How to Straighten Your Story’s Spine

Sometimes I write a story where lots of exciting stuff happens, my protagonist is proactive and has a goal, and I’m hitting all the right beats (if you don’t know what those are, check out this post on the 15 Story Beats), yet the story still feels flat. What’s wrong? What am I missing? The …
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6 Ways to End a Book in a Series

It’s not surprising that many writers want to create a book series. A series will often sell more books, and they can be faster and easier to write. Writing a series is such a big deal it’s not uncommon to hear aspiring novelists, many of them still working on the first draft of their first …
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12 Tips to avoid Overwriting

Overwriting is a common problem for new writers. Even experienced writers can fall victim to the issue. It’s something, as a reader, that drives me nuts. It’s also something I’m guilty of needing friendly reminders about in my own early drafts. Overwriting is defined as: a tendency to write too much, or too ornately. A …
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5 Reasons to Track Questions & Answers in Your Novel

This week while flushing out my novel’s outline, I decided to track where I raised and answered questions in the story. Why? Because questions are crucial to a good story; they ensure it has enough intrigue and suspense to keep readers reading. Have you ever set down a book and not been compelled to pick …
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Solutions for Common Writing Mistakes: Runaway Word Counts

Recently I read a post in the Guardian. They interviewed some of the top editors in children’s fiction to discover the most common mistakes made by new writers. {I’ve included a few of the Guardian quotes here, but I recommended reading the full piece.} The article is illuminating, and it turns out almost every single …
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Test That Scene – Cut or Revise?

A month ago I wrote a post called Test That Scene – Is It Essential or Filler? The basics of it are this: No Filler Test Question #1 – If deleted, will the reader still be able to follow the story? If yes, you’ve got filler! Question #2 – What is different by the end …
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Writing Tips for 1st Person POV

First person POV has its advantages and its drawbacks. If you love it, and many writers do, you know one of the biggest issues is the overuse of personal pronouns. If you’re not paying attention, you can end up with long passages where every other sentence starts with the same word. In those rare instances …
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