There are three elements that make up every story: people, problems, and places.
To form a good story, those elements need to be in balance, because each one affects the others.
That’s why you need to put as much effort into the places in your story—your setting—as you do for your characters and your plot.
Here are the three best ways to make that effort pay off, so that your setting comes alive. Continue reading
Are you planning to write a book in 2020?
Want some writing inspiration and wisdom from authors who have written dozens or even hundreds of stories and books?
Check out my list of the five most inspiring books about writing over at Civilian Reader.
P.S. Do you love free stuff . . . like books, for instance? Want a chance to win one? Get my author newsletter.
What makes a villain fascinating?
It’s not just about scaring the pants off the reader.
The most terrifying thing a villain can do in a story isn’t killing the hero or blowing up the world — it’s making their twisted viewpoint seem morally right, and making the hero seem wrong.
Because if the villain’s outlook starts to make sense, and the hero seems to have things backwards, then for just a moment, the reader has to wonder: Have I been rooting for the wrong side all along?
In my Dru Jasper urban fantasy series, every book sees the heroes (all with strange and unique magic powers) fighting to defend the world from a looming apocalypse. The latest book, Forever and a Doomsday, squares them off against the worst threat they’ve ever faced: a horde of wraiths, the dispossessed souls of sorcerers, who can walk through walls and kill with a mere touch.
How do you fight something like that? Continue reading
True story: When I was 17, I met an African storyteller.
He traveled to distant parts of the world, collecting oral stories and writing them down for posterity. He was my first real-life writing teacher.
His feedback helped me get started as a writer. Within a couple of years, I had sold my first magazine article. I’ve been writing ever since.
I got a chance to talk about that experience (and a bunch of other sometimes-funny, sometimes-humbling stuff) on the ever-excellent Nerds That Geek website. Check it out.
P.S. Want a chance to win one of my new books for free? Get my author newsletter.
How do writers create fascinating monsters?
For me, it’s a many-layered process that involves thinking about where a monster came from, what it’s after, how it thinks, and what happens when it encounters the heroes.
I actually got the chance to dive deep into the monster-creation process and explain how to do it step-by-step, thanks to the marvelous Mogsy over at Bibliosanctum, the super-fabulous speculative fiction blog.
You can read my guest post here.
P.S. You can also get access to your own monster-making workbook when you get my author newsletter.
Categories: Dru Jasper, For Writers, how to write a book, how to write a novel
Tags: aspiring writers, behind the scenes, fantasy, for writers, horror, how to get published, how to write a book, how to write a novel, monsters, science fiction, Writing Tips
Before I became a published author, I used to carry around a writing notebook in my back pocket.
You know the kind I’m talking about: the little black book that tells the world you’re a Serious Writer.
But that little notebook is a big mistake, I eventually learned.
Here are three reasons why you should ditch it, and what you need to keep in your pocket instead. Continue reading
The best writing podcasts dig deep into the writing process and make you think. That’s why it’s always interesting talking to fellow Colorado author Mark Stevens on the official podcast for the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.
Not only is Mark an award-winning author in his own right, he also asks the tough questions about what it’s really like to be a working writer. I’ve been lucky enough to be a guest on his podcast several times, and sometimes our talks take a turn that surprises even me.
In this latest episode, we talked about the inspirations behind the cast of the Dru Jasper series. Especially the fan-favorite demon-possessed car, Hellbringer.
We also talked about the difference between plotting a novel and leaving yourself open for inspiration while you write. Believe it or not, you can have it both ways.
By the way, Mark tried to get me to talk about my super-secret brand-new book (a new one that isn’t even out yet), and I couldn’t help but drop a few clues. Plus, we discussed how to handle working on several different books at once.
Oh, and I also got a chance to read the opening scene of my new book, Forever and a Doomsday.
Hey, there’s tons of good stuff in this podcast. Listen to it here.
P.S. Have you signed up for my author newsletter? I love to give away books and other cool stuff. Join here.
There will be more than 100 science-fiction, fantasy, and horror authors and artists giving talks, signing books . . . cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria. Join in the fun!
I’ll be on these panels:
Hidden Depths: Characters with Secrets
Friday 10/18/19 at 3:00 pm
Mesa Verde B
Self-Editing vs. Hiring
Friday 10/18/19 at 6:00 pm
Mesa Verde B
PG-13 Monsters: Not So Scary YA
Sunday 10/20/19 at 12:00 pm
Mesa Verde A
Fun trivia: This year’s guest of honor is USA Today bestselling author Angela Roquet, whose very nice blurb graced the cover of my book No Sleep till Doomsday: “An epic blend of magic, action, and humor.”
More details about this crazy weekend at https://milehicon.org/
P.S. Psst . . . you could score a signed paperback or other cool freebies when you join my author newsletter.