There 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
What 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
Before 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
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.
Have 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
Did you resolve to finish your novel this year?
I salute you. The bad news is that 80% of those who set New Year’s resolutions give up by the second week of February, according to U.S. News.
So, right about . . . now.
Need a little help staying inspired to write your novel? Here are the best books to keep you going.
P.S. For even more inspiration, writing tips, and other good stuff, subscribe to my author newsletter. (It’s free!)