#5onFri: Five Tips For Building Tension Into Your Scenes

One of the key elements to be mindful of when crafting a scene is tension. Think of the scene like a stew. Your characters, plotlines, and conflict make up the “meat and potatoes”, but tension is that little extra spice that brings your scene to life. It’s the line that runs directly from your story… Read more »

How to Make the Most of a Critique

When it comes to receiving critique, I’ve found that the more you put into the process, the more you get out of it. Here are some tips to help you make the most of a critique before, during and after the process. Before You Submit: Proofread and eliminate typos. If your submission is as tight… Read more »

How to Use Small Forms as Steps to a Novel

November is a difficult month for me. My struggle has nothing to do with visiting relatives, cleaning sprees or the holidays, though. It’s the whole novel writing thing. NaNoWriMo.  (If somehow you’ve missed what NaNoWriMo is, listen to this podcast, Episode 169: Boost Your Creative Mojo with Grant Faulkner.) Beginning each October, the NaNo fever… Read more »

Who Am I?: Identity as a Theme in YA Literature

“Who am I?” “Where do I fit in?” “Will other people accept me?” If these questions sound familiar, it might be because they’re part of being a teenager. Even adults can remember how challenging this period in our lives was, between school, friendships, dating, family, the pressures of responsibility, and an increasing craving for respect… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Reasons to Write Short Fiction

Many writers picture their name on the cover of a book and march toward that goal in a straight line, not stopping to enjoy other great opportunities to get published along the way. If that sounds like you, you might be missing out on some very rewarding writing time. Writing a short piece of fiction… Read more »

Improve Your Writing By Thinking Like a Copywriter

Have you ever read the side of a Chipotle cup while you eat your burrito? Browsed a company’s home page? Ever chuckled at an online recap of your favorite TV show? What about the little descriptions next to clothes in magazines? Then guess what — you’ve read something created by a copywriter. Copywriters write a… Read more »

Three Ways to Show Instead of Tell

How many times have you heard an editor or agent tell you to show more in your writing? It’s okay if you’re answer is “A lot.” This was the number one comment I received during my first writing class. Heck, I heard it in my next two or three writing classes, which got me thinking:… Read more »

#5onFri: 5 Ways To Find Your Voice

So, you’ve sent you manuscript to an agent, or an editor, and now you wait. Will they like it? Will they take you on as a client, or publish your work? What makes them decide? Is it the unique premise or clever plot? Maybe the colorful characters? Or the snappy dialog and wonderfully rendered setting?… Read more »

Using the Nine Enneagram Types to Build Dynamic Characters

Think of your favorite fictional characters. Chances are they have a personality you can recognize and motivations you can relate to. Drawing on personality systems can help you craft characters who are dynamic and believable enough to live beyond the page. In this post, I’ll introduce the nine personality types of the Enneagram, an insightful… Read more »