Tag Archive 'advice for writers'

Creating Unforgettable Characters

Flickr Creative Commons: Grace Commons

I’m fascinated by personality tests, you know, the kind you run across all the time online or in magazines. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test twice (I’m an INFJ), the Keirsey Temperament Test (also an INFJ) and studied the Enneagram (I’m a 2). And while all of this is fodder for good cocktail party conversation and self-analysis, one of the biggest benefits of thinking about personality types is the way it’s helped me create characters in […]

What Your Writer’s Resume Says About Your Chances for Recognition

Lately, a new mantra has caught on: “There’s no better time to be a writer.” Not only has self-publishing helped open the doors to so many aspiring authors, but the online world has created more opportunities than ever before to build a platform, network and self-promote.

From a schmoozing and promotion perspective, anything seems possible.  We can have conversations with Jodi Picoult on Twitter, send Facebook messages to Paulo Coehlo and mingle with top agents and editors right here on Writer […]

Plotting the Non-Plot-Driven Novel

Have you ever grown impatient with a novel?  Have you ever restlessly flipped ahead wishing that something would happen?  Of course.  It’s a common feeling.  Put politely, you feel frustrated.  Put plainly, you’re bored.

Perhaps your own current manuscript has also had you feeling, at times, impatient.  Have you struggled to find a way to make things happen?  Do you sense that the inner state of your main character is significant, but that it isn’t turning into events dramatic enough?  Do […]

The Point of Writing

Flickr Creative Commons: Jason Eppink

There’s a lot of talk these days about getting yourself a presence on social media, upping your profile, selling yourself, marketing your work, using every angle and every connection in order to “get out there,” hustle your product, hit the bestseller lists, make a splash.

This post is just to remind you that none of this is what writing is about.

Writing is about finding out who you are, what you have to say that is not […]

On Not Giving Up

This week, my new adult novel, first in a big new series called Trinity, is coming out.

I’m going to be celebrating even more than usual, because this one’s had a long hard road to publication, with nearly four years and several rejections before it was accepted. Even though I’m a well-established author with many books to my name, it looked like this one was fated to remain homeless. ‘Too different’ seemed to be the verdict. A mix of urban fantasy, […]

The Meaning of Everything

Photo by Donald Maass

It was my son’s seventh birthday.  We asked what he wanted.  He told us.  And so…

…we got a puppy.

A boy and his dog.  Growing up  together.  How sweet.  How classic.  Our son is adopted.  He comes from a hard place.  He has struggled to attach, a long process of pendulum swings from safety to fear and back again.  What a perfect gift for this boy we love so much: a puppy all his own to love […]

Everything I Need to Know About Plot, I Learned From Buffy

photo by Jaina

A couple of weeks ago, a client told me one of his beta readers had said his book read like a comic book.  I asked why that was a bad thing.

Granted, you don’t want your characters to be shallow caricatures or your plot to be mechanical or contrived, which is what many people mean by “reads like a comic book.”  But all of this client’s characters were fully rounded and plausibly human.  Even the psychopath who hunted […]

Interview: Ellen Edwards, Executive Editor at Penguin Random House

I have been with Ellen Edwards at New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House, since I became a traditionally published author. In an age where writers often lament that they do not get edited, I can firmly say that not only do I get edited, but Ellen’s sharp eye, brilliance, and insights have greatly enhanced my work. She is a master at finding the diamond in the rough, and like any great coach, she encourages me to grow and learn […]

Two Pages Tell a Story

By Hana Carpenter (Flickr CC)

Today’s guest is Yona Zeldis McDonough, the award-winning author of six novels, most recently You Were Meant for Me. She is also the author of twenty-three books for children and she’s the editor of two essay collections. Of today’s post, Yona says: “I have written six novels and I want to share some of what I have learned along the way.  Writing a novel is a like being a long distance runner—you have to have endurance. […]

Advice From My Authors

Flickr Creative Commons: Jean Henrique Wichinoski

I’ve spent the last year offering agent advice on Writer Unboxed—everything from writing query letters to maintaining an open and productive working relationship with your representative. As I sit down today, I fear I may be fresh out of wisdom of my own, but as I think of some of the best advice I’ve learned during my 15 years in the business, it’s advice I’ve learned from the amazing group of authors I am […]

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 […]

On Rejection and Renewal: A Note to Aspiring Novelists

Photo by Scott White

Our guest today is Warren Adler, best known for The War of the Roses, his masterpiece fictionalization of a macabre divorce turned into the Golden Globe and BAFTA nominated dark comedy hit starring Michael Douglas, Kathleen Turner, and Danny DeVito. Adler’s international hit stage adaptation of the novel will premiere on Broadway in 2015-2016 (to be produced by Jay and Cindy Gutterman). Adler has also optioned and sold film rights for a number of his works […]