Browsing Tag

how to write a novel

The Real Secrets I Learned from My First Writing Program

In 2006 I was living in San Francisco, working at a private detective agency, and thinking about picking up writing again. I had moved to San Francisco in 2004 and I had quit drinking in 2005. For the past couple of years I had felt lost and confused. I didn’t really know what to do with myself if alcohol wasn’t going to be a major part of my life. I’d used it for a long time to numb myself and block my emotions—especially those emotions I felt around writing. Continue Reading

Why Writing a Book Is Like Having a Baby

Every story is a living thing. Experienced readers know this. But sometimes writers forget it. Sometimes we act like our story is a piece of IKEA furniture, and if we don’t understand where all the screws go right after we get it out of the box, it must be because the product itself is shoddy. Continue Reading

Stephen King, Bullies, and Conquering the Voice of Self Doubt

In the past week I’ve had two different writers tell me the same thing. They started out with a great idea for a story and then, coincidentally, that night ended up watching a movie with a plot that almost exactly matched their idea. Both writers told me they were discouraged and thought about scrapping their idea. After all, they now had confirmation it had already been done, right? Continue Reading

The Best Writers Stay Hungry

I recently saw a photo posted online by the mom of two kids who wouldn’t stop arguing. As punishment, the brother and sister had to wear the “Get-Along Shirt” for 20 minutes. The picture showed two teary-eyed, red-faced children in a XXL t-shirt that read We Will Get Along across the front of it. Continue Reading

Security, Sex, and Power: 3 Keys to Unlocking Character

Do you really know what motivates your characters? I mean beyond trying to solve the mystery of the plot you’ve woven around them, or being reunited with the person you’ve torn from them in the interest of suspense. What is the constant energetic force in your character’s life that drives him or her to do the things they do? Continue Reading