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You Win This Round Comma

Why sweat the commas? To save your reader from working to decode syntax-level meaning, enabling full focus on your protagonist, your plot, and your prose.

how to write a novel synopsis

How to Write a Novel Synopsis

Learn how to craft a strong novel synopsis, while avoiding the most common mistakes, including the dreaded “synopsis speak.”

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The 3 Ms of Character Setup

For first impressions to occur as quickly on the page as in person, try this basic foundation to help readers achieve familiarity with your characters.

A Good Memoir Is an Act of Service

The human condition in its alienation, pain, and joy yearns for a faithful scribe. Memoir offers readers that ultimate safe harbor: the knowledge that they are not alone.

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How to Write a Killer Villain

Just like your hero, your villain should be fully three-dimensional: fallible, flawed, and complete with a backstory that explains being so downright nasty.

The Complete Guide to Query Letters

The query letter has one purpose, and one purpose only: to seduce the agent or editor into reading or requesting your work. The query letter is so much of a sales piece that it’s quite possible to write one without having written a word of the manuscript. All it requires is a firm grasp of your story premise.

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7 Common Mistakes in First-Time Memoir

Readers come to a memoir in hopes it will shed light on their own life experiences. Stay on the right track by focusing on what makes your story unique and engaging.

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The Big Memoir Pitfall to Avoid

Perspective—gained from time and distance—can make the difference between an airing of grievances and a memoir that expresses deeper, universal truths.

four narrative elements

4 Elements of Narrative That Anyone Can Learn

Narrative is a form that can be learned, like a dance move or a golf swing. Alan Gelb breaks down narrative into four elements: The Once, The Ordinary vs. the Extraordinary, Conflict and Tension, and The Point.

value for readers

How to Bring Value to Your Readers

Value is subjective, but readers like all consumers seek it. In this guest post, author Paulette Perhach explains how writers whose work earns income match their own sense of value to what their readers value.

winning essay contests

How I Won My Third Essay Contest

Writing an essay that wins a contest is not an easy task, but it’s not impossible either. Tammy Delatorre explains the writing and revision process that has led to multiple contest wins.

How to Write a Page Turner

8 Mundane Elements You Should Cut From Your Story

Realism has its role, but don’t let it bog down your novel. The right balance of brevity, helpful details, and smooth flow preserves the story’s dramatic tension and keeps the pages turning. In this guest post, bestselling author Jordan Rosenfeld outlines the pitfalls that can bore your reader, and how to avoid them.