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 »

The Secret Importance of Readability

The importance of readability in a novel is an exhaustive conversation, but a necessary one for writers wanting to sell books. Word processing and editing programs offer a wide variety of grade level and reading ease scales to determine who might be able to read and understand your work. Some writers analyze this closely while… Read more »

creating engaging characters

#5onFri: Five Tips for Creating Engaging Characters

We love, hate, and cry over fictional characters. They can be our best friends, first loves, and most inspiring mentors. So how can we, as writers, make sure our stories are populated by characters readers care about? It’s not enough to have so-so characters, and we definitely don’t want them to be flat or boring…. Read more »

A Deep Dive into Short Forms: Playwriting

My next few articles will act as a deep dive into specific short form works. We’ll examine a piece from each short form and look into its inner workings to find the path to success in our own short form pieces. I confess that I don’t regularly read plays. I’m not a theater maven. And… Read more »

Lights Out: James Scott Bell’s Signpost Scene #11

Hi writing warriors, and welcome back to studying and understanding James Scott Bell’s genius breakdown of a plot’s 14 signpost scenes (as discussed in his craft book Super Structure)!  If you recall from my last month’s column—featuring Signpost Scene #10, Mounting Forces—we’ve forged forward into the last act of the story. In other words, it’s… Read more »

story inspiration from Finnish Myths

Mythic Storytelling Inspiration: The Women of the Kalevala

In the article before last, I shared the tale of one of the lesser-known Irish mythic figures, Tlachtga. This time around I’m delving into my Finnish heritage for some mythic inspiration. The Kalevala is the national epic poem of Finland, compiled and edited by scholar Elias Lönnrot in its final form in 1849. Professionally, Lönnrot… Read more »

crafting a story soundtrack for writers

#5onFri: Five Tips For Crafting a Story Soundtrack

When it comes time to start on a new writing project, one of my favorite things to do is create a playlist (I call them “soundtracks”). It’s fun to imagine the music that would play in your story’s future film or television adaptation. Above all, having a soundtrack on the ready on those days you… Read more »

Writing Inspirational Romance

Attention romance writers with a desire to create the next exciting, best-selling, jump up and slap your pappy, inspirational (Inspy) romance novel. No, you don’t have to go back and reread that last sentence. Inspirational romance sells and you need to climb onto one of the fastest growing subgenres with a breakout novel or can’t-put-it-down… Read more »