Guest Visitor
David Safford: Becoming Writer, Editor, Super Moderator
Member since January 17, 2017

David Safford is the author of The Bean of Life, the story of a man who decides to save the world with coffee. He also wrote the free book 10 Reasons Readers Quit Your Book to help writers create stories that work every time, available here. Between writing and teaching, he plays The Legend of Zelda with his three-year-old daughter and escapes to the Great Smoky Mountains whenever he can.


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Want to write a novel readers can’t put down?

I’d love to come up with a yarn that grabs people like Harry Potter and The Hunger Games did. Doing so would practically guarantee a large and loyal fanbase for years!

Yet writing this kind of story is deceptively difficult. The story we want to write is always a good one in our own minds. But when we put the words on the page, they rarely possess the page-turning qualities we imagined they would.

Thankfully, there’s a way to set yourself up for success. Here’s how to write a novel that readers can’t put down!

How to Write a Novel That Readers Can’t Put Down »

It’s practically inevitable. You’re rockin’ and rollin’ through your writing, feeling invincible, and then you reach a sudden halt: You’re blocked. The words won’t come. It seems like there’s nothing more, and yet you’ve got things to do! Deadlines to meet! Dreams to fulfill!

It can seem impossible. But never fear: it can be done.

Here’s how to write a book when you’ve got writer’s block.

How to Write a Book When You’ve Got Writer’s Block »

Do you want to help people? Do you feel a calling to use your writing to be a voice of encouragement to others? Do you want to know how to write a self-help book that will share your stories and wisdom with thousands of readers?

Thanks to the unique life that you’ve lived, only you have access to the treasure trove of experience and knowledge in your heart and mind. Within that trove are lessons that readers need to learn, and only you can teach them.

How to Write a Self-Help Book »

At first glance, running and writing don’t seem to go together. Writing involves sitting and thinking, while running involves sweat and suffering. Yet running and writing have a lot in common, and studying one can improve your ability to succeed at the other.

5 Ways Running a Marathon Can Improve Your Writing »

One of the greatest challenges of writing better stories is knowing exactly which scenes to write. The best scenes focus on the core elements of conflict — which means before you can write amazing scenes, you have to find the conflict in a story.

Strong scenes come from strong plans. And visualizing the conflict between your characters is a great way to do just that.

How to Find the Conflict in a Story »

Let’s face it: You love to write. Yet a moment always seems to come when that passion feels more like a prison.

Perhaps it’s due to a crushing deadline. Maybe writing becomes exhausting because the words just don’t come. Maybe the readers don’t come either, and you wonder whether writing is even worth it.

It’s so important for writers to know how to rest. To step back from these pressures and find hope. Overcoming burnout — or the early stages of burnout, if you realize you’re getting worn down — is vital to your writing and your own well-being.

Overcoming Burnout: How to Recover When You’re Exhausted From Writing »

What if there was one thing you could change about your writing that could almost instantly make it better?

There is! There is a storytelling element that I’ve seen as an entrant and judge of multiple fiction contests that makes stories work and win, standing out above the rest.

And that single, difference-making element is a Powerful Choice.

Dilemma: 4 Powerful Steps to Make Your Characters Choose »

Don’t you love a great twist?

Often appearing in the middle or at the end of a story, a twist can completely transform the reading experience into a wild ride where anything can happen. But executing a twist isn’t easy, and if done improperly, can leave your reader feeling deeply disappointed.

And that’s just what many writers unsuspectingly do.

How to Surprise Your Readers With a Brilliant Twist »

There is a book inside you. There has to be. Why else are you reading a post about writing a book?

Getting that book out, of course, is the extremely difficult part. The words don’t come out as we imagine. The time to write shrinks as life gets busier. And so many questions vex us — so many lies that we tell ourselves to avoid the challenge ahead.

But you have to write your book. It’s one of the greatest driving forces in your life. Here are the lies that might be holding you back, and the truths you need to overcome them.

4 Lies That Are Keeping You From Writing a Book »

Have you participated in a writing challenge like NaNoWriMo or our 7 Day Creative Writing Challenge? Congratulations! Whether you met your goal or didn’t quite make it, you’ve written words that weren’t there before.

