one side of the writing dilemma. The other, equally important side is: how does one resolve that conflict?   The conflict …
11-22-09
By Anne Marble Suspense is an important element of any story. So you’re not writing romantic suspense? That doesn’t matter. All writers should work suspense into their stories. Suspense doesn’t…
11-22-09
By Paula Fleming A mainstream writer once asked me, “Can’t you think of any stories to tell about real people?” It’s an important question to answer. Just why do SF authors write about aliens? …
11-23-09
By Dorothy Blackcrow Mack   Although Jim Frye talked about fictional essays and dramatic novels, I believe that both fiction and creative nonfiction (memoir, essay, narrative nonfiction)…
11-23-09
Too many intermediate writers (and some professionals I know), commas remain a tricky punctuation to use. As they affect both the way a piece is read and its overall effect, they are crucial to ge…
04-10-10
By Alicia Rasley  Let’s start at the start, that is, the all-important first paragraphs in the scene. I say “back to the beginning” because you shouldn’t worry about this so much when you are…
11-24-09
By David TaylorNo Bones About It: How to Write Today’s Horror Part I: The Seeds of HorrorIt all began thousands of years ago in some dark and smoky cave with a tale-teller chanting to his awe-stru…
11-24-09
By David Taylor   No Bones About It: How to Write Today’s Horro Part II: What Today’s Readers WantThe question is simple: How to write awe-inspiring stories that leave readers panting and o…
11-24-09
By David TaylorNo Bones About It: How to Write Today’s Horror Part III: What Today’s Readers Don’t WantAn important part of writing successfully in any genre is learning what not to do. Unfortunat…
11-24-09
By David Taylor   No Bones About It: How to Write Today’s Horror Part IV: Horror Novel Checklist Like any literary form, the horror novel has its conventions-ones which …
11-24-09
By Rocky Cole Beginning stories and novels is always a challenge. Most beginnings are discarded eventually. Often, these ignoble starts bear no resemblance to the final product. This difficulty is…
11-24-09
Have you ever been writing a story and come up against a scene and been at a loss as to what to write or how to handle the specifics of a scene? Whether you are a detailed plotter or someone wh…
11-24-09
By David Bowman Your book or story has a powerful beginning. It engages the reader. It makes him want to read more. The main character has a big problem, and the reader wants to know how it will b…
11-30-09
By Alicia Rasley   This is not going to be a how-to or why-to about using flashbacks. I can’t stand the things myself, though they have their place, and some authors can make them…
12-02-09
A mystery concerns itself with a puzzle.  Suspense presents the reader with a nightmare. A mystery is a power fantasy; we identify with the detective.  Suspense is a victim fantasy;…
12-02-09
By John Truby The Thriller is one of Hollywood’s most popular forms because it combines the criminality and surprise of the detective form with the danger and pressure of horror.A good thriller pu…
12-02-09
By Gael Chandler “The humbling truth is that the film is made in the editing room.” -David Mamet introducing the nominations for editing during the 2002 Academy Awards ceremony Editors are often…
12-02-09
By James Scott Bell  Yesterday I started a new novel. For the last couple of days I’ve been in ecstasy. A familiar pattern is emerging.Writing a novel is like a marriage.The initial stage …
12-02-09
By James Bonnet When I speak of a great story, I mean stories or films that are critically acclaimed and generally acknowledged to be classics. I also mean bestsellers, box office successes, an…
12-02-09
By Tina Morgan   The Hubble telescope, the Voyager probe, DNA and the study of genetics have all changed the way we view our world. Computers have given us the ab…
12-04-09
By Rob ParnellThere are so many dos and don’ts nowadays for writers to absorb that it’s a wonder we don’t crack under the strain.   How are we suppose to get inspired – and write from the h…
12-05-09
By Pinky Mcbanon   Article writing is an important aspect in the development of Internet businesses these days. It is a well-known fact that quality, informative and entertaining content …
12-05-09
By Lee Masterson The Secret Formula for Writing a Best-Selling Novel is…Wait for it…Well, the truth is, there isn’t one. That is, the formula is no secret.Go ahead, browse your local bookstor…
12-05-09
Your main character evolves as the story unfolds, presenting the character with a set of challenges. In turn, the story evolves as your character reacts to those challenges. Character developmen…
12-06-09
By Terry W. Ervin II Once a manuscript is complete and an author begins to focus on finding an agent or a publisher, one of the items often requested during the submission …
12-07-09
By M. Christian   It seems like every writer has some smart-assed answer to the age-old question: Where do you get your ideas?  For the longest time, I pla…
12-07-09
By Anne Cain Their lean bodies move together in the throes of passion, their impossibly handsome faces hover close, their lips about to touch…With vivid imagery and intense…
12-09-09
