Bad Beginnings: Five Story Openers to Avoid

It’s common knowledge that the beginning of a novel is crucial to gaining the reader’s interest and this is especially true in manuscript submissions. If the acquiring editor is hooked, they’ll want to read more and it could lead to a contract. Alternately, if the story fails to grab them, they’ll likely reject the book…. Read more »

#5OnFri: Five Ways to Make Writing Prompts Work For You

Writing prompts can be a powerful tool to jumpstart our writing, but they can also feel like a waste of time…if we don’t approach them with purpose. Here are five ways you can make writing prompts work for you, whether you are blocked, are in the middle of a work-in-progress or simply want to write… Read more »

Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 9 – The Midpoint

We’ve covered two plot points so far in Developing Themes In Your Stories: the inciting incident, which thrusts the protagonist into a story’s external conflict; and the Act I choice, where the protagonist takes the first step to achieving his goal. Now he’s in the thick of that goal pursuit, but not everything has been… Read more »

#5Onfri: Five Sources of Writer Inspiration

Beginning with a parachute drop in the night skies of 1980’s Afghanistan and ending in the recent Paris terrorist attacks, Assassins is a contemporary historical novel of last thirty years of conflict between Islam and the West. Based largely on my own experiences and those of others I know, Assassins lives this unending war through… Read more »

The Merits of Happily Ever After

If you ask any romance reader what they love most about their genre, most will say it’s the happily ever after (or HEA, as it’s lovingly referred to). It’s the defining characteristic of what makes a romance a romance. It’s the number one requirement for romances novels entered in Romance Writer of America writing contests:… Read more »

#5OnFri: 5 Ways Writers Can Benefit from Aromatherapy

The writing life is a constant rollercoaster of ups and downs. One day you’re struck with inspiration and don’t dare to pry your hands away from the keyboard even if the house is on fire. Other days, you doubt every single word you wrote the day before. Whether it’s the inspiration to create, the confidence… Read more »

Why I Write Speculative Fiction

Web Editor’s Note: Today begins our new Tuesday genre columns. Please join me in welcoming Melanie Marttila to the DIY MFA team! Her column, Speculations, will focus on all things speculative fiction. To learn more about Melanie and the other new members of the DIY MFA team, check out this post right here. When Gabriela… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Productivity Hacks for Writers

I’m a self-described builder, a maker of things. I’ve been working on a tool to help my writing, it’s a notebook fused with workbook combined with productivity hack. I call it INDITE and it’s currently funding on Indiegogo. I’d love it if you could check it out right here. While working on this special writers… Read more »

Man and the Natural World: A Case Study on Literary Themes

Calling nature a “force to be reckoned with” might be an understatement. Between the seasons, myriad landmarks, and extreme weather events, it can wreak havoc with our lives on one day, then let its beauty take our breath away on the next. Plus, remember how often we read or hear news about survivors of floods,… Read more »