Image: a girl in her early teens sits writing at a table.

10 Ways to Nurture a Young Writer

What do you do when a teen in your life is a diehard writer? When they won’t clean their room and just want to write stories or poems all day?
Image: close-up photo of a woman's athletic shoes as she walks on a treadmill.

3 Ways Writers Block Their Success (While Thinking They’re Hard at Work)

Working hard isn’t necessarily a virtue if it masks the ways that we might be sabotaging our own paths to success and fulfillment.
Image: an artwork comprised of many rows of three-dimensional characters from numerous languages mounted next to one another in random order on a backing board.

When Your Characters Speak a Language Other Than English

No matter what language our characters are speaking, writers should strive to express dialogue and inner thoughts in a naturalistic way.
Image: Self-portrait (2017) by Chuck Close, in which the artist's face is rendered in colorful, richly-patterned mosaic tile which makes the portrait's subject difficult to discern unless viewed from a distance.

How to Develop a Complex Protagonist

With these four elements you’ll be able to create a more compelling protagonist and, as a result, a more interesting story.
Image: Sculpture of Samantha Smith with Peace Dove, located on the State Capitol's grounds, Augusta, Maine.

Are You Sure You Don’t Have an Author Platform?

An amateur historian finds that her passion has led to enough expertise and authority for her book proposal to be taken seriously.
Image: An author smiles at an audience member as he prepares to autograph a book at an in-store book signing.

The Right Way to Ask a Published Writer for Publishing Advice

Here are some tips on what to do before approaching a published writer with questions about how to get your book published.
Image: on a red tabletop are two cinnamon rolls side by side, each topped with white icing and a sliced maraschino cherry, suggestively resembling a pair of breasts.

When Your Publisher Gets the Cover Wrong—Very Wrong

If your publisher’s suggested cover design feels wrong, put your foot down when necessary but also listen—really listen—to the professionals.
Image: two women in business-casual attire hold a conversation while enjoying wine and cheese in a room with elegant modern decor.

How to Write Nonfiction When You’re Not an “Expert”

Worried you’re not enough of an expert to write your book? That’s OK. You don’t need to be the annoying expert who knows it all. There’s another—far more effective—approach you can take when talking to readers.
Image: on a playing field, a red kickball hurls toward someone who's poised to kick it.

The Fascinating Neuroscience of Scene

According to neuroscience, scenes make the reader feel as if they are actually in the world of the story. And that makes scene the most memorable way to share information with the reader.
Image: in a set of children's multi-colored toy blocks, a blue wooden cube is unable to fit into a round hole.

Writer’s Block? Maybe You’re Writing in the Wrong Format

If your writing project has hit a wall, consider whether it really wants to be a different form than the one you’re trying to shape it into.
Image: a colorful pair of wings are painted on a cinderblock wall. Seeming to float midair in front of the wings as if they belong to her, a woman sits crosslegged.

The How, When and Why of Writing Autofiction

In this nexus of fact and fiction, writers can mine, select and transform their real life journeys, turning points and discoveries into story.
Image: a man wearing business attire holds forth a business card printed with just the word "Writer."

Why Beta Readers Lead You to Getting Paid for Your Writing

Building up courage to own your identity as a writer starts when you realize you need to ask someone for an objective opinion on your work.
Image: from a worm's eye view, a couple wearing dark hoodies are seen sitting at the edge of a brick sea wall, turned to face the open ocean, under a heavily-clouded sky at early evening.

Create Effective Dialogue by Asking the Right Questions

Asking yourself the right questions about why, when, how, and how much your characters speak will help you craft more powerful dialogue.
Image: on a table top, a miniature trophy of a gold star sits in front of other miniature cup-shaped trophies.

Are You Giving Yourself Writing Credit?

One of the hard parts of working on a book is that day-to-day progress isn’t readily visible. Give yourself credit for all the small achievements.
Image: a multi-colored neon sign artwork in which the words "human, desire, hope, dream, need" are arranged like spokes on a wheel.

How to Differentiate Between Desire and Desperation in Pursuit of Publication

Submitting work shouldn’t be an act of desperation, and not every publishing deal aligns with your goals for your book—your “why”.
Alone on a deserted road, a woman leans against the front of her car while examining a road map.

