Posts Tagged With: how to write a novel

3 Secrets to Writing Vivid Settings

3 Secrets to Writing Vivid SettingsThere 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

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5 Books That Will Inspire You to Be a Writer

The Pulp JungleAre 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.

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The Secret to Writing Fascinating Villains

The Secret to Writing Fascinating VillainsWhat 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

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9 Surprising Things I Love about Writing (and One Thing I Hate)

Nerds That GeekTrue 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.

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Making Fascinating Monsters on The Bibliosanctum

The BibliosanctumHow 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.

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Why Writers Should NEVER Carry a Notebook

Why Writers Should NEVER Carry a NotebookBefore 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

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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.

Continue reading

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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.
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.

Continue reading

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