Tree trunks, gleaming in the sun, line up on either side of the gravel road with grass growing down the middle. You pass through dappled shade beneath a tunnel woven of branches. Just ahead, the road vanishes into forest shadow. Where is it taking you? Continue Reading>>
Confused by the editing process?
This free guide will take you, step by step, through five ways to edit your novel.
Whether you're learning to edit for the first time or just want a review, you'll find the help you need to create your best manuscript.
Every year in the autumn I evaluate the progress of my writing business for the coming year. In summer I mull decisions that I use for my writing business plan categories, parts of the writing life I’ve broken into manageable segments. Grouping similar tasks into writing plan categories allows me to think about my writing business plan more efficiently. Continue Reading>>
You stare at the computer screen with your hands motionless on the keyboard. Nothing comes to mind. Nothing. How can this happen? You have a deadline, a schedule, a goal—even time to write. All you lack is the ability to focus. What are you going to do? There’s no time in your schedule for this crisis. No one cares about your writer’s angst. They just want a book. Continue Reading>>
I once arrived with a group of writer friends on San Juan Island for a writing retreat. We had just carried our luggage into a gorgeous rental home with picture windows overlooking the Salish Sea. All six of us heaved a sigh at the same moment, then looked up and laughed. This wordless exchange remains fixed in my mind. Continue Reading>>
Story ideas drift into my mind at odd moments—while I’m driving, in conversation, in nature, doing dishes, gardening, even while I should be paying attention in church. They are incorrigible and more prolific than I’ll ever be. Continue Reading>>
College teachers are notorious for piling on homework at the last minute. The last days before a wedding are often a mad rush to the finish. An author accomplishes feats during the final days before a book deadline. It’s human nature to create time stress, and writers are particularly good at it. Continue Reading>>
Simply stating the events that transpire throughout a manuscript does not a story make. Substituting narrative summary for a scene is a common writing error. This writing mistake is surprisingly easy to make. A vivid imagination can be both a blessing and curse. Have you ever filled out a scene in your mind only to field a slew of questions from critique partners who can’t picture it? Continue Reading>>
What would The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien be without an oppressive aura, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum sans its yearning pathos, and Charles Dicken’s Oliver Twist with no melancholy? A novel’s story tone can make or break it’s emotional appeal for readers. Given that most readers say they read for the way stories make them feel, it behooves an author to set a story tone that will inspire the right mood. Continue Reading>>
Every novel projects the opinions of its author while creating a certain atmosphere for readers. These elements are known as the story tone and mood. While both reinforce the main story theme, they are two different things. Their interrelated nature can make telling them apart confusing, but it’s not difficult once you understand them. Knowing how to use story tone and mood is an important skill that contributes to a mastery of plot structure. Continue Reading>>