Have you ever had a great book idea, or started a story but failed to finish it? Did you try setting writing goals to finish your story, but couldn’t keep up with your giant ambitions?
Did failing to meet your writing goals end in your giving up?
Goal setting is not as straightforward as it seems. Bad goals reinforce bad habits. If you want to become a writer and finish your writing projects, you need to set goals that you can meet—while also pushing you to complete your writing projects.
In this article, you will learn the two types of goals every writer can set and accomplish. You’ll also learn four major reasons every writer needs to actually finish their writing projects—along with tips on how to do this.
We’re venturing into a realm where writers bend the rules of grammar in the name of creativity, but to the great frustration of editors. A comma splice is one of the most easily avoidable grammatical travesties.
Recently my publisher recommended I read the novel “If Beale Street Could Talk” by James Baldwin.
Baldwin is known by many for being a political writer during the Civil Rights movement, but what struck me about Beale Street was how he conveyed this emotion. He does such a great job making me feel Tish’s love, desperation, etc. throughout the book such that I found myself thinking, “how did he do that?”
How did Baldwin so successfully evoke emotion in Beale Street? Here are some of the answers I came up with.
Stories are complicated, twisty, multi-faceted things. At some point, in many of the best stories, it feels like everything is in complete chaos, and then, seemingly all at once, it’s as if the chaos has come to a head in a way that makes everything line up perfectly.
And one of the best tools in a writer’s tool belt is the subplot.
But what is a subplot? How can you spot it in the books and stories you love most? And if you’re a writer, how do you use it to tell better stories?
In this article, I’m sharing everything you need to know about subplots. I’ll start with the definition of the literary term, then show you how it fits into a story structure, examples of some of my favorite subplots, and even tips from my own experience on writing novels with subplots.
You’ve probably heard this one before: Your character must change throughout the course of your story. Characters need to transform.
I see a lot of confusion over this concept. Writers can normally nail the change (weak to strong; bad to good; cynical to optimistic) but it often comes from a weird place that doesn’t sit quite right with what we know about the protagonist. Or it’s too big of a change (or too much of a “fairy tale ending”) to be believable.
Writers think that great characters need drastic changes, but this isn’t always the case.
Let’s take a look at how writers should deal with character change, and how creating a character arc might make for a more interesting cast and plot.
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?
How many of you have been writing for a while? This article is for you—though if you’re brand-new, this will eventually apply to you, too. Ahem. There will come a day when it’s time to start that story over from scratch.
If you’ve opened a novel and seen a quote on the opening pages then you’ve seen a literary epigraph. But what are they really? Why do authors use them? And how do you know if you need one for your own work in progress?
In stories, we get to see the cause-and-effect connections between otherwise random events. We get to experience the deeper meaning in life. We get to see through the chaos of real life and see the underlying pattern.
The literary term for this pattern is story arc, and humans love story arcs.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the definition of story arcs, look at the six most commonly found story arcs in literature, talk about how to use them in your writing, and, finally, study which story arcs are the most successful.
Recall a time you made an effort to get someone to like you. Did you try to get them to relate to you, or want to spend more time with you? It’s kind of the same way with the main character in your book. Readers finish books when they care about what happens to the protagonist. To accomplish this, you need to craft a sympathetic character.
When you write a book, you’re asking readers to invite your character into their homes, their hangouts, their lives. It’s important to create a protagonist your reader wants to spend time with and that they care about enough to stick around to find out what happens to them.
Without that vital concern, suspense cannot be sustained. And without suspense, the reader will lose interest in your story. I talked about this in depth in my post on suspense.
Today, let’s talk about how to make your readers like—if not love—your characters so that you can sustain suspense in your book.