Lights Out — 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 »

What Writing Can Do For You

Why do you write? If I were to take a survey of all of you right now, I bet I’d get some similar answers. Writing gets the stories in my head out into the world. I write to express emotions. I write because I want to see my byline. I do it for the money…. Read more »

The Power of Punctuation

Punctuation can feel like a burden, something we either do correctly or not. After all, grammar guides and style books were created for a reason. But in reality, punctuation is a powerful resource to enhance our writing.  Looking in any two grammar guides for rules about punctuation usage, we’ll be sure to find conflicting advice…. Read more »

Identifying Themes in Our Poems

When people learn that I’m a poet, two questions usually come up. If someone hasn’t read my work before, they might ask, “What are your poems about?” On the other hand, if someone is familiar with my poetry or has read a particular piece, they sometimes want to know, “Why did you write that poem?”… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Ways to Find, Develop and Deepen Your Plot

After graduate school and a short period of teaching English at a small college, I moved back to New York resolved to become a novelist. My mother loaned me her crowded, unheated painting studio on 14th Street overlooking S. Kleins and I attempted to plunge into my career. I wanted to write long intricately plotted… Read more »

Case Study: From Beginning to Book Launch

One of my favorite parts of my job is when I get to share epic wins from my word nerds. Today, I’d like you to meet Constance Emmett. She’s a DIY MFA course graduate whose debut novel, Heroine of Her Own Life, begins shipping to readers this August. While I could go on and on… Read more »

Let Your Imagination Run Wild

When I first started going to therapy in 2013, my therapist took a great deal of notes on my general thoughts and behavior, just to get a sense of me as a person. One of the most important things she found was that I had a pretty wild imagination. And that wildness has played a… Read more »