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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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How to Write Your First Paragraph

You can mine the first paragraphs of well-written novels for four critical components that keep readers hooked.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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?
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Using Weather to Convey Mood in Fiction

Your writing might soar to new heights when you make weather—and the words describing it—an important element in your characters’ lives.
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Why It’s Better to Write About Money, Not for Money

Along with sex and death, money is a topic with evergreen appeal. So when you write about money, you put the odds of a breakout on your side.
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You Have a Great Idea for a Story. Where Do You Start?

Some writers struggle with ever getting one word of their Great Idea down on the page, for fear of crafting an imperfect beginning.
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Motivation Doesn’t Finish Books

Some writers can finish a book all by themselves, but even more of them have support systems, deadlines, teachers, exercises, instructions and help.
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Write Small for a Bigger Impact

To write something that connects on a universal level, concentrate on specifics. Small truths are easier for readers to identify with.
Elise McHugh & Stephen Hull of UNM Press

When Is It Smart to Submit Your Work to a University Press? (You’d Be Surprised!)

When a Vermont author’s book was accepted by a New Mexico university press, she decided to ask its editors about the acquisitions process.
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Why Plots Fail

An elaborately structured plot, without clearly-defined character goals and motivations, is like mapping a trip and calling it a vacation.
To Nail Your Book Proposal: Think in Synergies, Not Sections

To Nail Your Book Proposal: Think in Synergies, Not Sections

A successful nonfiction book proposal addresses market demand and cements the writer’s authority throughout the entire document.
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Transforming Coal Into Diamonds: Telling Painful True Stories Through Fiction

Shifting from memoir to fiction allows painful memories to be expressed, while sharing the hard-won wisdom we’ve gained through experience.
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The Art and Purpose of Subtext

Subtext, the real conversation hidden by surface talk, can deepen the story with unpredictable outcomes and emotion.
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3 Ways That Writerly Grit Leads to Publishing Success

It takes grit to seek and implement qualified feedback, and to keep finding ways to improve a manuscript even after you’ve given it your all.
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How to Get Published in Modern Love, McSweeney’s or Anywhere Else You Want

If you’d like to see your work in national publications—and get paid—tailor your essay to smoothly fit their voice and mission.
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Persistence Pays the Weary Writer

A half-hour’s writing might yield only 500, 300, even a mere 100 words. But a half-hour’s writing over 7 or 8 months: a book’s worth of words.
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Want to Build Tension? Encourage the Reader to Ask Questions

Anticipation—“Will it happen or won’t it?”—keeps readers on edge, and we can make use of their need to know by building scenes that cater to it.
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Grow Your Writing Business by Stepping Away From Your Computer

Why one freelancer believes that spending too much time at a computer holds writers back from producing their best work.
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Don’t Fall for These 5 Writing Myths That Can Set Back Your Writing

As writers, we often cling to certain myths that suck up emotional energy and reinforce practices that undermine the creative process.
Get in Front of Readers’ Doubts and Objections

Get in Front of Readers’ Doubts and Objections

When writing a prescriptive nonfiction book, anticipating doubts and objections lets your readers feel seen and keeps them on the page.
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How Suspense and Tension Work Together to Increase Story Impact

Skillful authors weave suspense and tension to draw readers through stories on a taut thread of unanswered questions and constant frictions.
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7 Questions to Reboot a Nonfiction Book You’ve Been Writing Forever

Focusing on your “just right” reader—instead of trying to convey everything that every reader might need to know—can help combat overwhelm.
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Moving Between Scenes with Summary and Spacers

What’s between scenes is like mortar—necessary for your story’s structure, but not significant—and well handled using summary and spacers.
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Good Scenes Require Specifics

A little preparation—noting environmental details, character moods and motivations—will make a big difference in the way your scenes unfold.
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The Secret Side Careers of Successful Authors

Many successful authors maintain side writing careers, in less glamorous forms such as grant writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting.
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The Building Blocks of Scene

“Making a scene” in public often happens spontaneously, but creating emotionally compelling scenes on paper requires considerable planning.
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3 Things I’ve Learned About Storytelling (and Life) from Performing Narrative Nonfiction

One author’s tips for performing your stories in front of a live audience.
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7 Questions to Design a Better Arc of Change for Your Protagonist

Your novel’s external and internal parts must be intricately woven together to create a work that truly resonates with readers.
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Improve Your Own Storytelling by Analyzing Other People’s

One of the best ways an author can learn their own storytelling craft lies in what we already avidly do: take in other creators’ stories.
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How (and How Not!) to Write Queer Characters: A Primer

Tips for avoiding stereotypes and tokenism, and presenting more interesting, complex, three-dimensional queer characters.