If you can’t portray someone you know personally in a positive fashion, you will probably lose this friend and/or be sued for libel.
In this 5On interview, author Anne Perry discusses (among other things): what plot is not what to look for when looking for a good editor the professional process for an author who writes two to three books per year Anne Perry is an English author of historical detective fiction, best known for her Thomas Pitt […]
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.
Author Kathleen M. Rodgers discusses her approach to writing and reading, her self-promotion philosophy, and why she won’t self-publish.
In this interview, James C. Moore discusses journalistic vs. creative writing, finding time to write when time is hard to come by, and what being a New York Times best-selling author doesn’t mean.
Do you have a project that confuses you, or feels dangerous? That’s what you should write says Mark Wisniewski.
Most novels have some amount of back story—because they rarely start from the beginning of a character’s life. However, writers tend to misuse it or include too much.
Note from Jane: Today, I’m pleased to announce the series 5 On by author Kristen Tsetsi. 5 On asks established, traditionally published authors and experienced self-published authors five questions about writing and five questions about their experiences with the publishing industry. The series is designed to educate and encourage newer writers looking for guidance and, frankly, hope. […]
Fiction writer Rowena Macdonald says she finds writing dialogue much easier than constructing a plot.
Note from Jane: Today’s guest post is by Anne Pfeffer (@AnnePfeffer1), an author of several YA and new adult novels. As the author of three indie novels, I was looking for ways to expand my base of readers. This blog’s very own Jane Friedman suggested that I try Wattpad, an online writing community where authors post […]
One of the most important goals of any fiction writer is getting the reader to connect on an emotional level with the story’s characters. But how do you accomplish this without being clumsy—without saying, directly, “Joe felt so upset he wanted to die,” which takes you right into the heart of cliché? John Thorton Williams […]
In a thought-provoking post over at Glimmer Train, Josh Weil talks about Chekhov’s rule: If you bring a gun into the story, then it must fire by the end. Weil reverses it to produce a new insight: “If you’re going to fire a gun at the end, you’d better bring it in near the beginning.” He goes on to discuss […]
In an essay about writing a novel with her husband, Beth Ann Fennelly discusses that the process did not lead to fighting, but that it was fun, and not as lonely. However, it didn’t mean half the work. It meant twice the work. She writes: That’s when the novel really started cooking—and finally became fun to […]
The most prevalent point-of-view used by writers today is the third-person limited POV (sometimes spread across multiple characters), as well as the first-person POV. It’s pretty rare to find a contemporary novel written with an omniscient narrator—which is why Celeste Ng found it a terrifying realization, while writing her first novel, that her story required […]
Laura van den Berg discusses the evolution of how her stories get written and shaped into a collection, or a book.
If you have Zen or Buddhist inclinations—and you’re also in the profession of writing and publishing—you will love this story and meditation by Gillian Burnes. It begins: In the middle of a Vipassana meditation retreat last summer … I went up to the teacher at the end of the dharma talk and said, as sweetly […]
What’s wrong with overly nice characters? To begin with, they’re boring. This is because they can’t abide conflict, and smooth it over every chance they get.
Writers are often advised to fill their scenes with rich detail—to show, not tell. However, taken too far, you can clutter or bloat your story with too much irrelevant description.
Editors can tell within a couple pages if a manuscript will be acceptable to them. How? What makes this decision so clear to an editor and so muddy to an author?
The following guest post from Elizabeth Sims is adapted from her newest book, You’ve Got a Book in You, from Writer’s Digest. As you plunge into writing your book, here’s the main thing to do: Strive for the ordinary. Because that’s what the greats do. If I were a person who used vulgarities, I would […]
A reader is drawn into a story in one of two ways: shocked or seduced. This is called the hook, and it must be in the first three paragraphs of the text, preferably in the first sentence. The hook also sets up the initial pace of the story, which is maintained through the beginning of the tale.
As writers, we can spend so much time “fleshing out” our characters as individuals that we forget about the connections between them. That’s why I love this piece by Yelizaveta P. Renfro that offers six concrete ways to think about your characters’ relationships. Here’s an example of one of the exercises: Bury your characters. Imagine […]