Close

story structure

NaNo Prep: 4 Tips for Starting Our Story

"Trail Starts Here" sign with text: 4 Tips for Starting Our Story

Tomorrow, thousands of writers will start their novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m not in a good spot in my writing project schedule to participate this year (*pout*), but I’m cheering from the sidelines. (I’m Jami Gold if anyone wants to buddy me.) On this occasion, I wanted […]

Pin It

October 31, 2013

Read More

How to Avoid a Sagging Middle in Our Stories

Sagging power pole with text: Have a Sagging Middle?

The middle act of our story isn’t about adding page count to drag out the tension and make the story novel-length. And the middle isn’t a delaying tactic before we get to the “good stuff.” Instead, the middle of our story should be the “meat” of the story. Without setting up the obstacles here, any solution in the final act will seem too easy and won’t be as satisfying.

Pin It

October 29, 2013

Read More

NaNo Prep: Do You Know What to Plan in Advance?

Leftover scraps of many posters with text: Don't End Up with a "Hot Mess" after NaNo

Do you smell it? The crisp air, the fallen leaves? (Unless you’re Down Under.) It’s almost time for NaNoWriMo, when thousands of writers will try to cram 50,000 words into a 30-day deadline. Unfortunately, I won’t be doing NaNo this year, as I’m not in the right spot with any […]

Pin It

October 10, 2013

Read More

What Do Your Characters Falsely Believe?

Text: How Are Your Characters (big red letters) WRONG!

Last year, I wrote a series of posts about a fabulous presentation by Michael Hauge on “Using Inner Conflict to Create Powerful Love Stories.” But the teachings I picked up from the presentation went far beyond being applicable only to romance. Blogger extraordinaire Janice Hardy was in the workshop with me, and […]

Pin It

September 26, 2013

Read More

Are Beat Sheets Intimidating? Cut through the Clutter

Beat Sheets: Back to the Basics

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of story structure. I’ve created several beat sheets and have oodles of posts about the topic. But I’m also not a math person, so the idea of working in Excel for all those worksheets gave me the heebie-jeebies at first. I’m probably not […]

Pin It

September 19, 2013

Read More

WANACon: A Conference for All Writers

WANACon 2.0 logo

Forgive me for not having a post packed with writing advice today. Instead, I’m sharing writing-related information of a different sort. Last February, I posted about the fantastic experience I had with WANACon, an interactive online writing conference. So you better believe I’m excited to announce that WANACon is happening […]

Pin It

September 10, 2013

Read More

Book Series: Should We Include a Teaser Excerpt?

Child sticking out his tongue with text: Teasing Is Good When...

Yesterday, Kristen Lamb ran an encore of one of my posts from last year on her blog. We both liked that post because it discusses the importance of leaving the reader room to use their imagination. In the post, I made an aside about the danger of including a teaser excerpt […]

Pin It

August 1, 2013

Read More

Do Beat Sheets Lead to Formulaic Writing?

Page of math formulas with text: Are Beat Sheets Too Formulaic?

Last week, Slate.com ran an article about how Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat book is ruining movies. According to that post’s author, “Snyder’s beat sheet has taken over Hollywood screenwriting. … Intentionally or not, it’s become a formula—a formula that threatens the world of original screenwriting as we know it.” I’ve […]

Pin It

July 23, 2013

Read More

Blogiversary Winners & an Announcement

Magic wand with text: Writing Worksheets: What's Your Wish?

Ta da! I made it to the three year mark for blogging. Appropriately, we had enough comments on the Blogiversary Contest post to earn three winners! Yay! Or boo… Depending on if you’re one of the winners or not. *sad face* I wish everyone could be a winner. Seriously. But random.org […]

Pin It

July 11, 2013

Read More

A Pantser’s Guide to Beat Sheets

Map with text: A Pantser's Guide to Beat Sheets

I’ve mentioned many times that I write by the seat of my pants. I’ve also expressed my love of beat sheets—by creating several of them. I have beat sheets that focus on plot points, another focused on character arcs, and yet another focused on romance arcs. Wait, someone who writes […]

Pin It

July 9, 2013

Read More