Play Your Hunches

It’s the one lesson I remember from my father, who died when I was young: play your hunches. Three years ago I went to a writing workshop in San Francisco. I had just been forcibly retired and thought I might look into another profession – one that didn’t involve Boards of Directors, staff, agendas, emails …
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Does Your Book Open With a BANG?

Everyone wants a book that explodes off the page like a supernova. The best compliment any reader can give a book is to say they couldn’t put down.  It’s not easy to create a bang, which is why too many books open with a few sad sparks and no fully formed fireworks. There are some …
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Historical Fiction: 3 Tips for Leaving the Slush Pile Behind

We hear it all the time: There are no new stories! Nowhere is this sentiment more potentially accurate than with historical fiction. But is it really true? Or is this a case of needing more out-of-the box thinking? Here are three ways to re-imagine the research. Take one tip or use all three and leave …
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Casting Call: 7 Sidekick Archetypes

Nothing elevates the quintessential protagonist like the perfect sidekick. These secondary characters help showcase the protagonist’s positive and negative traits by contrasting them against the sidekick’s own traits. The bond between these two characters is often a vulnerable relationship. Our good friends always know our darkest history, the secrets we never share with outsiders. At …
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He Said, She Said: Writing Dialogue

Writing dialogue is the heart of my writing. A scene always takes shape in my mind with two or more people having a conversation. I put the dialogue to paper and then add the physical setting, background details, emotions, inner monologue and body language. It’s the only way I know how to write. As I’ve …
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Lessons From The NaNoWriMo Trenches

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) takes place every November. As most of you know, the goal is to compose a first draft of your novel, roughly 50,000 words during the 30 days. It works out to be a doable 1,667 words a day, but only if you sit down and write that chunk every day. …
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8 Ways to End a Chapter With a Cliffhanger

As I mentioned in my last post, Pace, Friend or Foe, one great way to drive a novel’s pace and keep people reading, is to end your chapters with a cliffhanger. Most people are familiar with the cliffhanger at the end of a novel (encouraging you to buy the next book in the series) or …
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