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Best Practices for Writing a Series

Sometimes our concepts for our stories span more than one book. And that’s ok because series are popular these days as readers love to return to characters and worlds they love. But they can be complicated to write. Careful planning can ensure a successful series. So let’s look at some best practices for writing a series. Make sure you have enough story for more than one book. You never want to write a series just to write a series or to try and get more money than from a sta

How to Cut Filler

It’s happened to us all before. We go home with a new book, get cozy, and settle in to read. But although the storyline is interesting enough, the book leaves us dissatisfied. The pacing moved as fast as sludge, in fact, the whole story trudged along and it was almost painful trying to get through. So what happened? The story had too much filler. So what is filler? It’s anything in your story that’s unnecessary. That could be an extraneous word, sentence, description, or even

Update

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update and I’ve recently made progress so I’m dedicating today’s post to that. I’ve been working on my WiP for over a year now. After planning and prewriting, I managed to get my first draft done within four to six months and was very pleased with my progress. I was writing every day and being really productive. The words were flowing onto the page and I was pleased with the draft. Then it was time for revising and editing. I started out s

Tips for Tackling Editing

Last week we talked about revising, which deals with major tweaks to make your rough draft less rough. This includes plot changes, rearranging segments, and filling in holes. But what comes next after revision? Editing. Editing deals with the line-by-line concerns, perfecting your draft by fixing grammar and choosing the perfect words to phrase each sentence. It’s all about polishing your manuscript and getting it ready to share with the world. So let’s look at some tips for

Tips for Tackling Revisions

So you finished your rough draft and celebrated accordingly. Congrats! But you’re not done yet, not by a long shot. Next comes revision. Now a lot of people use revising and editing synonymously, but the two are different. Editing deals with line-by-line corrections and grammar. It polishes your writing and is the final phase your manuscript will go through. Revision comes first. It involves major changes like filling in plot holes, rewriting entire scenes, strengthening weak

Dos and Don’ts for Writing Deep POV

We all want to immerse our readers into our story worlds and have them experience the story first hand. We love books where we forget we are reading and get lost in the story. But how do we create such an experience? One way is by using Deep POV. Deep POV is a technique that allows us to get inside the head of our POV character, creating an emotional connection between readers and that character. It also works to erase any insertion of the author into the story. When done cor

Writing Strong Emotional Scenes

We read books to go on an emotional journey and love the stories best where they make us feel something. We connect to the characters and what they’re experiencing. We love books that make us laugh and cry and feel everything in between. But writing those emotional scenes is difficult and can be downright scary to attempt. After all what if what we write is laughable? So how do we write strong emotional scenes? Let’s take a look at some tips. No tears in the writer, no tears

Using All Five Senses

The point of description is to immerse your reader into your story world and make them feel what your characters are experiencing. So vivid imagery is key to building each scene. The most common sense that writers use is visual imagery or the sense of sight. And it comes most naturally to writers, but it’s important to utilize all five senses in our writing. What sounds are populating your scene? Is there the sounds of the city, cars passing and the hustle and bustle of peopl

Writing a Strong Theme

It’s hard to say what makes a good story so good, but one reason is that certain stories stick with us because they made us feel a certain way. They formed a connection with us that was strong enough to stay with us for years. Why? These stories had a strong theme. Theme is found at the center of your story. It is the meaning that your story conveys. The truth your story reveals. It helps to streamline and focus your story and that’s what makes a connection with you as a read

From Idea to Novel

So you’ve got an idea bouncing around in your head for a novel and it won’t leave you alone. That’s great and also intimidating. After all writing a novel is hard work and you might not be sure this idea is enough to craft an entire novel from. So how to do we go from idea to novel? Let’s take a look. First you have to have a strong idea. This may be a character you envision, a scene that keeps replaying in your mind, or a setting that intrigues you. The first step is to deve

