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How to Deliver Backstory Without Confusing the Reader

One of the key pitfalls of backstory, especially early in a novel, is either confusing backstory or overly coy and “mysterious” backstory. Here’s what it looks like. In the enigmatic town of Serenity Falls, nestled deep within the embrace of towering pine forests and shrouded in perpetual mist, secrets were as abundant as the whispers...

Thu Apr 11, 2024 12:08
The Totality Effect: How a Total Solar Eclipse Changes the Way We See

Photo by Deborah Springstead Ford Today’s guest post, which originally appeared in January 2018, is by author and editor Melanie Bishop (@melbishopwriter). April 4, 2024 update: As many people travel this weekend to the path of totality, several friends and readers have asked for the link to this essay that I wrote about the 2017...

Thu Apr 4, 2024 17:32
How to Gain Traction in Your Career: Q&A with The Thriller Zone’s David Temple

Podcast host, author, and actor David Temple discusses his shift from being in radio to writing novels, how to navigate author interviews from both sides of the desk, what it takes to make your own book-to-film adaptation, and how he got some of the best known names in thriller writing to appear on his podcast, The Thriller Zone (@thethrillerzone)....

Wed Apr 3, 2024 12:58
How to Teach Word a Scrivener Trick

Today’s post is by author Wendy Lyons Sunshine. Just as mountain climbers need a sturdy harness and strong rope to reach the summit, writers depend on robust digital tools to carry us through to a book deadline. For my latest book, I wanted tools that would let me efficiently juggle a great deal of content and citations....

Tue Apr 2, 2024 12:36
How Do You Know What Backstory to Include?

Photo by Eepeng Cheong on Unsplash Today’s post is by editor Tiffany Yates Martin (@FoxPrintEd). Join her for the three-part online class Mastering Backstory for Novelists beginning on April 10. Backstory tends to fall into two main categories. The first and most ubiquitous kind pervades the story with subtle brushstrokes, filling...

Thu Mar 28, 2024 11:47
Using Beat Sheets to Slant Your Memoir’s Scenes

Today’s post is by writer and editor Lisa Cooper Ellison. Join her on Wednesday, April 3, for the online class Craft Your Memoir’s Beat Sheet. Most memoirs involve some kind of loss—a breakup, a displacement, a dismantled dream, the death of someone dearly loved. The more painful the event, the more you’ll want to write about...

Wed Mar 27, 2024 11:32


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