Tag Archive 'writing'

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 […]

Change

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 […]

Character Cue: Whose Line is it Anyway? An Easy Exercise to Strengthen Voice

Voice is one of my favorite aspects of craft to play with and talk about. Voice was the subject of my very first post here at Writer Unboxed. Today’s post will be short and sweet—a nifty, easy peasy, so-simple-it-seems-stupid trick to strengthen voice in revision. When I’m helping someone with a manuscript, I sometimes find […]

Feeding Your Readers Information: A Look at a Master

    As so often happens, the comments on last month’s piece (What Do Your Readers Know and When Do They Know It) showed that there was a lot more to the topic than I could cover in a single column.  So I thought it would help to look in some detail at how a master […]

Emotional Work

I’ve been teaching a new kind of craft lately. It’s emotional craft, the understanding and planning of a novel’s emotional effect on readers. Most authors focus on characters’ emotions, principally the much discussed issue of showing versus telling. That’s fine but limiting. For readers, most of the emotional experience of a novel doesn’t come from […]

Knowing When to Walk Away

Please welcome Marisa de los Santos, New York Times bestselling author of four novels for adults, including (most recently) The Precious One, Love Walked In and Belong to Me; and one for middle grade readers, Saving Lucas Biggs, which she co-wrote with her husband David Teague. She lives in Wilmington, Delaware, with David, their two […]

We Are What We Write?

Kim here to welcome and introduce WU’s latest contributor, Therese Anne Fowler. Therese is the author of the New York Times bestselller Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald and three other novels. She has a BA in sociology/cultural anthropology, an MFA in creative writing, and occasionally teaches writing workshops at North Carolina State University. Therese […]

Writing and Publishing that Second Book

Today’s guest is Michele Young-Stone whose life’s dream was to write and publish a novel. A former English teacher, she achieved her dream and surpassed it with the release (this month) of her second novel Above Us Only Sky. Her first novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, was published in 2010 and was a Target […]

Let’s Talk About Me

“Let’s talk about me!” Generally speaking, that’s not good advice for handling yourself in social situations.  Better is to listen and ask questions.  Being interested in others is the way to make friends and influence people.  (Smile too.  That helps.) In bonding readers to characters on the page, though, the reverse is true.  We open […]

How Does Your Novel Grow? The Writing/Gardening Connection

Perhaps this essay is only my desperate attempt to connect to spring in spite of the seven inches of additional snow currently falling on my yard and life. I should be glad to have a reason to stay inside and stick to my writing schedule, before gardening season distracts me. But I am itchy to […]