Story Concepts Worth Developing

Every story begins with a concept. And as writers, we get new ideas for stories and concepts all the time. But not all concepts are created equal, so how do we decide which ones to develop into stories? Let’s take a look. Story concept is the “what if” question at the base of your story that intrigues you and grabs your interest. This concept should be original in some way to make it different than all the other stories that have come before it. You want your concept to stand

Pacing

Pacing is an important part of keeping your reader engaged in your story. So what is it? Pacing is the speed your story plot takes to move forward. If your pacing is too fast, you’ll overwhelm your readers. If your pacing is too slow, you’ll bore them enough to put your story down. So the key is to have the pacing just right. So how do we accomplish this? Let’s take a look. Outline, either before or after the first draft. An important part of pacing is using a story structure

How to Get Back into Writing

Life happens. Maybe you got scheduled extra hours at work or maybe the kids got sick or maybe you had a social event you couldn’t skip. Either way you missed a day of writing, then two, then many. Before you knew it you were out of the writing groove and unsure of how to get back into things. Luckily there are some different things you can do to get back into writing. Don’t beat yourself up. Guilt about not writing or whether you’re any good kills productiveness. Don’t give i

Honing Your Voice

Hemingway, Jane Austen, and all the greats have such strong voices that can be recognized by anyone who loves them. So what is voice? Voice is our unique way of writing that characterizes our writing style. But how do we find and use our own voice? Everyone is born with their own innate and distinct voice, but it is continually developed throughout their writing life as it’s honed and perfected.  Let’s look at a few ways to develop our voice. Read. A lot. You’ll discover what

Using Subplot to Deepen Your Story

Alongside our main plot, subplots help to deepen our stories, either by contrasting or echoing the main plot and its themes. They can provide much needed relief or tension and help to shape your main plot. So what do we need to know about them? Let’s take a look. Like your main plot, subplots have a setup, rising action, a climax, and an ending that should be wrapped up before your main plot’s resolution. Subplots should also have a character who pursues a goal and faces obst

Writing an Effective Ending

Story endings can be tricky. You want to know when to stop to pack the most punch and satisfy your readers. These can be hard to figure out so today let’s look at when to end your novel and some dos and don’ts for ending your story. Don’t introduce any new information, subplots, or characters (without foreshadowing) towards the end of your novel. You should be resolving any loose ends, not adding more. Do make your ending satisfying. It doesn’t have to be a happily ever after

Structuring Your Story

Much like building a house with a strong foundation, we must build our stories using structure to shape them. Today we’re going to look over a few different structures we can use to build your story. The Three Act Structure Act 1- Exposition. This is where we establish the main characters, their relationships with each other, and the story world they inhabit. It ends with the inciting incident. Act 2- Rising action. This is where our protagonist tries to deal with the story p

How to Tackle Writer’s Block

The dreaded writer’s block. We’ve all dealt with it at some time or another and it can be absolutely devastating to experience as a writer. But there are ways to get around your block. Let’s explore some today. Write every day. Set up a regular time for writing and show up to write. Make your writing a habit. When you can’t write, read. Build your craft and spark new ideas. Read books on craft. I recommend Stephen King’s “On Writing.” Freewrite for fifteen minutes. Dump whate

How to Add Tension to Your Story

When we think about our favorite books, the ones that left us breathless and turning pages at 3 in the morning, we need to talk about tension. Tension is what kept us up waiting to see what happened next. Tension is the anticipation a reader feels waiting for each outcome of the story. So how do we add tension to our stories? Let’s take a look. The first step to storytelling is the hero has to have a goal. They must want something and move towards accomplishing that. Then con

On Strong Female Characters

Today I wanted to talk about female characters and more specifically how to write strong female characters. Now strong female characters have warped into their own cliché and stereotyped forms of the kick-ass heroine who would rather knock you out than talk to you. So how do we give strength to our female characters without the stereotypes? Let’s take a look. Key elements Write people first and women second. Your character is a human first and foremost. She has to have a goal