Point of view – how storytellers create truth

Point of view tells us through whose eyes we see a story. No point of view, no story. This article tells you how to control point of view.

My daughter was reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige out loud while I was driving. It’s a pleasant way to pass some time, and we are both fans of Oz and its various spin-offs. [Read more…]

Story packing: Ara Grigorian’s Finding the Story Beats workshop (spoilers)

There is both an art and a science to setting the pace of your novel. Here is what Kristin learned at the Story Beats Workshop in Santa Barbara.

In a previous post we gave recommendations as to what to pack for a writers’ conference, in this case the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. Your humble correspondent spent last week at #SBWC15 and her bags proved to be well-stocked.

Packing for a trip is a great analogy for constructing story structure. You need to know your must-haves without which your vacation, a.k.a. the journey in the story, can’t succeed. [Read more…]

The stripper’s guide to writing

Mila Kunis should have been a stripper in Jupiter Ascending. Every story needs strippers – and it’s not what you’re thinking.

I love the movie Jupiter Ascending.  It has plenty of action and plot twists.  We are left guessing who is doing what, and just what their motives are.  And then there are the moral quandaries to contemplate.  And, of course, there is romance.

But there are no strippers. Every story needs strippers; let me explain. [Read more…]

Is my story good enough to publish?

Before hiring a ghostwriter, many people want to know if their story is “good enough”.  OK, let’s see if it is.

Many people who approach us to help them write their books want to know what we think of their story.  They ask if it’s good enough.  They want to know if they have a bestseller. Can their story keep readers perched on the edge of their seats, drooling for more?

Of course, the bestseller question comes too early, given how many factors go into the making of a bestseller (I list some of them here).  But it’s a fair question to ask if their story is good enough to be published – or more to the point, whether it is good enough to be worth publishing. [Read more…]

If cats could write epic novels

What are the elements that make bestseller fiction?  This true barn-cat story has them all.

This true story has all the makings of a bestseller for cats.  By way of background, we have two indoor cats, but this is not a story about them. This is a story about a whole community of “barn cats” that live outside our door.  Yes, we feed them; that’s my mother-in-law’s hobby.  Every few months, the composition of that community changes.  Some cats leave.  Some cats are born.  Some cats die.  Some cats return (not from the dead). [Read more…]

Two-sentence horror stories that will really freak you out!

An Internet genre is emerging: two-sentence horror stories, just perfect for the Twitter generation. Here are my contribution to the genre.

Have you heard of two sentence horror stories?  I was introduced to them through one that went something like this:

“My son insisted that I check for monsters under the bed.  So I crouched down to have a look, and there was my son whispering in fright, “Daddy, I think there’s someone in my bed.”

There are plenty more all over the Internet, so I thought I would try my hand at writing a few myself.  Below are the results.  If you would like to add to the list, please place your two-sentence horror story in the comments below. [Read more…]

Video Trailer – The Vostok Juncture

Canadian author Matt Chatelain’s video trailer for The Vostok Juncture promises adventure and intrigue.

We help authors from around the world put their ideas into words. So why are we so excited about a book we did not help write? Because the author is not from around the world, but very close to home (Brockville, Ontario), and we did help him produce his video trailer. Matt Chatelain wrote the adventure thriller The Vostok Juncture, which he calls “an all-action bobsled-run of a story”, and here is the video trailer we put together… [Read more…]

Use pictures to bust through writer’s block

When words don’t flow, the pen need not rest.
Give drawing a go, let pics do the rest.

One of the most frequent writing-related discussion topics in blogs and in forums is how to get past writer’s block – how to find ideas, how to take the next step in one’s manuscript.

Writer Brandy Moss inspired me with this posting on Google Plus: [Read more…]

How much should you plan your plot?

Fiction writers need to plan their plots. They need to be organized. But should they also allow their characters and the plot to develop on their own?

Most people coming to us to help them write their manuscripts are first-time writers. They often don’t know where to start, or have started and are not sure where to go next. One really good question is “How much should I plan my plot?”

A huge caveat needs to be placed on any answer to this, including my answer here. No two writers are the same. No two stories are the same. The best answer for you might not be the best answer for another author. So take the following paragraphs as good advice that might be helpful, but don’t take it as Gospel truth. [Read more…]