A Framework for Moving Beyond Your First Draft

Finished a first draft and unsure where to go next? Here’s a 5-point checklist of what the second draft revision process should accomplish.
Image: an antique timer with the dial set to the 5 mark.

Banish Writer’s Block in 5 Minutes Flat

With a regular five-minute meditation you’ll become a master of focus, able to dismiss distractions before they even fully form as thoughts.
A woman with closely-cropped hair uses her hands to hide her face from the viewer.

5 Reasons to Write Your “Taboo” Stories

When we lean into stigmatized topics, we invite readers to wrestle with the same complexities we’re examining in ourselves.
Amid stacks of century-old photos in a display box can be seen one of a bearded man in a military uniform and one of a besuited teenage boy in a domestic living room.

What Memoirists Can Learn from Historical Novelists

Writers of both genres have to make decisions that somehow mold real people and events into a story with a shape, an arc, and meaning.
A Native American man wearing street clothes sits astride a horse atop a bluff overlooking the landscape of Oljato Monument Valley in Arizona. On a road below, two vans and a car drive along a winding road.

Writing About Native Americans: 7 Questions Answered

A Choctaw author offers tips on researching and connecting with First Americans in order to write respectfully and without stereotypes.
Close-up photo of a fly, with sharp focus on the eyes.

Picking a Point of View for Your Story

Consider the benefits and limitations of each POV, along with the feel each might lend to your story and how well it fits the tone, tenor, and genre.
How to Write a Hybrid Memoir

How to Write a Hybrid Memoir

Bridging the gap between research and personal experience can become a book’s greatest strength—but it might require Herculean effort.
Words from a magnetic poetry set are jumbled on a white background.

How to Survive Editing

Having a gut-punch reaction to being edited is part of the cost of doing business for writers. Here’s advice on how to survive the process.
From underwater a lone hand emerges, holding a sparkler.

How Bad Publishers Hurt Authors

When her indie publisher goes AWOL, an author finds the community and resources she needs to pick up the pieces and persevere.
A woman's hands are clasped just below her neck, as if taken aback.

How to Get Emotion on the Page: 2 Most Critical Tactics

To truly put your reader in the emotional position of your POV character, focus on conveying body language and internal narration.
The phrase "Thank you!" typed three times on a typewriter.

Always Read the Acknowledgments Page

Acknowledgment pages allow us to peer into authors’ lives, and reveal the fascinating web of the publishing world.
A boy stands with his back against a wall while his parents argue in the next room.

How to Minimize Hurt Feelings When Writing Your Memoir

Memoirists can take steps throughout the writing and publishing process to minimize fallout and family strife.
Image: Pink, orange, green and yellow sticky-notes are arranged in a grid on a white wall.

Create a Book Map for Your Nonfiction Book

A book map—a visual representation of your book’s structure—will help you maintain momentum and ensure a smooth journey for your reader.
Image: the word "Danger!" spelled out in a large pile of salt spilled on a tabletop.

Backstory Is Essential to Story—Except When It’s Not

Focus on the main story’s forward momentum, and use backstory as the seasoning that makes the stew.
Image: as part of an obstacle course, automobile tires are tied together with rope and mounted in a tall metal frame that looms against a blue sky.

The Biggest Mistake Even Expert Writers Make

Your audience won’t remember the chapter where your hero took a breather. What’s memorable are the forces of antagonism, and how your hero reacted.
Image: yellow notepad paper is arranged on a green background to represent the shape of a cartoon speech bubble, with three crumpled wads of yellow paper aligned like an ellipsis in the center.

3 Critical Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Draft (or Revise!) a Novel

Before spending time on a story that doesn’t work, ensure you’ve addressed the critical questions of character, plot, goals and motivations.
Image: dozens of arrows with different styles of colorful fletching stand vertically, in front of archery targets.

What I Learned From 90 Queries

Even with an excellent query and opening pages, you’ll still get rejections. A lot of them. Success comes to those who refuse to give up.
Image: a woman's hand hovers above a row of standing dominoes.

How Writing Your Synopsis Can Fix Your Book

More than just a tool to sell your book, your synopsis is a roadmap to making the next draft of your manuscript much stronger.
Image: a person stands on a rotting wooden plank of a derelict footbridge. Between planks are large gaps through which water is visible. On one plank are painted the words "Take life one step at a time."