Now, don’t let all your hard work go to waste. It’s critical that you capitalize on your momentum before it slips away.

The One Essential Step After a Writing Challenge »

Where do you find story ideas? Here are seven inspirational ideas to fuel your creativity. What kinds of stories will these writing prompts lead you to tell?

Writing Prompts: 7 Inspirational Ideas to Spark Your Creative Writing »

For most of us, our 2018 writing goals probably involve rewriting a work in progress. It’s a draft, roughly complete or unfinished, that never seems to be “done,” no matter how much we tinker with it.

There’s a reason we get stuck in these perpetual works in progress. And if we don’t figure out how to overcome it, we might find ourselves in the same sticky mess 365 days from now.

Why You Should Rewrite Your Story This Year »

I love the Christmas season. I love decorating the tree and baking cookies with my daughter. I love wrapping presents and hiding them from prying eyes.

But with every passing holiday season, I find myself loving something less and less each year: Rampant consumerism, and the impossible expectations that come with it.

What if this year, you give something different? What if you gift writing instead of things?

6 Thoughtful Ways to Gift Your Writing »

Being a know-it-all, I’ve always assumed I was a good teacher and coach. I’ve often taken that attitude into blog posts and book chapters, and then wondered why I received negative comments and feedback.

I’m learning a tough lesson about successful teaching and coaching: Tone is everything.

Because if we coach with the wrong tone, we might not be coaching at all, but driving our readers away!

Tone in Writing: The Uplifting Tone Your Writing Needs to Reach Your Readers »

I love Joseph Campbell’s monomyth theory. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s the idea that every hero, and hero’s journey, uses many of the same characters, symbols, and themes.

So in honor of Thanksgiving, let’s write a story with the Noble Gobbler in the role of the hero, or Pro-turk-onist!

Holiday Writing Prompt: The 12 Steps of the Turkey Hero’s Journey »

Writing a novel in a month is a wonderful idea. But it’s hard for a multitude of reasons, and the temptation to give up and just “do it over time” can be really appealing, especially as we approach Day 8 of the journey.

I know it’s hard. But quitting, or choosing to simply abstain, is the worst thing you can do right now if you have a passion for writing.

Why Quitting NaNoWriMo Hurts More Than Just Your Writing »

I’m not gonna lie: I hate writing the Middle.

If you’re anything like me, the Beginning is easy. It’s fun to come up with a cool premise for a story. The conflict is there. The goals are plain as day. And getting your protagonist into trouble shouldn’t be too difficult.

The End can seem easy, too. The End of a story is like the candy center of the lollipop — you can’t wait to get to it! Of course you can’t write it yet because you haven’t gotten there, but with each moment of drafting, your heart is dead-set on reaching the end so you can reveal a great twist, kill off a beloved character, or teach a remarkable life lesson.

But for some reason, there’s something about a story’s Middle that’s a pain in the neck.

Middle of the Story: 5 Gripping Ways to Revive Your Story’s Messy Middle »

We all know that feeling. You’ve been slaving over a story. You’re twitchy with caffeine. Your family hasn’t heard from you for hours, or even days.

But then you finish!

If you’re like most writers, you’re thrilled. You’ve just poured your heart and soul into this and you want some sweet affirmation after all your hard work.

So as you share your work, you ask a seemingly innocent question: “Is it good?”

This question may seem harmless enough. But this is a dangerous question, and if you want to become a better storyteller and write stories that actually ARE good, you need to stop asking if your work is “good” and pursue a much different route.

Writing Feedback: Why You Should Stop Asking If Your Story Is Good »

We think that we need talent in order to be successful writers—or musicians, or golfers. But the truth is, writing, like any other skill, is learned and improved through daily discipline. Are you maintaining the disciplines you need to become a successful writer?

Writing Discipline: Why Talent Isn’t Enough (And What You Need Instead) »

Inspiration comes in many forms. It may be a lovely tune from your playlist; A stunning vista in nature; A wildly creative turn-of-phrase you overhear in a coffee shop. Nearly anything. Like all creative minds, you sit down to convert this nugget of inspiration into a story.

But then you hit a wall. How do you transform raw inspiration into an actual story? How do you turn inspiration into a novel plan?

How to Transform Raw Inspiration Into a Solid Novel Plan »