#5OnFri: Five Ways to Distill and Heighten Your Writing

What’s the trick to great writing? Making all of it great. Take out slow, confusing or tangential parts. Better, don’t even pen them in the first place. Learn to distinguish. All your words should gleam and hang together, like so many parts make a classic car or a Ferrari. All writers are told to cut… Read more »

The Endless Subgenres and Varieties of Romance

Saying, “I write romance” to a romance connoisseur isn’t enough. The next questions is: what kind? There are different age categories, subgenres, heat levels, and tropes. Before you can write romance you have to know the ins and outs of the genre to learn where your book will fit in the market. Knowing how to… Read more »

#5OnFri: 5 Reasons Writers Should Try Writing Fanfiction

Hey, you, writer. Do you have a ‘dirty little secret’? Is there an extra reason why you don’t let anyone read your old stuff? I bet you’ve written fanfiction. I’m here to tell you not to be ashamed of your archives. Fanfiction can be a serious tool for writers looking to learn, grow, and find… Read more »

How to Use Your Dreams to Inspire Your Fiction

How many times have you heard an author say that the idea for a story or novel came to them in a dream? Has that left you feeling a little envious? I’ve mentioned in a previous post that I’ve always been a dreamer and while there are creative types who share the gift (or curse—I… Read more »

Three Ways to Balance Writing and Exercise

There are many fringe benefits that come with being a writer. Coffee, for instance: no one ever judges a writer for refilling her coffee mug, or for possessing large quantities of pens and notebooks, or going on a book-buying spree for “research” purposes. But there’s one big negative that can affect our health, happiness and… Read more »

Seven Steps to Honoring Your Reality

If you frequently visit DIY MFA, then you’re likely serious about your writing. You probably also have a day job, a family, and other day-to-day responsibilities that compete with your creative pursuits. Yet both sides of a writer’s life – the creative and the real – can’t be ignored. Each deserves time, respect, and attention,… Read more »

When is a Story a Romantic Suspense?

I was sure my first novel was a romantic suspense. At least I thought I had structured it that way. The story has danger, mystery, and an escalating romance between two people, who, under any other circumstances, would unlikely get togeter. Eager to see how readers would receive the initial draft, I entered my story… Read more »

Pop Quiz: Are You an Aspiring Writer?

Dear word nerd, If you answered “Yes” to the question in the title, then you got it wrong. The fabulous Kristen Lamb—author, blogger, and friend—often gives this pop quiz at conferences. She’ll tell the audience: “Raise your hand if you’re an aspiring writer.” Some people wave wildly like the writing version of Hermione Granger. A… Read more »