Category: Blog

249 Strong Verbs That’ll Spice Up Your Writing

Do you ever wonder why a grammatically correct sentence you’ve written just lies there like a dead fish? I sure have. Your sentence might even be full of those adjectives and adverbs your teachers and loved ones so admired in your writing when you were a kid. But still the sentence doesn’t work. Something simple I learned from years ago changed the way I write and added verve to my…

3 Research Hacks for Your Novel

Guest post by Dave Chesson Research can make or break your novel. When readers choose your book, they expect to be transported into a believable and engrossing world. Research is the key to creating an immersive environment to be enjoyed and savored. Conversely, a badly researched novel can shatter the suspension of disbelief, causing your reader to lose patience with your book and even leave a negative review. The importance…

The Ultimate Guide to Character Development: 10 Steps to Creating Memorable Heroes

You’ve settled on the idea for your novel. You’ve narrowed it to a sentence or two, and you’re ready to tackle what seems an insurmountable task—breathing life into your lead character. If you’re an Outliner (one who outlines your novel first), it’s time for character development, an endeavor not for wimps. feature believable characters who feel knowable. Yes, even if your genre is Fantasy or Allegory or Futuristic. Your character…

How to Write a Short Story That Captivates Your Reader

Trying to write a short story is the perfect place to begin your writing career. Why? Because it reveals many of the obstacles, dilemmas, and questions you’ll face when creating fiction of any length. If you find these things knotty in a short story, imagine how profound they would be in a book-length tale. Most writers need to get a quarter million clichés out of their systems before they hope…

Got Subtext? Writing Better Dialogue

Guest post by Becca Puglisi Realistic, evocative dialogue is an important part of any successful story. We need our characters’ interactions to be authentic, consistent, and engaging to draw readers in to what’s happening. So when we’re learning to write, we spend a lot of time on mechanics—learning all the grammar and punctuation rules. But proper form is just the first step. When , we often forget that real-life conversations…

How to Write a Prologue for Your Novel

Do you start your novel with a Prologue? Or do you dive right into Chapter One? The choice can determine whether readers are drawn in or never get past the first page. I lean away from a Prologue whenever possible. When I do use one, it’s only because there’s backstory the reader cannot do without. That should rarely be the case. If you do resort to a Prologue: 1—Don’t label…

Does This Scene Deserve a Place in Your Story? 2 Ways to Find Out

Guest post by K.M. Weiland “Cut this scene. It doesn’t move the plot.” That is my most frequent comment on manuscripts I edit for others. It causes most writers to groan. Not only am I telling you to cut your beloved scenes (perhaps even your favorite), but you’re left to figure out why these scenes are extraneous—and then either fix or replace them. Bill Buchanan emailed me: Could you tell…

How To Write a Query Letter That Grabs an Agent’s Attention

You’ve done the hard part. You’ve spent ages researching, writing, and rewriting until you finally feel is ready to share with the world. Not so fast. Your next step is one of the most important. Writing a query letter can determine whether a asks to see more or sends you a cordial form letter intended to let you down easy. It’s time to move from to salesman. You’re about to…

How to Write Your Memoir: A 4-Step Guide

Memoir is not just a fancy literary term for an autobiography. I say that from the start, because I hear the terms used interchangeably so often. Your memoir will be autobiographical, but it will not be your life story. Confused yet? Stay with me. Simply put, an autobiography is likely to cover one’s birth to the present — emphasis often on accomplishments, but the more honest and revelatory the better. A…

How to Write an Anecdote and Why Stories Bring Your Nonfiction to Life

You have a message to share with the world, but so far, people don’t seem interested. Are you wasting your time? You are if your nonfiction fails to or publisher. You may have forgotten the importance of — yes, even in nonfiction. Adding stories to your nonfiction: Hooks your reader from the get-go Transforms dull writing Makes your point quicker and more clearly than mere narrative summary People are drawn…