A Case Study on Family as a Literary Theme

No one can argue the importance of family. Whether loving or trying, our relationships with parents, children, and siblings – or the lack of such relationships – can have a huge impact on our lives. The same goes for literary characters. Their beliefs about family can be challenged, reshaped, or reaffirmed as a result of… Read more »

Creating an Author Bio With Flash Fiction

As we have explored this year, flash fiction is more than a very short story. It is an excellent, skill-building practice. It can be used for various projects and applied to limitless assignments. One of the things everyone needs, especially writers, is an bio. When we submit work to magazines, enter contests, speak at events,… Read more »

5onFri: 5 Lessons Learned at Clarion 2015

This summer, I had the most fantabulous time at the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, doing what I love to do best—writing science fiction and fantasy. 6 weeks. 6 award-winning instructors. Critiquing 4 stories every night and writing a story every week. What did I learn from these 6 most intense weeks ever? I’m going to sneak some of these writing… Read more »

Writing for Kids: The Low-Down on Lexile Levels

Some people imagine writing for kids and immediately picture Dr. Suess or baby board books. But the good news is you don’t have to use simple words to write for elementary kids if that’s not your style.  Go ahead and use rich, succulent vocabulary and varied sentence structure—please! There are plenty of kids who are… Read more »

ThrillerFest: Bestselling Authors Talk Character Development

Character development was widely (if unsurprisingly) regarded as one of the foundational pillars of writing a good story among the many top-selling authors present at this year’s ThrillerFest. In fact, “character” was the first of Steve Berry’s “6 C’s of Story Structure.” As Dale Brown said, “What is character? The motivations that drive the story …… Read more »

Developing Themes In Your Stories: Part 4 – Dialogue

So far in Developing Themes In Your Stories, we’ve covered character arcs, the story premise, and external conflict, which are all important building blocks for stories. Dialogue, however, is more of an interior design element. It adds color and life to a story and aids in the overall delivery. It’s also an excellent method for… Read more »

#5OnFri: 5 Suggestions for Becoming an Excellent Writer

The blogosphere is full of advice for writers about self-promotion, building online relationships, self-branding, creating a platform, and more. But the truth is, if you ask most agents and editors what they’d most like to see from a new writer, the answer is almost always, “Great writing.” With that in mind, here are five ways to pursue excellence. 1…. Read more »

ThrillerFest: The Writer’s Life

Over the course of this year’s ThrillerFest, the highs and lows of the writer’s life—both as a craft and as a business—were discussed at length. In one-on-one interviews with genre titans Mark Billingham, Charlaine Harris, and Thrillermaster Nelson DeMille, as well as in a number of breakout panels, many of the participating authors shared about… Read more »

Writing Full Time: When Writing Is Your Life

Writing full time. Every writer’s fantasy, right? It’s our ultimate goal, isn’t it? Selling enough books to quit the day job. I’ve been testing the theory over the last four weeks on an extended break from my day job, and I have to confess, I’m not sure if it’s my ultimate fantasy anymore. I know…. Read more »