Posts Tagged With: how to write

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.

Want more writing tips or behind-the-scenes features? Subscribe to my author newsletter.

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By and large, they wrote about half a dozen unpublished manuscripts before they sold their “first” novel.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

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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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6 Easy Steps to Writing Unforgettable Characters

Salem - A Kiss Before Doomsday

This is Salem, one of the most powerful sorcerers in the Dru Jasper series. Whatever you do, don’t make fun of his hat.

Every writer knows that creating interesting characters is one of the toughest parts of the job.

I don’t feel like an expert on characters by any means, but RT Book Reviews said this about my latest book: “MacNaughton has a real gift for developing quirky and crazy characters.”

Nice to hear, but I’ll tell you: it’s not really a gift. Nobody is born knowing how to write great characters. It’s a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned.

Want to know how I do it? I’ve laid out how to create your own characters, step-by-step.

You can read it here on Fiction University.

What elements of writing do you struggle with? Leave me a comment below.

Want more useful writing tips? Subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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New Author Interview on Blog Talk Radio

Wooden Pants - Daily Author podcastThe Daily Author turned out to be one of my favorite live interviews ever. Richard and I got into some pretty in-depth discussions about:

• What it takes to overcome creative anxiety
• Connecting with your creative support network
• The importance of knowing good advice from bad
• Independent vs. traditional publishing – there is a third way
• The long journey from freelancer to author
• And much, much more!

Plus, I’m doing a special giveaway just for podcast listeners. Listen here.

Don’t forget to subscribe for bonus content and an extra chance to win. >

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Storytelling Made Easy (Even If You’re Not a Writer)

Storytelling Made Easy by Michael Hauge

Expert storytelling advice for business leaders. Or anyone, really.

If you think about it, storytelling is a skill we all use every day. We tell stories at the water cooler, in meeting rooms, in social media, and around the dinner table.

Knowing how to tell a great story helps you communicate, do better in business, and be more fun at parties.

Think you’re no good at telling stories? You can be, if you want, for just $1. (More on that in a moment.)

Storytelling is a skill, and like any skill, it can be learned. Just ask Michael Hauge.

The guy is a storytelling genius. He’s not only a best-selling author, he’s also one of Hollywood’s top story experts. He’s worked on projects starring Will Smith, Julia Roberts, Tom Cruise, Reese Witherspoon, and Morgan Freeman. He’s given lectures and workshops on storytelling to more than 80,000 people worldwide.

He knows what he’s talking about. And he can teach you how to tell stories.

Continue reading

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Electric Spec Interview on Writing Short Fiction

Electric Spec fantasy and science fiction short stories

Wait, are these stories AC or DC?

It was a real honor to have the chance to sit down and talk with Electric Spec about what makes short stories so relevant today. As writers, short stories give us the opportunity to connect with readers in ways that novels don’t. Besides, talking about how to write short stories is just plain fun.

Also, for probably the first time ever, I talked about the science fiction stories I discovered when I was 12 years old that made me decide to become a writer.

If you enjoy an engrossing science fiction or fantasy short story (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?), then you need to check out Electric Spec. For over a decade, these fine folks have been putting out some of the best speculative fiction out there. Give them a shot.

Click here to read my Electric Spec interview.

And speaking of short stories, don’t forget to subscribe to my author newsletter to get a free Dru Jasper story. >

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How I Make a Living as a Writer (And You Can Too)

Make a living writing

Copywriting for fun and profit. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

I’m proud to say I’ve built a full-time career around writing, as both a novelist and a copywriter.

That means splitting my time between the two. Usually I spend the morning writing novels, then spend the afternoon writing marketing and advertising copy for business clients.

(“Copy” is just fancy ad agency shorthand for “words that sell stuff.”)

I’m not alone. There have been innumerable examples of copywriters who also successfully wrote fiction. James Patterson, Salman Rushdie, Joseph Heller, and Dorothy Sayers, to name a few.

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How to Plan and Write A Novel

non-English typewriter

Think Microsoft Word is a pain to use? Try cranking out 100K on this sucker.

I’m often asked what my writing process looks like.

How do I write a book? It’s pretty simple, actually.

(Not easy. But simple.)

First, I start with the basics:

  • Who are the good guys?
  • What are they trying to do?
  • And, especially, why?
  • Who are the bad guys?
  • Where does this take place?

Then I boil all of that down into a strong core idea. For example: a bookish crystal shop owner has to save the world from the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – who drive possessed muscle cars.

The idea has to work at the core level, it has to really grab me, before I start writing it. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Then I figure out how to make the whole book work, beginning to end, in a short synopsis. Maybe one page. That takes time. And even once I have that figured out, I don’t start writing it yet.

Continue reading

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