9 Steps to Constructing a Good Scene or Chapter

Don’t put that book down, girl!

You know how sometimes you’ll read an entire chapter of a book and think to yourself, “What did I just read?” Or maybe, “What was the point of that?” Well, the reason you’re asking yourself this question is because whoever wrote the chapter didn’t know how to properly construct a scene…or it’s supposed to be some kind of deep literary nonsense, though if that’s the case you’d probably think to yourself “Soooo deep…” while secretly feeling ashamed because you assume you’re too dumb to understand it.

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5 Ways to Tell If You’re a Natural Writer

But I AM a natural heart surgeon! I just choose to do other things with my hands…

Like most endeavors in this thing we call life, how good you are at something depends on a combination of natural skill and drive to improve. Notice I said how good you are at something, not how successful you are, because success depends a lot on luck…more than most successful people are willing to admit. If you’re good at something, it increases your odds of success, but you can still suck at something and be successful at it.

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Plotting versus Pantsing, and 4 Hybrid Options to Plot Out Your Novel

Sometimes pantsing is what’s best for you!

The biggest issue with writing a book is that you need to somehow fill up blank space on a page with words. Specifically, words that form a narrative. Failing to do this means you’ve failed to write a book.

This is ALWAYS, 100% of the time, the reason people try and fail to write a novel.

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The 4 Key Attributes of a Good Ending

“Sprinkling some magic ending fairy dust…send this beautiful bitch to PRINT!”

There’s honestly not a lot to say about endings except they should be a satisfying conclusion of everything that’s come before—but, of course, that can be harder than it sounds. An exceptionally good ending can elevate a story to greatness (The Usual Suspects, The Shawshank Redemption), or ruin it (Season 8 of Game of Thrones, The Rise of Skywalker for some current examples). To clarify, when I say good ending I mean satisfying, which isn’t necessarily a happy ending.

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9 Steps to Start Your Story

Let’s say you’ve confirmed your what-if idea is worth expanding into a whole story. Yay!

Now what?

This is where most people get stuck after they decide they want to write a novel. They might write a few pages, or even a few chapters, and then stall out. Part of this is waning interest and competing priorities; writing an entire novel is hard and takes a long time, dammit! If you’re not committed, it’s probably not gonna happen.

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5 Ways to Tell If You Have a Good Idea for a Book

Every story starts with a “what if” idea: What if a teen girl with chronic depression woke up one day with psychic powers? What if Germany had won World War II (…you see this one a lot)? What if we found out aliens had been secretly colonizing Mars for hundreds of years? What if a young boy with two progressive dads and thick glasses moved to the Deep South? What if I lightly fictionalized my own life story (…I wouldn’t advise this one, tho—most authors overestimate how interesting their lives are to other people)?

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Overview of All the Genres, and Which is Right for You

“Genre, genre, genre…there’s so much to explore here!”

Continuing from my last post on genres, I’ll now describe each major literary genre, its universal tropes, and if it’s right for you.

…Seriously, read my last post as a primer! TL;DR: you must pick a genre for your story. …But which one?? Keep reading to find out!

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We Need to Talk About The Darkest Minds and The Importance of Choice

[This blog was originally published in Night Owl Reviews]

You may have blinked and missed it, but The Darkest Minds movie released in August 2018 is one of the most recent Young Adult (YA) dystopia joints adapted from a popular novel to crash and burn at the box office.

Cue the proclamations from on-high that the YA dystopia genre is dead. DEEEEAAAAD!!

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3 Easy Steps to Write a Compelling Villain

[This blog was originally published in Night Owl Reviews]

Crack open any Storytelling 101 book and it’ll tell you conflict is your story’s engine. Every story since the history of forever has centered around someone trying to solve a problem; otherwise, it’s not a story so much as a series of anecdotes, or an aside, or your drunk uncle’s ramblings.

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A How-To Writing Website for My Mom – and You