A book map—a visual representation of your book’s structure—will help you maintain momentum and ensure a smooth journey for your reader.
Focus on the main story’s forward momentum, and use backstory as the seasoning that makes the stew.
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.
Before spending time on a story that doesn’t work, ensure you’ve addressed the critical questions of character, plot, goals and motivations.
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.
More than just a tool to sell your book, your synopsis is a roadmap to making the next draft of your manuscript much stronger.
Here are four ways to help create the mindset that we can realistically accomplish something we’ve never tried before.
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.
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.
Central to most of Michael Lewis’ works are larger-than-life characters who find themselves at the center of major industry or societal shifts.
When completing a readable draft left one author exhausted and overwhelmed, these three steps helped him start writing again.
If your subject already has a large existing fandom, how can you quantify that audience, using the data to impress agents, publishers, and editors?
Whether you’re a planner or a pantser, this brainstorming document can take your story to places it might not have gone otherwise.
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.
A great villain character should have complex motivations and be able to evoke sympathy from readers.
The writers who get their books into the world are those who find a middle ground between refining their work and endlessly tinkering.
Science says these three techniques can draw your readers in, keep them engaged, and provide them with a compelling experience.
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.
You can mine the first paragraphs of well-written novels for four critical components that keep readers hooked.
What makes a good writer? Relentless internal drive, a thick skin for editorial feedback, and reading voraciously across many genres.
From appealing to short attention spans to offering no-fuss ways to play in another sandbox, short story writing has many benefits.
Writing a book with multiple authors requires trust, vulnerability and patience. But done right, group writing has some surprising benefits.
When we’re dealt life-altering circumstances, how do we stay true to creative ambitions while finding a whole new way of existing?
Your writing might soar to new heights when you make weather—and the words describing it—an important element in your characters’ lives.
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.
Some writers struggle with ever getting one word of their Great Idea down on the page, for fear of crafting an imperfect beginning.
Some writers can finish a book all by themselves, but even more of them have support systems, deadlines, teachers, exercises, instructions and help.
To write something that connects on a universal level, concentrate on specifics. Small truths are easier for readers to identify with.
When a Vermont author’s book was accepted by a New Mexico university press, she decided to ask its editors about the acquisitions process.
An elaborately structured plot, without clearly-defined character goals and motivations, is like mapping a trip and calling it a vacation.
A successful nonfiction book proposal addresses market demand and cements the writer’s authority throughout the entire document.
Shifting from memoir to fiction allows painful memories to be expressed, while sharing the hard-won wisdom we’ve gained through experience.
Subtext, the real conversation hidden by surface talk, can deepen the story with unpredictable outcomes and emotion.
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.
If you’d like to see your work in national publications—and get paid—tailor your essay to smoothly fit their voice and mission.
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.
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.
Why one freelancer believes that spending too much time at a computer holds writers back from producing their best work.
As writers, we often cling to certain myths that suck up emotional energy and reinforce practices that undermine the creative process.
When writing a prescriptive nonfiction book, anticipating doubts and objections lets your readers feel seen and keeps them on the page.
Skillful authors weave suspense and tension to draw readers through stories on a taut thread of unanswered questions and constant frictions.
Focusing on your “just right” reader—instead of trying to convey everything that every reader might need to know—can help combat overwhelm.
What’s between scenes is like mortar—necessary for your story’s structure, but not significant—and well handled using summary and spacers.
A little preparation—noting environmental details, character moods and motivations—will make a big difference in the way your scenes unfold.
Many successful authors maintain side writing careers, in less glamorous forms such as grant writing, copywriting, and ghostwriting.
“Making a scene” in public often happens spontaneously, but creating emotionally compelling scenes on paper requires considerable planning.
One author’s tips for performing your stories in front of a live audience.
Your novel’s external and internal parts must be intricately woven together to create a work that truly resonates with readers.
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.
Tips for avoiding stereotypes and tokenism, and presenting more interesting, complex, three-dimensional queer characters.