Dirty Little Secrets to Writing a Good Story

In my post Two Secret Rules for Writers, I said the secret was that there isn’t a secret in writing. I may have to take that back. The truth is there are dirty little secrets to writing a good story. One secret? There’s probably no new story under the sun. Why? Are we writers’ incapable of an original thought? Heck no! The originality comes from the blend and the bend of the story as told by that particular writer at that particular time. Stories come from the stories we have consumed (read, heard, or viewed). So they are all a melding of a ton of different things. Study Story To write the best stories one must study the masters. Study the successful stories. What makes them tick? And how can I use that in my story? Pantsers decry outlines and story structure to their story’s detriment. The way the human brain processes story demands a structure we can recognize. You don’t have to start from an outline, but whatever you write must have the parts in it to be successful. Mish-Mash I’ve mixed bits and pieces of Westerns and Space Opera and Thrillers and mythology. Yes, they went into one […]

Re-visioning Again

It’s summer. I’ve got a book going live in a couple of weeks and there are family issues to attend. So, this Wednesday post is directing you back to an eight-week blog post series I wrote a long while ago. It’s my version of revising your manuscript. I call it re-visioning. Re-visioning Your Story: week 1  Revision is probably the single most difficult thing a writer must do. Now, I know some of you are going to remind me that there are those who advise not to revise, except to editorial demand. I believe there are some writers out that who have so internalized the process that for them there is little or no revision needed. I’m not one of those writers . . . yet. Am I an expert on revision? I don’t claim to be an expert. Or to know THE ONE WAY to revise. But, I have done a lot of revision – the wrong way. I have also read tons of how to write books and blogs, and taken more than a few classes. I’ve had a few stories published and I have taught a few writing classes. So I’d like to share what I’ve learned […]

Writer’s Block Is Not The End

Writer’s block. Feared and mocked and denied and suffered, it happens. It can be debilitating. But writer’s block is not the end. Some writers say they don’t believe in writer’s block. Carpenters don’t get carpenters’ block. And surgeons don’t get surgeons’ block (thank goodness!) So writer’s blocked is “made up” or “an excuse.” I thought that, too. Yet, I’ve experienced writer’s block. And I’m not alone. Many, many writers have experienced writer’s block. What Is Writer’s Block? It’s nothing–and everything. It’s one writer’s block. Particular to each individual writer and their lives, writer’s block reflects their life challenges, their fears, and the lies they tell themselves. There’s a wall, a giant brick, unscalable wall between the creator and the words. You face the blank page or the blank screen and the words won’t come day after day after day–that’s writer’s block. For some, it is momentary–minutes or hours in length. For others, it’s temporary–days or weeks. There are some who find writer’s block to be chronic and debilitating for months or years. The words. WON’T. Come. What Causes Writer’s Block? All kinds of things–most involve fear. Fear that the writing isn’t good enough. The writer may be afraid that the […]