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.

Writing Advice for Teens

Writing Advice for Teens

Story ideas tend to come when you least expect them. So write them down when you have them.

Recently, I received an email from a teen writer who had decided to write a novel, but she was struggling to find the time.

Between school, homework, music lessons, and other commitments, she didn’t know when she would actually be able to write.

But she was smart to ask for help. She had three specific questions:

1. How can I find enough time for writing?

2. How do I know if my novel idea is any good?

3. If I finish my novel, and nobody wants to read it, what should I do?

Here’s what I told her:

Continue reading

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6 Secrets of Science Fiction and Fantasy World Building

6 Secrets of Science Fiction and Fantasy World Building

How do you, as a writer, build a new world that fascinates your readers, draws them in, and makes them want to come back for more?

If you write fantasy, science fiction, or horror, you need to do your world building the right way.

I’ve revealed the shortcuts and tips you should use — and the pitfalls you must avoid — over at Fiction University.

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Create Better Characters in 6 Easy Steps

Ember - It Happened One Doomsday

Will Ember help save the world – or destroy it? Interesting characters make interesting stories.

Readers may be intrigued by a good plot.

But if your characters are interesting, readers will remember them long after they close the book.

It can be tough to create fully fleshed-out, three-dimensional characters.

I explain how to do it over at the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers blog.

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Why You Should Never Be Afraid to Write

Writers' Forum magazine (UK)

Writers’ Forum is the leading writing magazine in the UK. Check it out.

One day, almost exactly 10 years ago, I walked into a bookstore in Hawaii and discovered something fascinating.

It was an overly large magazine, with big glossy pages that flopped over in the humid air, and it was chock-full of articles on how to write. The magazine was called Writers’ Forum.

It was from the UK, a long way away.

At the time, I was an angsty aspiring writer, so of course I devoured that magazine cover to cover, hunting for advice I could use to become a real author. I decided that someday, I wanted to see my name published in that magazine.

But was my writing good enough? I suspected not. At least not yet.

Little did I know what was about to happen next. Continue reading

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Plot Problem? Fix It Fast with a Retcon

Plot Problem - Fix It Fast with a RetconSooner or later, every story runs into a little hiccup.

As you write, you’ll discover that certain facts don’t fit together anymore.

Maybe a character needs to be changed or removed.

Maybe you find a plot hole big enough to drive a Mack truck through.

Somewhere, in the inner workings of your story, something has gone awry.

You need to fix it, or you’ll have a big problem on your hands.

Find out what to do next on Fiction University.

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7 Ways to Master “Show, Don’t Tell”

7 Ways to Master Show, Don_t Tell“Show, Don’t Tell” is probably the most often-repeated writing advice in the world.

It means that you shouldn’t dump a load of information in the middle of the page, because it will stop your story dead.

But it’s easy to fix that problem, if you know how.

Here are seven different ways that you can unobtrusively slip information (also known as exposition) into your story without raising any red flags.

Master these ninja exposition tricks, and you’ll never struggle with “Show, Don’t Tell” again.

 

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Want to Be a Better Writer? Read This.

Railroad tracks reading a book

Go ahead, read a book. Maybe not on railroad tracks, though. Just saying.

I’ve talked to hundreds of best-selling authors about their early years, before they were published.

By and large, they wrote about half a dozen unpublished manuscripts before they sold their “first” novel.

Aside from cranking out thousands of pages of prose, how do you learn the writing skills you need to improve over time?

Continue reading

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How to Use Rejection to Grow Stronger

No - rejection

Photo credit: foilman on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA

This is a true story.

Not long ago, an aspiring writer reached out to me for advice on how to deal with the worst kind of rejection.

Delia (not her real name) had decided once and for all to finally write that book she’d been dreaming about for years.

And she did it – she finished the book, which by the way most people don’t. Continue reading

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4 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Suspense in Your Novel

4 Mistakes to Avoid When Building Suspense in Your NovelHave you ever read a book that you just couldn’t put down?

The whole time you were turning pages, you were probably desperate to discover the answer to a burning question.

That’s the essence of suspense, and it makes readers devour your book.

So how do you build suspense in your novel?

Start by avoiding these four suspense-destroying mistakes.

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How to Write Kick-Ass Action Scenes (Part 2)

how to write action scenes p2Believe it or not, it’s easy to write gripping action scenes—if you know how. In Part 1 of this article, I showed you how to break down complicated action scenes into their component parts: location, characters, goals, and actions. Now I’ll show you the real secret to wrapping up any action scene with an unforgettable bang.

Read more at Fiction University >

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