The Q Factor – Signpost Scene #12

Signpost Scene #12, the Q Factor, in James Scott Bell’s Super Structure is not one to forget. Though simple in concept, understanding it will determine the difference between a convenient ending and one readers will talk about for years.  This is how it’s done.  The Q Factor Tagged the “Q Factor” in James Scott Bell’s… Read more »

Creating a Dynamic Romantic Hero

There are many Super-Authors among us who have received a RITA award presented by the Romance Writers of America (RWA) for an outstanding novel or novella. What is the secret that takes a romance writer and turns her into a Super-Author? What triggered her Aha! moment, so that from that second on, she knew her… Read more »

wind-up

#5onFri: Five Easy Steps to Create a Writing Wind-Up

A big challenge I’ve had as a newbie writer has been figuring out how to get myself into the proverbial “writing chair.” I’ve had days, weeks, and even months when I’ve felt the world was conspiring to keep me from writing. But it wasn’t the world; it was me. I hit many walls early on… Read more »

The Power of Writing a Book Proposal for Yourself

The first time I heard memoir teacher Marion Roach Smith say, “Memoir is not about you,” I thought, Wait … what? Of course my memoir is about me! This probably won’t be a shocker: Marion was right and I was wrong. She goes on to teach us, in her evergreen book, The Memoir Project: A… Read more »

The Difference Between Topic and Theme

“How is topic different from theme?” This question bubbled up while I was working on my previous Theme: A Story’s Soul post. Even though I briefly explained the difference between those two terms in that article, I realized the question deserved greater exploration. Then, as I began researching this subject (no pun intended!), I discovered… Read more »

hollywood

#5onFri: Five Things I Learned Writing for Hollywood

I started my writing career as a news producer at MSNBC but decided to throw away a perfectly good career in journalism for a shot at Hollywood glory. After moving to L.A., I got my foot in the door by working on a bunch of network TV dramas as the Writers’ Assistant. So I picked… Read more »

before

#5onFri: Five Steps to Take Before You Begin Writing

I used to think writing only counted as writing if I had a document open and was adding to the official word count. But over the last few years, my writing process has deepened to include the important creative work that happens before I ever open a document. I like to think it has enriched… Read more »

historical fiction maps

Historical Settings: Finding Clues in Maps

My last column addressed how we writers of historical fiction see a modern setting and then imagine our way backward to how it might have looked at the time of our story and what events might have happened in that place. Now let’s focus on the place itself. There’s no substitute for actually visiting the… Read more »