True 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.
What if there was one single trick that could help you write better, faster, and easier than ever before?
What if that trick could help you organize your thoughts, get started sooner, and finish every writing project, from a blog post to a novel?
There is such a trick. And as a full-time writer, I use it every day.
Find out what it is on Fiction University.
P.S. For more helpful writing tips, subscribe to my free author nrewsletter.
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.
“How can I find the time to write?” said every aspiring author ever.
But time is only half of the equation.
The other half is speed.
The faster you write, the faster you will finish your story or novel and get it published.
Can you learn how to write twice as fast, without sacrificing quality?
Yes. I’ve done it, and so can you.
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:
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
“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.
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?
Have 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.
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