Recent Blog Posts

Writing

Make Your Characters Work for It 

  Fiction at its essence is people in conflict. Our hero has a goal and something or someone is trying to prevent her from getting it. To write really meaningful fiction, regardless of genre, means making our characters work to get through the conflict and achieve that goal. We can’t …

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What Is a Beta Reader?

  In a recent blog on rewriting, I mentioned sending the completed second draft to my beta readers: Into the Pits of Rewriting. Some authors call them first readers. These are people who read the completed manuscript and give you honest feedback. They are not editors or critiquers—they are READERS. Their purpose …

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Into the Pits of Rewriting

On March 27, I typed The End on my latest manuscript. That’s one of my favorite parts of writing. Until the next day when I realize I have to rewrite it. I know of very few writers who can consistently complete a novel in one draft. One thing I’ve learned …

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The Devil Went Down to Georgia

This blog was originally posted by Steven James in Writer Unboxed. Reposted with permission. This blog so touched my writer’s heart I want to share it with all my readers. Twelve years ago I decided to sell out. I landed on an idea that I felt would be a financially …

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Researching a Novel

Doing research on a novel is one of the most crucial aspects of creating a winning story. If we don’t get our information right, we damage, if not destroy, our credibility. For pantsers like myself, research can be a huge interrupter of the process if not handled right. When I …

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5 Questions to Telling a Story

There are 5 questions to telling a story. Applying them to fiction will help us write amazing stories. I first heard them in college as they applied to journalism. The 5 questions or signposts or guides to writing great stories are: Who? Where? When? What? Why? WHO? These are our …

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6 Steps for Dealing with Writer’s Block

If we hang around writers very long we’ll hear the phrase, “Writer’s Block.” If you’re a writer, you’ve probably experienced it in one form or another. The late Terry Pratchett is quoted as saying, “There’s no such thing as writer’s block. That was invented by people in California who couldn’t …

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What Makes a Good Villain?

Creating a good villain really means to create a character who is nuanced and complex. Our villains can’t be black and white, two-dimensional stick figures. In my writing, I’ve discovered a couple of keys to making a good villain. One, they must have goals. Think of Michael Corleone in the …

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Why Is This Character in the Book?

This is a question I ask myself quite often. As a pantser, I tend to introduce characters as I write along in the story. Sometimes they ‘re minor characters who are only in for one scene to provide info, add some comic relief, or increase tension and conflict. Or a …

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Building Exciting Characters

One comment I hear frequently from readers is how much they like my characters, especially my secondary characters. I’m often asked how I find them and develop them or what techniques do I use to create them. In my first Riverbend novel, Journey to Riverbend, readers expressed a genuine liking …

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