For Writers

Writing a novel and finding book publishers isn’t easy. Learn how to write a novel, beat writer’s block, find literary agents and publish a book with these free writing tips.

6 Rules to Pump Up Your Writing

When considering who gives out the best writing advice in the world, the first name that pops up might not be Arnold Schwarzenegger.

But a decade ago, Schwarzenegger presented his “6 Rules of Success” in a now-famous commencement speech at the University of Southern California.

And these rules just might hold the key to your success as a writer.

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4 Writing Pitfalls to Avoid at All Costs

4 Writing Pitfalls to Avoid at All CostsHas your writing fallen into a black hole?

Has your pacing dropped to a crawl, or your suspense become a snore?

Do you just feel stuck?

You might be sabotaging your own writing without even knowing it.

But don’t panic. Here’s how to avoid the four most perilous pitfalls of writing.
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4 Ways to Handle Foreign Languages in Fiction

How to Use Foreign Languages in Your NovelWhen a character in your story speaks a foreign language, should you write it out in that language, or in English?

How can you make the dialogue sound exotic without confusing the reader?

These are tricky questions.

Foreign languages can lend your characters and locations a more exotic flair, and even increase the dramatic tension in a scene.

But before you start sprinkling a certain je ne sais quoi into your prose, understand that you have four options.

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How Effective Is the Pomodoro Technique?

The Pomodoro TechniqueThe Pomodoro Technique is deceptively simple.

Set a timer for half an hour or so, ignore all distractions, and focus on your work.

On the surface, it seems far too simple to be effective.

But it does work. Amazingly well.

In fact, I can pinpoint the exact moment my novel-writing career took off a few years ago. It happened right after I adopted the Pomodoro Technique.

Once I started using a timer, eliminating distractions, and tracking my results, everything changed. Continue reading

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What Every Writer Should Know About Theme

What Every Writer Should Know About ThemeTheme seems to be one of those angst-triggering bogeymen that writers constantly wrestle with. But when you examine it closely, there’s really nothing complicated about it. Theme is simply the lesson the main character learns over the course of the story.

(Or, in the case of a tragic ending, the lesson they failed to learn.)

Every story, from the silliest comedy to the deepest work of literature, delivers a moral message on some level. It basically says “life is like this.”

Think about some of the most famous movie quotes of all time:

“There’s no place like home.”

“Greed is good.”

“Use the Force, Luke.”

All of those quotes point directly toward the theme of the story. Continue reading

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Never Suffer Writer’s Block Again

Never Suffer Writer’s Block AgainHave you ever sat down to write, and found that everything you wrote seemed terrible?

Every writer has felt that way, at one time or another.

Here’s the uncomfortable truth about those critical thoughts: they can actually help you become a better writer.

But only if you know how to recognize those thoughts for what they are, and then train yourself to have them at the right time.

There are two sides to your creative process.

The creative side of your writing process helps you get the rough draft down on paper.

The critical side, on the other hand, helps you revise and polish the final draft.

In order to be write, you actually need both of these very different thought patterns in your head. You just can’t have them at exactly the same time. Continue reading

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How to Create Characters in 60 Seconds

How To Create Characters in 60 SecondsWhen you create great characters, they walk onto the page and make your story unforgettable.

They can bring every scene to life.

But creating characters takes tons of time and effort, doesn’t it?

Not necessarily.

I’m here to show you how you can create an impressively good character in 60 seconds or less.

 

Sound impossible? Here’s the secret:

You don’t need to write ten pages of backstory to make a great character. All you need is four short sentences.

Sentence #1: Name & Appearance

What is this character’s name?

If you don’t have a name in mind yet, use a placeholder name. (More on names in a moment.) Next question:

How would you describe this character’s appearance, in a single word, or as few words as possible?

Don’t limit yourself to just hair, clothes, or general physical description. Get creative. Come up with any noticeable outward feature that sounds good, and jot it down.

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Introducing the Six-Figure Master Fiction Plot

Lester Dent Master Fiction PlotEver wish you could write a novel in just a matter of weeks . . . and then sell it for good money?

Lester Dent did exactly that. In fact, he wrote his first novel in just thirteen days.

You read that right. Thirteen days.

Over the course of his career, he wrote nearly 200 novel-length stories. He crammed the pages of pulp fiction magazines with stories cranked out under various pen names. During the Great Depression, while legions of writers were starving, he boasted that he made $18,000 a year with his writing. In today’s terms, that’s more than $250,000 a year.

He often wrote a book-length story every month, using a “master plot” formula of his own devising.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get your hands on that top-secret recipe for success? You bet it would.

So here it is. Continue reading

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Answered: Your Most Burning Questions About Editors

James Persichetti, Developmental Editor at Lost Hat Editorial Services

For every brilliant manuscript that grows into a best-selling novel, untold thousands of others get dumped into the recycle bin. What’s the crucial difference between them?

Ask Jamie.

Over the years, James Persichetti has seen more unpublished manuscripts cross his desk than most people could read in a lifetime. He started out at the incomparable Nelson Literary Agency (Bird Box, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, etc.).

Now, he’s launched Lost Hat Editorial Services, a boutique editing business that helps writers like you succeed. Here he is, in his own words, to tell you how to find the right editor, polish your book to perfection, and avoid the biggest mistakes aspiring writers make. Continue reading

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5 Most Inspiring Books for Writers

Did you resolve to finish your novel this year?

I salute you. The bad news is that 80% of those who set New Year’s resolutions give up by the second week of February, according to U.S. News.

So, right about . . . now.

Need a little help staying inspired to write your novel? Here are the best books to keep you going.

P.S. For even more inspiration, writing tips, and other good stuff, subscribe to my author newsletter. (It’s free!)

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