Archive for the 'CRAFT' Category

6 Writing Techniques I Learned at Storymasters

Today’s guest is David Bruns, the creator of the sci-fi series The Dream Guild Chronicles and one half of the Two Navy Guys and a Novel blog series about co-writing a military thriller. His latest novel is Weapons of Mass Deception, a story of modern-day nuclear terrorism that could be ripped from today’s headlines. David […]

Bombing Through It

Back in the nineties, before social networking or even blogs had been invented, I belonged to a chat list for published writers.  You carried on a slow conversation with like-minded people by sending e-mails to a central server, which then sent them out to all members of the list.  Tom Clancy, another list member, used […]

Awesome Combo! The 10 Keys to Writing Killer Fight Scenes

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Story is driven by conflict and action. This, of course, does not necessarily mean fisticuffs and car chases. But it should. If books weren’t meant to […]

The Dreaded Training Debate: What If It Can’t Be Taught?

No, this is not about talent vs. skill. Let’s just set that aside for today, shall we? There’s no need to engage the ineffable this time. “Like toadstools,” one seasoned observer called it in a note to me recently — this sudden proliferation of “author services,” especially the ones there to teach you, instruct you, […]

That Is the Question

When my son was small and not overly-verbal, he went through a phase where he’d point at something (or at nothing) and ask one of journalism’s Five W’s (plus one H). Just the one, single word. “Which?” he’d say, jabbing a stubby finger at the sky. Or he’d point in the direction of a worm wriggling blindly on the […]

Agonizing Over Antagonists

Like most writers, I keep a backlog of story ideas that I revisit from time to time, trying to decide what to write next. To help me with my choices, I analyze each idea, testing whether it has what I consider the essential components of a compelling book-length idea: a clear protagonist, strong primary conflict, […]

Dream Come True: Bringing a Great Classic Back to Life

The changes in the publishing industry in recent times can seem really daunting and, like most writers, there are times when I’ve thought dark thoughts about just what the future might hold. But if there are many challenges in the new landscape of publishing, there are also great new opportunities. The rise of self-publishing is […]

5 Things I’ve Learned from Writing a YA Novel

Please welcome today’s guest Sandra Gulland—an internationally bestselling author of biographical historical fiction set in France. She is known for the depth and accuracy of her research, as well as for creating novels that bring history vividly to life. Published by Simon & Schuster and Doubleday in the US, and HarperCollins in Canada, she is […]

When Your Scene is Dragging: 6 Ways to Add Tension

One of the very first books on craft I ever read, way back at the beginning of my writing career, was Writing the Breakout Novel, by our own Donald Maass. The book is full of excellent points on improving your craft (Don isn’t paying me to say that or anything; we’ve never met, and he […]


The surest way to stir emotion in readers can be summed up in one word: change. Change is a universal experience.  We’ve all gone through it.  We cannot avoid it.  The passages of life guarantee it.  Change is necessary, difficult, wrenching and individual.  When a character in a story changes we each recall the emotional […]