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:
I’m writing a book about anti-gravity. It’s impossible to put down.
One of the little-known perks of being a writer is that I get to pretend that I know all kinds of cool stuff.
Every character I create is an expert in something.
They can hack into top-secret computer networks, field strip an AK-47 blindfolded, make a peanut butter sandwich without dripping any.
These people have skills.
Don’t get me wrong, I love being a writer (and writing halfway decent books is kind of a skill). But still, I wish I had the time, energy, and money to learn these four skills. Continue reading
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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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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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
Sooner 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.
New rule: if there’s a Lamborghini on the cover, you know it’s good.
While I was writing No Sleep till Doomsday (Dru Jasper series, book 3), much to my surprise, I found myself listening to a certain Ukrainian pop music album over and over.
My book features an evil crystal sorceress named Lucretia, and there are subtle references throughout the book to the song “Lucretia, My Reflection” by The Sisters of Mercy.
Searching for music to write by, I found all sorts of cool covers and remixes of “Lucretia, My Reflection.” The one version that really captured my attention was by a Ukrainian electronic artist called ZXZ, on the Crystal Blue album.
A song about Lucretia (my crystal sorceress), on an album called Crystal Blue. Was it fate?
I decided to track down ZXZ and find out.
“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.