Advanced Fiction Writing

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When Your Outline is Too Long

So you got carried away writing the synopsis for your novel and now it’s too long. What do you do? Did you waste your effort? How do you use all that material? And how does all this fit into my wildly popular Snowflake Method? Lindsey posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page: Hi Randy,  I am a first time novel writer and I find...

On Writing Fight Scenes

Writing a fight scene is easy to get wrong. It’s also easy to get right. This blog post is adapted from a classic article I wrote in my Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine back in October of 2006. That’s a long time ago, so I thought it was worth updating and posting on my blog.   We’re going to get down into the details in this post. Fight scenes are...

My Recent Podcast on The Story Blender

Recently, I was invited to be a guest on the popular podcast The Story Blender, hosted by best-selling novelist Steven James. Steven is also an internationally known speaker on the craft of fiction writing. Steven and I had a very wide-ranging and animated discussion on the Snowflake Method and fiction writing. If you enjoy listening to podcasts, you...

How to Make Your Reader Care About Your Characters

How do you make your readers care about your characters? Is there some foolproof way to do that? If so, what’s the secret?  Jim posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page: What’s the best way to include background info on a character in the first few chapters so readers will care about him or her? Randy sez: Making your readers...

Crash-Proofing Your Novel

What do you do if your computer crashes and you lose your entire novel? That would be bad. That would be horrible.  That should never happen, but it does happen to some writers every year. And once a novel is lost, it’s lost. The only solution is to travel back in time and backup your computer before your machine crashes.  There may well be a computer...

Social Media Marketing and Your Novel

From time to time, my author friends get tired of the endless treadmill of marketing their work on social media and start asking if it’s worth doing.  I wrote an article on this very subject awhile back. The title was “What’s Social Media Good For?” and I published it in the November 2016 issue of my Advanced Fiction Writing E-zine. This blog post...

What If Your Novel is Losing Steam?

So you’re planning your first novel, and suddenly it seems like you’ve chewed all the sugar out of the gum. You felt so excited about this novel, but after taking several shots at the opening scenes, the whole thing seems to have run out of steam. What do you do? Bailee posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page: I think I have a...

Can You Learn How to Plot Fiction?

What if you don’t know how to plot fiction? Is that a skill you’re just born with? Are you doomed if you don’t have it? Or can you learn? Francisca posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page: Hi Randy, thank you for helping aspiring writers. I decided to try to write short stories and I realized I had original ideas and a nice writing...

Getting Chapter Two Right

After writing an amazing first chaper in your novel, is it okay to switch gears in chapter two? What’s allowed and what’s not allowed? Will agents freak out, for example, if you switch from present tense to past tense? Or slow the story down with a flashback? Joe posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page: Dear Mr. Ingermanson, I’m...

What If You’re Not a Strong Finisher?

What if you’re too creative? What if you never finish anything because you keep getting new ideas that excite you more than the one you’re working on? What if you’re a good starter, but not a strong finisher?  Elizabeth posted this question on my “Ask A Question For My Blog” page: Hi Randy! I had a question I hoped you could help me with. I love stories,...

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