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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3 Tips for Using Color Theory In Your Writing

Some like it hot, but I like it RED. In September I bought a red house. I know what you’re thinking, who does that? Someone with a secret barn obsession? Turns out lots of people love red houses and Pinterest is full of people lamenting their lack of red house. Why? Because red triggers emotions. …
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Reading for Writers 101: Is Your Story Ending ‘Right’?

I read the first book of The Hunger Games series when it came out six years ago. Then I read the next one when it was released. Before the third and final book of the series arrived, I pre-ordered the box set. And put it on my shelf. For years. It’s not that I didn’t …
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Is TV the New Novel?

Last week I read the New York Times Bookends column “Are the New ‘Golden Age’ TV Shows the New Novels?” and got riled up about Adam Kirsch’s opinion, which basically boils down to “how dare TV shows think they are as great as novels!” Well, I feel the need to counter with “how dare you …
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The Controlling Idea – Not Your English Teacher’s Theme

My last post about Theme turned out to be a little contentious. Not everyone agreed with the definition, which isn’t surprising considering we were all taught in English class that theme is a) usually distilled down to one word, like “salvation” or “death”, and b) open to interpretation. This approach to theme works in a …
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Does Your Novel Have a Theme with a Capital “T”?

Theme is like a truffle – it has to be there, just under the surface, but one must snort through much mud to unearth it. A most unpleasant process I’ve been stuck in for the last few months. So why do I keep at it? Won’t the theme of my book just magically appear once …
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What’s a B-Story? And Why That Love Triangle Doesn’t Cut It

Before I explain what a B-Story is and why it’s crucial, here’s a list of what it is not: Comic relief that is inconsequential to the main story. A side plot that has nothing to do with your hero. A tacked-on love story to appease those who say YA needs a love triangle. These are …
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