Newspaper title lines ripped from the newspaper

A Warning About Writing Novels That Ride the News Cycle

Thriller author Todd Moss discusses the pitfalls of using current events as the basis for a novel.
How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula

How to Plot and Outline Without Using a Formula

When we talk about plot as separate from the characters, the symbols, the locales, the dialogue, and the philosophical introspection, what we are doing is privileging events over everything else. But nothing exists in a vacuum.
novel concept

How to Build a Compelling Novel Concept (Something With a Kicker!)

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.
by David Marcu

How to Tell If Back Story Is Sabotaging Your Novel

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.
Josh Weil

Sow Your Characters’ Emotions in Early

In a thought-provoking post over at Glimmer Train, Josh Weil talks about Chekhov's rule: If you bring a gun into the story,
Fine-Tuning Fiction by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Your Story Opening: Shock vs. Seduction

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.