4 Steps to Finding Time to Write

Come on, time. I know you’re there. Don’t play coy with me, bitch.

You know the saying, “Writers write every day”? Here’s the thing: this isn’t true. The vast majority of successful writers don’t actually write every day; maybe most days, but not every day. Sometimes they get sick, or overwhelmed with family stuff, or go on vacation, or get hit by a car, et cetera. Things come up, life happens.

The real saying should be: “Writers finish.” Successful authors finish projects, period. If you never finish, you’ve effectively done nothing. …Unless you’re writing just for fun, and then none of this advice matters anyway. BTW, good luck with that Cinderella/Batman mashup story told from celebrity shock jock Howard Stern’s point of view!

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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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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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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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How to Write a Good Fight/Sex Scene

[This blog was originally published in Night Owl Reviews]

Ladies, did you know I’m also a billionaire? It’s true! Sure, I inherited my billions from my father, who started with millions he inherited from his father and so on for several generations, but thanks to our system of tax breaks for the rich and rampant wealth distribution inequality, I grew those millions into billions! I am truly a self-made man. Have you seen my washboard abs? I mean, REALLY seen them?

Let’s be honest—the vast majority of fight/sex scenes in Hollywood and literature only exist to titillate. Most could be replaced by a sign or sentence that says “And then they have sex,” or “And then they fight.” I lump sex scenes and fight scenes together because the mechanics and purposes of both are very similar.

So how do you write a good one? Let’s pretend like I’m qualified to give advice on this, and no one has recognized my genius yet because I’ve been cursed by an evil witch who lives next door and is mad that I was rude to her cat one time. Here are my handy-dandy tips:

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5 Things You Absolutely Need To Know Before You Start Writing

[This blog was originally published in Night Owl Reviews]

Ah sweet Jughead – bearer of the dumbest hat and stupidest name in all of Riverdale – will you ever finish your terribly pretentious book so the world may finally understand your misunderstood genius??

In my last article, I discussed how authors often fall into the trap of obsessing over irrelevant character details at the expense of info that matters. You don’t need to know everything about a character, only certain critical details: desires, strengths, and weaknesses. The same holds true for starting a story: you don’t need to know everything, only certain things…but you NEED to know those key things.

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