Archive for the 'Humor' Category

Your NaNoWriMo Road Map

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.

Happy National Novel Writing Month! At this stage of the process, you may feel like you’re sinking in a morass of flat characters and plot holes. This is completely natural. Lucky for you, I’m here to guide you the rest of the way with a daily regimen that will keep you on […]

Losing One’s Marbles

You’ve all heard the big news: 9 out of 10 dentists agree that the path to publication requires sitting our tush in our writing chair and putting words on the page at least once a day. Even when we don’t feel like it. Even when we have writer’s block. Even when we are busy working two other jobs and have a new baby or an untrained puppy or an ill child or aging parent . . . or all of that at once.

I’m no dentist, but I […]

The Five Stages of New Writers’ Grief

© iStockphoto.com

Earlier this year, at an online forum for writers that I frequent, I watched a familiar scenario play itself out. A new member joined the forum, full of excitement (and not a small amount of hubris) about the novel he’d just completed. As he posted his early attempts at a query letter for others to review and critique, two things quickly became clear:

He was convinced the rest of the forum would be utterly dazzled by his unmatched literary […]

The Secrets to Writing the Best Holiday Stories Ever

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.

Have spooky decorations and giant grab-bags of candy put you in the mood to write a Halloween story? Or perhaps you’re skipping ahead to Christmas and writing a tale about the beloved Christmas icon, Krampus? No matter what you’re celebrating, holiday stories are a treat for readers and writers alike. You may […]

Why You Need To Write a Series

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.

What started as a tiny germ of a story has exploded in your brain like a Mentos in a bottle of Diet Coke. If you want your readers to get a taste of your frothy soda-splosion, you owe it to them to write an entire series. Here are a few tried-and-true methods […]

It’s a funny world.

A lot of humorous novels build the comedy into the characters.  We watch two hapless lovers stumble toward each other in rom-coms or pull themselves out of increasingly bizarre situations in screwballs.  You can write this kind of humor with nothing more than insight into human nature and enough love for your characters to laugh at them.  But you need a different set of skills to create a book where the comedy is built into your fictional world, whether it’s the […]

Dear Dwight: A Critique Letter

photo by Josh McGinn

When we realized we had a gaping hole in the WU calendar for today, we asked a comic friend to write something up for us.

“But I’m not a writer,” he said.
“You are,” we said.
“It won’t be right for your crowd,” he said.
“C’mon,” we said. “Our crowd has a sense of humor, too. And it’s Saturday.”

He agreed. Though he insisted he remain anonymous.

Enjoy!

Dear Dwight,

I recently finished the draft of your historical fiction manuscript and offer my […]

If Buddha Wrote a Novel

By Jenny Downing on Flickr’s Creative Commons

Today’s guest is Renee Swindle, the author of newly released A Pinch Of Ooh La La and Shake Down The Stars (NAL/Penguin). Her first novel, Please Please Please, was an Essence Magazine bestseller. Renee has an MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. An admitted tea snob, Renee lives in Oakland with three rescue dogs and three cats—“Yep, six animals and me,” says Renee.

Dish magazine says, “Swindle has a way of making […]

The Six Archetypes Every Novel Needs

Archetypes are time-tested character types from which hundreds of your favorite characters are drawn. Harry Potter. Ishmael. General Woundwort. All of these are based on classic archetypes that I’m too lazy to look up but I’m pretty sure have origins that date back thousands of years. Here are the six character archetypes you need to put in your novel to create your own classic characters.

The Hero

The person your reader will follow around for a few hundred pages. His sword: sharp. […]

Better than They Know Themselves

“Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?”

~ Henry David Thoreau (Walden)

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Most readers and writers agree: the most memorable part of a story is usually not the plot, but the characters. It follows that as writers, we need to know our characters very well. And if we do our jobs, by the end of the book the reader will know our characters very well, too.

But something I haven’t […]

Cooking a Book

Wikimedia Commons

There’s this guy. He’s an adrenaline junkie. The woman’s a massage therapist. They meet and… and… and… well of course they fall in love. That’s a given. But it won’t last (or will it?). And then there’s something about traveling from Montana to Maine and jumping out of a million airplanes. His name’s Elias… no J.P., and hers is Ellie. No. Allison. And of course they both have secrets—his involves feeling responsible for someone’s death, maybe an ex-lover. […]

Nominal Doppelgängers

Photo credit: Torbus (Flickr CC)

Today’s guest is Elizabeth Silver, author of The Execution of Noa P. Singleton, an Amazon Best Book of the Year, Amazon Best Debut of the Month, a Kirkus Best Book of the Summer, Kansas City Star Best Book of the Year, Oprah “Ten Books to Pick up Now,” and selection for the Target Emerging Author Series.

Elizabeth’s writing has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Los Angeles Review, The Millions, and others. A graduate of the […]