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Do You Have a Sense of Where You Are?

I’ve been playing basketball most of my life. When I was a kid, falling in love with the game, I happened across a book called A Sense of Where You Are by John McPhee. It was a profile of Bill Bradley when he was one of the best college hoopsters ever, nearly leading lowly Princeton to the national title. What impressed me was Bradley’s work...

The Advent Calendar for Writers Starts Now!

Writers all across the globe look forward to this annual event – the biggest and best writing giveaway around: The Advent Calendar for Writers. What exactly is an Advent Calendar for Writers? You know those Advent Calendars with delicious chocolate behind each window, counting down to Christmas? Well, it’s like that, only cooler. MUCH...

Master Storytelling and Save: One Stop for Writers is 50% Off

Well, Black Friday is here and keyboards everywhere are heating up. I wish you a successful day of bargain hunting! While you’re out there taking advantage of the sales, consider one that can vastly help improve your writing: a One Stop for Writers subscription. Right now you can score a 6-month subscription for 50% off. (Holy...

How Stakes Set up Expectations

Last time I coached on Writers Helping Writers, I talked about 6 Tricks to Layer on Stakes, in it, I explained how I like to think of stakes as potential consequences–what could happen if a certain condition is (or is not) met. For stakes to be most effective, they usually need to be specific and often on the page. They should follow a cause-and-effect...

Black Friday Deals for Writers

Black Friday is coming and so now is a good time to think about how to invest in our writing career and save money doing it. Here are some of the best writerly deals we’ve uncovered: (FYI, there’s an affiliate link or two below. They help keep the lights on around here.) 50% off a 6-month subscription at One Stop for Writers One...

Stuck in No-Man’s-Land: Your Novel’s Middle

If you have hit the point in your draft where you’re looking out at the vast landscape of your novel with no idea where to go next, congratulations…you’ve probably made it to Act 2. I know, I know, there’s an ocean of cracked, barren earth on all sides and you don’t where to go next in the story. It’s not a fun place to be, but at the...

Determining Your Character’s Emotional Range

I firmly believe that while readers sometimes do connect with our stories, they more often fall in love with our characters. If we want to really pull readers in, we’ve got to make each protagonist relatable and easy to connect with. This can be a tall order when you consider that each reader is different. Their geographic location, individual...

Relationship Thesaurus Entry: Neighbors

Successful stories are driven by authentic and interesting characters, so it’s important to craft them carefully. But characters don’t usually exist in a vacuum; throughout the course of your story, they’ll live, work, play, and fight with other cast members. Some of those relationships are positive and supportive, pushing the protagonist to positive...

Critiques 4 U!

Happy Thursday, everyone! At least, I hope it’s happy in your corner of the world. 2020 continues to be difficult for many, between contentious political elections, looming lockdowns, earthquakes, hurricanes, and who knows what else. But here’s what I’m learning through all of this: joy is a choice. And if I find myself without, it isn’t current events...

Why You Should Side-Write Your Protagonist’s Origin Scene

Side writing: Any exploratory piece of writing that helps a writer get to know elements of their story but isn’t intended to make its way into a draft in its entirety. Examples include journaling from a character’s perspective, writing a scene from an alternate point of view, or creating sensory word lists for a particular setting. Writers tend...

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