Build Your Writing Self-Efficacy

Here are four ways to help create the mindset that we can realistically accomplish something we’ve never tried before.
Image: an antique wooden signpost on a white background. Painted on the sign is "Welcome to [blank]".

An Argument for Setting Aside Arc in Story Development

It might not be essential to impose a standard arc structure on a character who’s non-traditional or isn’t affected by the story’s actions.
Image: a miniature of Rodin's The Thinker, painted gold, sits against a white background.

The Necessity & Power of Sitting With Your Critiques

We writers know that critiques are an integral part of improving our work. But we rarely learn how to receive feedback or what to do after.
Image: a house made of precariously-stacked playing cards on a wooden table.

Michael Lewis (Once Again) Tells the Biggest Story in Finance

Central to most of Michael Lewis’ works are larger-than-life characters who find themselves at the center of major industry or societal shifts.
Image: In the background, a woman sleeps on an office couch. On a desk in the foreground are an alarm clock and an open laptop computer with the word RESTART on the screen.

How to Get Back to Writing

When completing a readable draft left one author exhausted and overwhelmed, these three steps helped him start writing again.
Image: at the center of a pile of yellow smiley-faced orbs is a red one with a winking face.

You Don’t Need a Platform If You Can Find an Audience

If your subject already has a large existing fandom, how can you quantify that audience, using the data to impress agents, publishers, and editors?
Image: a cascade of blank Post-It notes are stuck to a desk near a keyboard and marker.

How to Use a Long-Form Synopsis to Plan Your Novel

Whether you’re a planner or a pantser, this brainstorming document can take your story to places it might not have gone otherwise.
Image: the doorway of a decrepit building is piled with bricks, preventing entrance. Above the doorway is a large sign saying "Welcome."

Why Prologues Get a Bad Rap

A prologue can open the door to your story and entice the reader in, or throw up a barrier that delays or prevents their engagement.
Image: at a comicon, a Darth Vader cosplayer points a lightsaber at the viewer while two Stormtroopers stand behind.

Write a Sympathetic Villain Your Readers Will Love to Hate

A great villain character should have complex motivations and be able to evoke sympathy from readers.
Image: an egg-shaped kitchen timer, set to four minutes, sits on a table.

How to Free Yourself from Endless Revision

The writers who get their books into the world are those who find a middle ground between refining their work and endlessly tinkering.
Image: a white porcelain head painted with black lines indicating which areas of the brain control cognitive functions.

3 Key Strategies for Effective Fiction—Derived from Neuroscience

Science says these three techniques can draw your readers in, keep them engaged, and provide them with a compelling experience.
Image: behind a fence, the back of the Hollywood Sign looms over the valley below.

A Primer on TV & Film Adaptation for Writers (Where the Rules Change Often)

If your agent or publisher wants to pitch your book to Hollywood, they need to know the rules—or at least, the rules of the day.
Image: the hands of a young woman solving a Pyraminx, a pyramid-shaped Rubik's Cube-style puzzle.

How to Write Your First Paragraph

You can mine the first paragraphs of well-written novels for four critical components that keep readers hooked.
Image: someone hold a book open on bedclothes in a darkened room. On the open pages of the book is a jumble of tiny illuminated L.E.D. lights.

The Secret Sauce to Being a Good Writer

What makes a good writer? Relentless internal drive, a thick skin for editorial feedback, and reading voraciously across many genres.
Image: a neon sign reading "Less Is More" is mounted on a roughly-finished wall.

20 Reasons Why Everybody Should Write Short Stories

From appealing to short attention spans to offering no-fuss ways to play in another sandbox, short story writing has many benefits.
Image: exterior brick wall of an abandoned factory, on which is painted a mural reading "Together, We Create!"

What You Should Know About Writing a Co-Authored Book

Writing a book with multiple authors requires trust, vulnerability and patience. But done right, group writing has some surprising benefits.
Image: a mannequin's arm, with the hand separated from it, rests on a table.

Writing Through the Impossible

When we’re dealt life-altering circumstances, how do we stay true to creative ambitions while finding a whole new way of existing?