New Novel Worksheets| 3 Worksheets That’ll Help You Get Started Writing Your Novel

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Starting a new novel scares writers, even authors who’ve been at this writing game for years. In this post I’m going to give you three simple worksheets to help you firm up the novel that’s trapped in your head. Once you’ve put words on the page, you’ll have taken the first step in writing the […]

Character Checklists | Fill One Out for Every Character in Your Book

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Beginning Writers

Character checklists can help you keep track of the people in your novel. Using character checklists gives you a systematic way to explore the wants, needs, and personality traits of all your people, not just the ones onstage at the moment. In the prewriting stage, I use the questionnaire below to help me get to know […]

Hiring An Editor | Should You Spend The Money?

You’ve slaved over your novel, and now you’re ready to send it out into the world. Should you consider hiring an editor, and if so, what kind? If your novel needs help with plot and characterization, hire a developmental editor. If you’re shaky on facts and need someone to check your dates, proper names, timeline, […]

Writing Dialogue | A Writer’s Cheat Sheet

Writing dialogue comes naturally to many writers. Others avoid it entirely. If you are going to use dialogue, make sure you work hard to capture readers’ interest. Here’s a cheat sheet with pointers I’ve picked up over the years. Must-Dos When Writing Dialogue Dialogue must do three things. It must: sound realistic advance the plot […]

Dialogue Exercises : 40 Writing Prompts To Get You Going

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Dialogue exercises are a great way to strengthen your ability to listen to your characters. When you’re working on dialogue exercises, you’re not worrying about plot or where the scene’s headed. You’re not distracted by furniture or waiters or sunsets. In essence, you’re closing your eyes and giving your complete attention to the subtext of […]

Writing Your Memoir | A Step-by-Step Guide

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Memoir Writers

Writing a memoir will force you to dig deep in the archives of your soul. When you recall the past and try to figure out just what it is that’s compelling you write a memoir, you’ll find yourself looking through old photos, postcards, letters, and newspaper clippings. Writing a memoir can be as overwhelming as […]

Writing A Memoir | 5 Common Misconceptions

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers, For Memoir Writers

So you’ve always dreamed of writing a memoir. Where should you start, and how can you get a handle on the big and small turning points, traumas, and people that constitute your life? Several subscribers to this blog are writing memoirs, and I want to help them get started (or finished). Are You Confused? Writing […]

What Makes A Good First Line?

A good first line is one that draws the reader into the world of the story. Kick off your story with a sentence that makes the reader want to read the next one, and so on, until the end. A good first line can entice the reader by doing one or more of the following: […]

Limited Third Point-of-View Explained Simply

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Limited third person point-of-view (POV) lets you experience the world through the eyes of a single character. The experience is so intimate that you’ll soon begin to hear the character’s voice inside your head. As an author you’ll be especially interested in knowing about limited third because of its potential to build a close emotional […]

Fictional Characters | Shhh! Secrets Revealed!

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Beginning Writers

Know your fictional characters before you start your novel, and you’ll have a much easier time figuring out your plot. That’s because plot (which is action) arises from character, and not the other way around. If you can get your characters to share their hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets, you’ll know which obstacles to place […]