Writer Unboxed

about the craft and business of fiction

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Oops, I Did it Again: How Regrets Reveal and Forge Character

Flickr Creative Commons: Thomas Hawk So let’s talk about regret. I know, it’s a terrible topic that immediately gives you that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach (or maybe that’s just me). But regret is something that every human who’s ever lived has experienced at one time or another, from small regrets (why did I order this salad instead of...

Cut the Cost of a Professional Editor

As an author, you want your novel to be the best it can be. A top quality product means good reviews, word of mouth recommendations, which lead to increased sales. But just a few typos and grammatical errors will put readers off. Before they’ve even fallen over your plot holes, they’re filling message boards with mocking remarks about a couple of innocently...

Book PR and Marketing Questions Answered Part II

This past Friday, I co-moderated a Clubhouse chat with novelist and creative coach Nicole Meier and marketing pro Sarah Bean of Booklaunchers on “How to plan your path to publication.” This is maybe the third or fourth chat the three of us have had about publishing and marketing a book, and with each, I always find new inspiration and feel greater confidence...

Take 5: The Sound Between the Notes

Congratulations to Writer Unboxed contributor Barbara Linn Probst on the publication of her 2nd novel, THE SONG BETWEEN THE NOTES, which was released this past week. Described as “a tour de force steeped in suspense…a sensitive, astute exploration of artistic passion, family, and perseverance” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review) and “a tale of passion,...

Desmond’s Drops: April Edition

Welcome to our third edition of Desmond’s Drops! This month, enjoy three drops about: Your story’s midpoint The inciting incident Establishing an image system Email subscribers, please click through to view. Look for more of Desmond’s Drops in May. Have your own bit of wisdom to share? Drop it in comments. About Desmond HallDesmond...

The Criminal as Hero

east of noir — Elisha Cook, Jr., and Marie Windsor in The Killing (1956), directed by Stanley Kubrick, dialogue by Jim Thompson — photo by Robert Couse-Baker Although this post deals specifically with the crime fiction genre, it might prove informative for any of you working on stories with a main character who stands up against an oppressive or corrupt...

Make your Protagonist an Actor

photo adapted / Horia Varlan Establishing “agency”—proving to your reader that your protagonist is equal to the journey ahead—is a craft element worthy of fresh consideration each time you begin a new project. This is especially true if you spend a good deal of your initial word count probing the protagonist’s memories and thoughts so you’ll understand...

Novelty and the Novel

Chattering teeth.  Wind them up, set them down, and instantly those plastic choppers are clack-clacking away faster than a jackhammer, skittering around in circles on a Formica table top.  For a boy in the early 1960’s, there was nothing better. Well, except maybe for X-Ray spectacles, trick handcuffs, a dribble glass, rocket kits, coin tricks, ant...

Keeping Your Notebook

The writer’s notebook is one of the most powerful gifts you can give yourself as a writer.  It is personal, private, intimate, and real—pretty much the opposite of what social media asks of us. That constant curated stream of social media prevents deep thought. Whether your poison is Instagram or SnapChat, Twitter or Pinterest or Facebook, the point...

A 2nd Pandemic Book Release: Piece of Cake and Other Silver Linings

Please welcome back today’s guest: author Alison Hammer! During the day, Alison is a VP Creative Director for an advertising agency in Chicago, and nights and weekends, she writes upmarket women’s fiction—stories about family and friendship, love and loss. She also founded the Every Damn Day Writers group on Facebook. Her two novels, You and Me and...

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