Blog Archives

The Soggy Middle Troubleshooting Guide

Last weekend at the Suffolk Mystery Authors Festival, I spoke with several writers who have gotten stuck in the middle of their books. They’ve got their plot points and character sheets. They start strong–love their hook, establish their characters and

Posted in Writer's Life

A Perfectionist’s Guide to Crappy First Drafts

Hi NaNo-ers and non-NaNo-ers. I was all set to write a post this week about how it’s okay to write a crappy first draft because you can always revise it…yada yada yada. I started writing it several times before I

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How to Write Compelling and Balanced Backstory

How to Write Compelling and Balanced Backstory | Jeni Chappelle

It’s not an overstatement to say that backstory can make or break your book. Too much, and your readers may be bored to tears—too little, and they won’t know what’s going on. So this week, I’m over at Elizabeth Spann

Posted in Writer's Life

What Makes an Amazing First Chapter?

This month, I’ve critiqued tons of ten-page samples, and most of them were the first pages of a novel. It’s reminded me how important the first chapter of your novel is. I know, I know—you’ve heard this a million times.

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Read Better to Write Better

In every writers group, in every forum, in every book or blog about writing—you’ll find this advice: if you want to write (or write better), read. See, it’s easy for writers to get caught up in the writing process and

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9 Simple and Powerful Ways to Write Body Language

Dialogue is a great tool to establish relationships between your characters and deepen emotional connection to your readers. But if you rely on dialogue alone to show how your characters interact, you’re missing a big opportunity. In real life, nonverbal

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DOs and DON’Ts of Deep POV

What deep POV is Deep POV (Point of View) has been increasing in publishing for the last 20 years or so, and it’s getting more popular every year. Sometimes it’s also called tight or close POV. If you’ve ever gotten

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Plot-driven or Character-driven: Does it Really Matter?

A lot of you have asked lately about the difference between plot-driven books and character-driven books. These terms are thrown around and often used pretty loosely. To many writers, the terms “character-driven” and “plot-driven” imply that one is less important

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Which is Better—First or Third Person Point of View?

POV (point of view, not power of veto, all you Big Brother viewers) is one of the most important decisions you’ll make when planning your book. Although traditionally third person is most popular, many writers find first person works better

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How to Escape the Show, Don’t Tell Trap

Nothing is worse than getting the dreaded “show, don’t tell” note back from your editor. You read it again and again, repeating in your mind: I thought I was showing. This looks like showing to me! So, how do you

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