By Linda Busby Parker    In January of 2006, I published a piece in Writer’s Digest titled “Read Like a Writer.”  That piece was reprinted in a 2007 publication titled Writing Bas…
12-09-09
By Linda Busby Parker    Since books were first published on a large scale basis (the dime novels of the 1850s were the earliest), writers have disagreed about the quality and the r…
12-10-09
By Rocky Cole   Many people are drawn to write and want to do it professionally. While desire is important, probably the most important factor in becoming successful, you also need to und…
12-12-09
By Aaron Coffey What if someone told you, “Your writing stinks!”? I’m willing to bet a lot of people would snarl up their noses and turn away. Others would defiantly stick up “the bird” and erupt …
12-12-09
By Michael LaRocca Back in the mid to late 1980s I was a security guard. The pay was lousy, but it gave me many hours in seclusion to write short stories and novels. However, I usually worked over…
12-12-09
By Mary W. Jensen When I first started writing, I never considered the idea of having an agent. I have examined many publisher websites. I also follow blogs of some people in the industry (authors…
12-12-09
By Bob Cotto   Writer’s block causes your mind to go totally blank while trying to write something really smart. You are going nowhere!   It strikes anyone, any time. You sit staring…
12-12-09
By Angela Booth  After a lifetime’s worth of writing, I can file these baby steps under the “wish I’d known when I started” category. They’re vital. If you follow them, not only will you …
04-08-10
By Apryl Duncan   Emotions are hard enough to deal with. Now try writing about them. Many people feel they’re running straight into a wall when they have to tackle their character’s emot…
04-08-10
By Apryl Duncan   Romantic love writing comes naturally for some, harder for others. Let’s start by breaking down the barriers that separate the naturals from the strugglers. Close your…
04-08-10
y Apryl Duncan   Raise your hands high in the air. You’re on the Emotional Rollercoaster.   First, we uncovered the secrets of Writing Angry. Then we downshifted to Writing Love. &n…
04-08-10
By Apryl Duncan   Some time in your life you’ve probably suspected somebody of something. Maybe you suspected your better half was having an affair. Perhaps you suspected your little one…
12-15-09
By Glen C. Strathy   Here’s an easy way to come up with a brief plot outline for your novel.   One of the most powerful secrets to creating plots that are emotionally compelling is…
12-17-09
By David B Silva If you’re looking for help with your basic novel writing, here’s the most important advice you might ever receive … write fast. This can be difficult for beginning writers to g…
12-18-09
By Terry Odell   First, the absolute nitty-gritty.  If you don’t understand these first four rules, your work will probably never get beyond the form rejection letter…
12-21-09
Conjunctions are words that join other words or clauses together. Examples are: and, but, yet, or, when, because, since etc.God made the country and man made the town.He was poor but he was honest…
03-23-10
by Nicole Murphy   There’s nothing that kills a scene like hackneyed dialogue. Just stop and think about the average B-Grade Hollywood Movie. Sure, at times the plot is bad and the ch…
03-23-10
by Nick Vernon   Creative Writing Tips –   Your theme has to be something you can prove in your story – It doesn’t have to be a universal truth. This means that your th…
03-23-10
by Nick Verno   Creative Writing Tips –   Whichever theme you choose, all the elements, which make up your story, dialogue, conflict, scenes, etc should be written with the theme i…
03-23-10
by Nick Verno   Creative Writing Tips –   How we usually begin the preparation stage in the writing process is…   We think of an idea for a story We think of a suitable …
04-08-10
By Penny Penniston     The dialogue scene you’re struggling with? Take the page, crumple it into a paper ball and throw it into the trash can across the room. If you can make…
04-08-10
by Kim Hudson The title The Virgin’s Promise has two meanings and in a nutshell, it describes the journey of the Virgin. The first meaning is the community’s belief that the Virgin has agreed …
04-08-10
by Julie GrayYou’ve slaved away for months. Your script’s structure is great, the character arcs are satisfying, the premise is original, the dialogue is snappy and organic and your story …
04-08-10
By John Truby    What’s my genre? That’s the single biggest question you should ask yourself when that great premise idea first pops into your head. Why? Because of the First Rul…
04-10-10
By Terry W. Ervin II Dialogue is an essential part of most short stories and novels. It is always better to show or have happen than to explain or to describe. Chara…
04-10-10
By Bonnie Way Dialogue is one of the hardest parts of fiction to write, because it needs to sound real while also performing its job within the story. One task given …

1 Comment »

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Socialpoitan Writing, Socialpoitan Writing. Socialpoitan Writing said: Socialpolitan.org Fiction #Writing #Articles http://ow.ly/1GAVj [...]

    Pingback by Tweets that mention Socialpolitan.org Fiction Writing Articles « Socialpolitan Live -- Topsy.com — May 4, 2010 @ 4:45 am | Reply


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