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Fear Thesaurus Entry: Physical Pain

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear...

Fighting Attraction in Romance (Body Language Help)

Emotion is the heart of any story, and there is no genre where this holds more true than romance. Readers look forward to a romantically tense roller coaster ride (how’s that for alliteration) that feels authentic and satisfying as characters are drawn together. Often though, characters fight this attraction. They might have goals or responsibilities...

How Does Internal Conflict Fit into the Character’s Arc?

If you’re writing a story in which your character will need to evolve internally to achieve his goal, a cohesive and well-planned character arc will be vital to its success. This type of arc (a change arc) requires internal conflict, which will provide opportunities for your character to adapt and grow.  But first, let’s quickly summarize what...

Fear Thesaurus Entry: Discrimination

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear...

Originalizing Your Story Idea

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about differentiation—how we can make our stories stand out from all the others. Customers are being more careful with their money, which means they’re very likely buying fewer books. With the estimated 1,000,000+ books being published each year, ours need something to set them apart, something that will jump off the...

Build Suspense With Secrets

Have you wondered what makes a book unputdownable? What techniques or tricks an author employs to make sure you read that next word, sentence, paragraph, page? One of the most effective ways to do this is by building suspense. All genres have suspense…or at least should. Suspense is reader glue. Conflict, questions, secrets, surprises,...

Fear Thesaurus Entry: Having No Purpose

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear...

Phenomenal First Pages Contest – Guest Editor Edition

Hey, wonderful writerly people! It’s time for our monthly critique contest! This month, we have a HUGE prize! 3 winners will receive feedback on 20 pages from a professional editor. So exciting! This contest is closed. Please try again next month. If you’d like to be notified when the next one goes live, consider subscribing to the blog (in...

5 Ways to Approach Your Novel Like a Trial Lawyer

So much about good storytelling mirrors the way a lawyer might lay out the case for their client.  Our job as writers is to select events and characters that reveal the protagonist we hope the reader will see. In effect, we are manipulating scenes so that they present our protagonist’s inner development at any given point in the plot. Let’s take...

Fear Thesaurus Entry: Criticism

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear...

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