3 Steps to Use Empathy to Craft Inspirational Stories

3 Steps to Use Empathy to Craft Inspirational Stories

People love to be inspired. It’s what draws us to stories of underdogs, great achievers, and even, to an extent, celebrities. We love to see how regular people just like us can succeed against all odds.

Storytellers often try to cash in on this audience appreciation for underdogs, but we can easily miss the foundational element of an underdog story: empathy. The reason the audience becomes entranced by the story of an underdog is not because underdogs are fundamentally attractive; we are entranced because we empathize with them.

How to Use Metaphor to Deepen Characterization

How to Use Metaphor to Deepen Characterization

As a prose writer, I try to suss out where I can deepen and expand my stories, transform a limping clause into a sure-footed guide. Sometimes, as in the preceding sentence, I find metaphor to be the most efficient and evocative tool in my writer’s gym bag.

Metaphor, by conflating two unlike things—often an abstraction like love and a concrete object like a rose (thank you, Shakespeare)—invites readers to connect with our stories via the boundless power of imagination. Or, as James Woods says in How Fiction Works, “[m]etaphor . . . is the entire imaginative process in one move.”

In other words, metaphor helps our stories run smoothly, with steady footing across even the rockiest of terrain, bringing our readers to those stunning vistas seen only from mountaintops.

How to Write About Personal Experience Like Cheryl Strayed

Memoir: How to Write About Personal Experience Like Cheryl Strayed

Have you ever looked back on a piece of your writing and cringed? Not necessarily because of its quality, but because you realize you would write the story differently now that some time has passed. You realize you were impulsive in writing about a life-changing situation, that your views on the experience have changed after having the time to reflect.

As writers, we love to draw from our own real-life stories in our work. Whether in a memoir, a creative essay, or a blog post, we can be eager to document the experiences we go through. Let’s look at the power of personal experiences and the trick to writing about them effectively.

How to Uncover the Magic of Metaphor

How to Uncover the Magic of Metaphor

I am not a poet but I read poems regularly. Their succinct and succulent lines transform the way I see the world around me, fill my head with color and sound and taste and most important of all to me, emotion. And all without lots of words.

If you can’t quite say what you’re getting at, playing with metaphor-making may unlock your voice and expand your piece. And even if you don’t think you need metaphors for your writing, metaphor-making may unlock new ideas for you.

6 Keys to Write a YA Novel That Connects With Teen Readers

6 Keys to Write a YA Novel That Connects With Teens

Writing a novel that appeals to a younger audience takes a certain amount of finesse – especially if you are no longer in that age bracket! It is not easy to venture into the minds of young adults and, essentially, “relive” your own past.

Let’s have a look at six essential tips from published authors when it comes to writing YA novels.

What Most Writers Don’t Know About Screenplay Structure

What Most Writers Don't Know About Screenplay Structure

Do you struggle with screenplay structure? Especially sustaining momentum in that long second act?

When learning how to write a script, writers are overwhelmingly taught that screenplay structure is all about three acts. The problem with this three act formula, however, is that it often leads to writers running out of steam in act two as they try to fill it with “conflict.” This means act two becomes a series of disconnected events that aren’t really connected and seem to exist just for the sake of “things happening.”

This happens when screenwriters focus too much on traditional three act structure and ignore the building blocks underneath each act—sequences.

How to Write Similes That Shine

How to Write Similes that Shine

If you’re anything like me, you hope in your heart of hearts that your writing will reveal a Great Truth to your readers, that it will open a doorway to compassion and understanding that will ripple out to change the world. Ah!

The authors who have been most effective in ushering me to that doorway are those whose writing reveals connections between images, ideas, and sensations I otherwise would have missed. Like Annie Dillard’s terrific simple line: “The air bites my nose like pepper.”

How did Dillard come up with such a lively sentence, one that bridges two physical sensations (cold and biting) and scent (pepper)? And how can we play around with unlike sensations to create similes that shine?

4 Ways to Use Experience to Fuel Your Writing

The heart and soul of writing comes from experience. All of us have things in our past that have made us who we are, and should we choose to draw upon them, can fuel our writing in a powerful way.

I never shy away from an opportunity to try something new or go on an adventure. This has been the single most impactful thing for my writing.

Being a bookworm doesn’t make you a good writer, but telling your story does.

5 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Book Editor

Edit: 5 Essential Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring an Editor

You finally finished writing your book. There’s a glimmer of hope that the end is near. It’s time to pass your rough draft on to an editor to clean it up, right?

Not so fast. Have you revised it yourself yet?

What a lot of bestselling authors and writing coaches will tell you is the hard part of writing a book is not writing the book. The hard part is rewriting your book.

“Writer’s Block” Is a Lie—And It’s Ruining Your Writing

Writer's Block is a Lie

Let’s be honest. There is no such thing as Writer’s Block.

This is a phrase that we use to describe the frustrating experience of wishing to write without being able to. But there’s no such thing. We say that we have this thing called “writer’s block” and it’s the reason why we’ll never achieve our dreams. As if it’s a contracted disease. But it doesn’t exist.

What we are experiencing is the self-inflicted phenomenon of writers making choices that frequently lead to failure. And knowing that writer’s block is a myth is exactly what you need to beat it.