Posts Tagged With: for writers

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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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.

Continue reading

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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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Writers: Outline Your Novel the Incredibly Easy Way

Every day, I’m thankful to have the opportunity to write for a living. Seriously. Every single day.

That’s why I share my tips and techniques to help aspiring writers navigate the pitfalls of the writing craft.

One of my favorites is a method for outlining novels that is super simple, quick, and (dare I say) fun. Here it is.

P.S. Get even more writing tips (plus other cool freebies) when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

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Yours Truly rocks the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers podcast

Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers podcastTrue story: at the RMFW conference this year, I bumped into my good friend Mark Stevens, an award-winning author and host of the Rocky Mountain Writer podcast. Somehow, we got to talking about weird musical instruments.

I’ve just started playing one of the weirdest of all, the theremin. It’s the original electronic instrument, one that you play just by waving your hands at it. It’s been featured in plenty of old black and white science fiction movies.

Mark was like, “Why don’t you play it on our podcast?”

And I was like, “Wow! That’s a terrifying idea! Let’s do it!”

(And also, somewhere in there, we talked about my writing, too.)

Listen to the Rocky Mountain Writer podcast. 

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Learn All of My Writing Secrets at Colorado Gold

ALL of my writing secrets?

ALL of my writing secrets? Well, to be honest, probably not ALL of them. But we’ll do that whole “save the cat” thing. (And if that doesn’t ring a bell, you should come to my class.)

Are you going to the RMFW Colorado Gold 2018 conference?

Don’t miss this chance to pick my brain about all things related to urban fantasy, writing action scenes, and creating monsters.

Here’s where you can find me:

Birds of a Feather: Urban Fantasy panel
Saturday 10am | Winter Park

What exactly is urban fantasy? What makes it different from paranormal romance? What are the newest and most exciting urban fantasy trends to watch? Panel hosted by yours truly.

How to Write Kick-Ass Action Scenes
Sunday 10am | Durango

Do you struggle with writing fight scenes or chases? Believe it or not, writing kick-ass action is easy—if you know how. In this workshop, you’ll learn the 6 secrets to writing action scenes that make your readers break out in a sweat. Get the Action Scenes worksheet here.

7 Secrets to Writing Bloodcurdling Monsters
Sunday 11am | Durango

Science fiction, fantasy and horror stories are full of monsters. One of a writer’s toughest jobs is creating creatures that are both gripping and original. In this workshop, you’ll master the seven secrets to writing truly unforgettable monsters. Get the Creating Monsters worksheet here.

Can’t make it to the conference? Get free (and useful) writing tips in my author newsletter. Subscribe now.

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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.

P.S. Get more free writing tips when you subscribe to my author newsletter.

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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 a Novel This Year: 10 Free How-To Articles

Writing Desk - how to write a novel

Do you have questions about writing a novel? Here are the answers.

Something like 92% of all New Year’s resolutions are doomed to failure. If one of your goals is to write a novel this year, don’t let yourself become a statistic. Find out the answers to your questions and learn how to write your book.

Since I joined the powerhouse faculty at Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, I’ve written a monthly how-to guide for writing fiction. If you’re looking for some writing inspiration or technique, you could do worse than checking out some of my favorite articles: Continue reading

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