Close

drafting

How to Be a Better Hooker (in Writing!) — Guest: Mary Buckham

Fishing hook with text: Improve Our Writing with Hooks

One of the ways we create compelling writing is by creating a need within our readers to keep turning pages. So a common piece of advice is to create hooks—phrases, sentences, ideas, questions, etc.—to fuel that need within readers. Today, Mary Buckham’s here to touch on the 9 types of hooks and to answer frequent questions about hooks.

Pin It

March 31, 2015

Read More

Using Examples to Learn Beat Sheets

Chalkboard with text: Learning Beat Sheets by Example

One technique for drafting or editing our stories into shape is using beat sheets, but it can be tricky to understand how to use them. Here’s a round-up beat sheet and story structure resources that might help us understand beat sheets.

Pin It

March 17, 2015

Read More

Should Our Protagonist Be in the First Scene?

A face hidden by a hoodie with text: When Should Readers Meet the Protagonist?

Most stories open with the protagonist on page one, but every once in a while, our story seems to work best if we start with another character. If we understand why the protagonist usually works best as the point-of-view character for the first page, we might be able to remake those exceptions into stronger openings.

Pin It

February 17, 2015

Read More

How to Get Our Thoughts onto the Page

Illustration of a brain with text: Sharing Our Ideas with Readers

Probably no one can claim to be an expert at making sure the cool character in our head makes it onto the page. We can only guess at how readers will interpret what we tell them. Advice can help us share our brain with our readers as much as possible, but the process will never—ever—be completely clean.

Pin It

January 29, 2015

Read More

How to Create Characters Worth Reading

Close of an eye with an intense stare with text: How to Make a Character Compelling

There’s no shortage of blog posts about what makes characters likable to readers. Yet readers still read and enjoy stories with unlikable characters. Why? Let’s take a look at what options we have for creating characters that compel readers to keep turning pages.

Pin It

January 27, 2015

Read More

How Do You Stay Organized?

Crumpled sticky note with text: How Do You Stay Organized?

With a new year, we often want to start on the right foot. We don’t want to repeat last year’s mistakes. (Let’s make new ones instead, right? *smile*) So to get and stay organized, I’d love to find a time management approach that helped me track everything.

Pin It

January 6, 2015

Read More

What Makes a Story’s Black Moment a Black Moment?

Black-and-white image of cemetery cross with text: What Creates a Black Moment?

The Black Moment is usually one of the most emotional sections of the story, so it can be difficult to pull together. If we read stories (or watch movies), we’ve seen this beat play out endless times, so we probably understand the plot point more than we may think. But let’s take a closer look and see if we can learn something new.

Pin It

December 16, 2014

Read More

Ask Jami: How Can We Make a Story Believable?

Card hand of 4 aces with text: What Makes a Story Unbelievable?

As soon as immersion is broken for a reader, their suspension of disbelief is at risk, so we don’t want unbelievable aspects of our story to kick readers out of the story midway. When it comes to believability, issues could crop up within the plot, characters, or worldbuilding, and we have to find the right balance within each of those areas.

Pin It

December 11, 2014

Read More

NaNo Wrap-Up: How to Move Forward

NaNo Winner badge with text: Now What?

Whether we won NaNoWriMo or not, we survived November, and I want to take a moment to gasp—er, breathe. After everything that went wrong with my month, winning feels like a miracle. So let’s talk about how we can move forward from any draft, NaNo or not.

Pin It

December 2, 2014

Read More