No pressure, but the opening of your book is the gatekeeper in determining whether your novel will sell. If your opening is weak, it won’t matter if chapter two is a masterpiece. Editors and agents and booksellers and librarians and readers will stop reading before they get there.
All three paths to producing emotional responses in readers are valid, but all three have pitfalls and can fail to work. To successfully use each, it’s necessary to understand why each is effective when it is.
Author Elizabeth Marro discusses literary vs. commercial fiction and what she learned from the sale and marketing of her first novel.
There is one secret ingredient to crafting a novel that readers will read from beginning to end. All the other elements are important and necessary, but they play supporting roles to this one.
It’s sometimes easier to cut a piece of writing if you can’t see how to fix it. Just remove the offending bits, job done. But it can deaden a piece.
Some stories require greater scope, more voices, or a different context than can be delivered through the eyes of one protagonist. When you find this to be the case, consider using multiple viewpoints. However, you must think about several factors before launching into this greater undertaking.
Author Kurt Rheinheimer discusses how the most precious vein for material is from just before he knew who he was and what was going on.
If I could teach only one key to great writing, it would be this: Make every word count. Recognize the power of a single, well-chosen word. Trust it to do its work. As a rule, the more economically you use language, the more powerfully you will deliver your message.
There are countless ways to defeat ourselves, but the biggest and worst is to make the task too big and then feel daunted before we ever start
Every action in your novel should be justified by the intersection of setting, context, pursuit, and characterization. They all need to make sense. They all need to fit. If you have to explain why something just happened, you’re telling the story backward.
The greatest tool for gaining reader confidence is internal dialogue—because when a character reveals his thoughts, he’s confiding in the audience.
Novelist James Scott Bell identifies 5 common “rules” that writers would do best to ignore—such as “Don’t start your story talking about the weather.”
Award-winning author Jane K. Cleland explains how to implement the slow reveal to add suspense to your writing.
For a love scene to move readers, it must embody the principle of restraint—in dialogue, in description, and in the characters’ actions.
A couple weeks ago, I advised young writers to have patience—with themselves, with the publishing process, and with their development. Writer Gabe Herron recently wrote an essay for Glimmer Train that echoes that theme as well. He says: Time is the main thing. There never seems to be enough of it, especially once you’ve gone […]
Setting is often an afterthought when writing a scene, but it can affect characterization, tension, pacing—and more. Bestselling author Mary Buckham shows how to create effective descriptions for any type of narrative.
Author and editor Rachel Starr Thomson explains how to use descriptive detail to illuminate character and move plot forward.
Writer Joseph Bates explains all the point-of-view options for your novel and how to choose the best point of view for your narrative.
Larry Brooks discusses how to create a concept for your novel that will compel readers (and agents and publishers) to read more.
In today’s guest post, author Maggie Kast (@tweenworlds) discusses the role research plays in the development and evolution of a historical novel.
In this interview, Bonnie Neubauer, author of The Write-Brain Workbook discusses her own creativity practices and goals, her favorite means of gathering writing prompts, and myths about creativity.
Author Lisa Lenard-Cook explains when and how to use time shifts to heighten the emotional impact of your story.
Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld explain how to craft a compelling scene and when it’s okay to use summary.
Editor Jessi Rita Hoffman warns against the use of “stammer verbs,” words that cause an unnecessary halt in the scene.
Writers flounder trying to figure out how to make their idea compelling enough to sustain a great novel. Here’s how to go from ordinary to extraordinary.