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Aaron Sorkin MasterClass Review: Will This Help You Master Screenwriting?

Aaron Sorkin MasterClass Review: Will This Help You Master Screenwriting?

I’m always looking for new opportunities to improve my writing. As an author and businessman, learning and improving the tools that keep me in business are a high priority on my daily list of to-dos. After all, if you’re not growing, you’re stagnating. And no one can afford to be stagnant in the business of writing.

MasterClass offers a cool opportunity to take online courses from masters in their fields. Is it worth it? Specifically, is Aaron Sorkin’s screenwriting class worth it? And will it help you?

The Secret Cartel Behind Every Great Writer

The Secret Cartel Behind Every Great Writer

The stereotypical writer used to be a silent, brooding genius who kept to himself and rarely ventured into the outside world, except to do “research” on how the subjects of his stories lived. People imagined an entire profession of Emily Dickinsons, pale and contemplative.

However, for nearly every famous writer—from Ernest Hemingway to Virginia Woolf, J.R.R. Tolkien to Mary Shelley—this stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth.

And the truth is that nearly every great writer had a Cartel.

Cailyn Lloyd on How to Get Great Feedback From Beta Readers and Editors

Cailyn Lloyd on How to Get Great Feedback From Beta Readers and Editors

At some point in your writing process, you’re going to need to put your work into the hands of others. Beta readers and professional editors should be an important part of your writing team. (And yes, writing is a team sport!)

I often get a lot of questions about the revision process, namely how to get beta readers and when to hire a professional editor. Our interviewee this month is here to answer those questions!

Why Is Dialogue Important? 7 Roles Dialogue Plays in a Story

Why Is Dialogue Important? 7 Roles Dialogue Plays in a Story

If you’re looking for a surefire way to improve your story, you’ll be happy to know there’s a fast-acting method at your disposal. According to writing expert James Scott Bell, it’s “the fastest way to improve any manuscript.”

I’m talking about dialogue.

But here’s the thing—dialogue is more than just the words you put in your characters’ mouths. On screen and stage, it’s the actor’s job to take his lines and infuse them with meaning, expression, emotion, and so on. On the page, that’s your job.

How to Research Your Genre to Write Better Stories

How to Research Your Genre to Write Better Stories

The first time I wrote a novel, I didn’t think about genre until the first draft was done, and I began trying to untangle my mess in revision. After two painful years (mostly comprised of avoidance, procrastination, and general despair), I hired a developmental editor who began our first phone call by asking, “What kind of book is this?” and “Who is your ideal reader?”

“It’s for everyone,” I said. I could hear the rise and fall of my breathing in the silence.

“No, it isn’t,” she said in a kind, but firm voice. Within minutes, I realized I had skipped a clarifying question that would guide every step of the book process from the plot and characters to cover design and marketing.

How to Keep Score in Your Story With Scene Goals

How to Keep Score in Your Story With Scene Goals

Imagine attending a football game with no rules. I don’t know about you, but there’s a limit to how excited I could get about watching a bunch of men run around with no particular aim in mind. Really, except for the tight pants, it would be pointless.

What makes the game worth watching is knowing your team has a goal, and knowing there’s an opposing team aiming to stop them from achieving it. That’s what pulls you to the edge of your seat, screaming and pumping your fist in the air.

It’s the same when you read fiction. If the writer hasn’t told you how to keep score, you have no way of knowing whether the characters are drawing nearer or farther from accomplishing their goals, and little reason to care.

How the Rising Action Works in a Story: Definition and Examples of This Dramatic Structure Element

How the Rising Action Works in a Story: Definition and Examples of This Dramatic Structure Element

If you’ve ever told a good story—one that has your friends or family on the floor laughing, or else on the edge of their seat asking, “What happened next?!”—then you know that you can’t get to the point of the story too quickly.

Instead, you draw out interest. You talk about all the things that went wrong. You make jokes and accentuate the best details. When you’re done, it’s not the punchline people remember; it’s everything leading up to it.

The same is true when you’re writing a story, particularly in novels, memoirs, and screenplays. It’s called the Rising Action, and it’s essential to get it right IF you want to write entertaining, informative, and deeply connecting stories.

In this article, I’m going to talk about the rising action: what it is, how it works in a story, how it’s been treated by scholars who study story structure throughout history, and finally how you can use it to write a great story.

Story Arcs: Definitions and Examples of the 6 Shapes of Stories

Story Arcs: Definitions and Examples of the 6 Shapes of Stories

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.

Situational Irony: 3 Steps to Surprise Your Readers With Ironic Twists

Situational Irony: 3 Steps to Surprise Your Readers With Ironic Twists

So, you’ve figured out how to write a story that works. You know you need a character, in a setting, with a problem. You know you need a series of try/fail cycles, followed by a climactic scene and the resolution. The structure is simple, but it’s not always easy.

In particular, it can be challenging to sustain and escalate the story’s momentum through those try/fail cycles. And it would be nice to have something that could give your story a delicious ribbon of flavor, instilling brilliance and meaning.

Here’s the good news—there is such a technique. It’s called situational irony, and in this article, we’re going to take a look at what it’s made of and how to construct it in your own work.

How to Write a Good First Chapter: A Checklist

How to Write a Good First Chapter: A Checklist

For the writer, there’s nothing harder than writing the first chapter and final chapter of a book. It is here that all of your perfectionism rears its ugly head calling for a full halt to your progress.

I’ve written and rewritten my first chapter dozens of times, and I’m not alone. Most writers struggle figuring out how to start their novel, and it makes sense. Your first chapter can make or break your book: with readers, agents, and publishers.

So then how do you do it? How do you write a good first chapter? In this post, I’m going to walk you through the ten things you need to accomplish in your first chapter, and give you a checklist that you can use in your novel.

10 Critical Mistakes Writers Make in Writing Contests

10 Critical Mistakes Writers Make in Writing Contests

You work hard to write your best story—and if you’re honest, you’re pretty sure it’s amazing. You share it with other writers to get their feedback, and they agree. You work up your courage and hit the “Submit” button, sending it off to a mysterious panel of writing contest judges.

And then . . . you wait. What will the judges think? Will they agree your story deserves to win it all? Did you write the kind of story that will catch the judges’ eye? What kind of story is that, anyway?

I’m going to take you behind the scenes and reveal exactly what judges are looking for when they choose the winners of writing contests.

Publisher Rocket vs KD Spy: Which Is Best for You?

Publisher Rocket vs KD Spy: Which Is Best for You?

As an author, Amazon is where you need to be if you want to make a success out of your career, whether you’re publishing in Kindle Unlimited or publishing “wide” (to multiple retailers). But the competition these days is off the charts. You’ll need to write a great story, have an amazing cover and a good keyword research tool to help you set your book apart—whether it’s for Kindle keywords, competition analysis, or Amazon ads. 

Luckily, there are a few tools out there that help you reverse-engineer the marketing of successful books. These tools are great for idea generation, market research and putting your book in the best position to sell well. 

Two popular options are Publisher Rocket and KD Spy. In this article, we’ll compare them side-by-side and find out which is the best option for you.

The Magic of Atmosphere: Literary Definition and Genre Examples

The Magic of Atmosphere: Literary Definition and Genre Examples

Atmosphere matters. People will pay a premium to eat at a restaurant with a certain ambience or buy a house in a setting that supports a particular feeling. In like manner, your reader won’t remember every word you wrote, but if you infuse the story with atmosphere, they will remember the way it made them feel. And readers read in order to feel something.

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