Kick Off Your Novel With a Great First Line

by Marylee MacDonald in For Readers, For Writers Doing Revisions

The first line of your novel could be the most important sentence you write, but don’t worry about perfecting it until you’ve written all the way to the end. Your first and last lines are what connect the arc of the plot, and if you don’t yet know how the story ends, you can only […]

Could A Writing Getaway Improve Your Focus?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

A writing getaway can inspire you to write your novel or finish it. I plan a getaway when I’m doing my final edits and don’t want a lot of distractions. You know the kind of distractions I mean. People hoping you’ll put a meal on the table table. Laundry in the dryer. Weeds in the […]

Tension Skyrockets When You Tweak the Setting

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

Use setting to heighten tension in a story. Put a character in a place she or he doesn’t feel physically or psychologically comfortable, and you immediately inject tension into the scenes. Will she or won’t she figure out how to cope? In my story “Oregano,” Janice Dawkins comes in at the end of a long […]

Writing Tips Every Author Needs

Writing tips can help you discover the one small change that will make a difference. Writing is as much about the habit of writing as about what you write. If you’re a morning person, write at dawn. Night-owls write after everyone goes to bed. The important thing is to honor your unique gifts. Find your […]

Historical Fiction’s Biggest Pitfalls

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

If you’re writing historical fiction, don’t fall into the info-dumping trap. You love all those bits and pieces of info you’ve discovered, but your reader will have a hard time keeping an eye on the story if you can’t restrain yourself. Limit yourself to one or two protagonists–one, preferably. Let that person experience life as […]

The ABCs of Your Novel’s Core Conflict

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

Photo Source You could plot a novel around this picture. A man, a woman. Love, followed by its opposite. Who will take home the money? How will each on handle the hurt and sense of failure? Before we start thinking about plot, let’s see if we can “sum up” the core conflict of this story. […]

Details, Details, Details!

Details offer readers a chance to live vicariously in a world far different from their own. How much detail do you, the writer, need to provide? A lot. And you must keep on feeding the reader’s “minds eye” as the scene progresses. Why? Because without meaningful details, readers experience a visual “white-out,” like the white-out […]

The Establishing Shot

An Establishing Shot Orients the Reader An establishing shot is a technique used in film, but many novels benefit from having a strong opening scene that gives the reader a quick overview. Photo Source The camera zooms over the mountains and moves in for a closeup of a solitary woman, walking along a beach. Right […]

Independent Publishers: The Good, the Bad, and the Sleazy

An independent publisher could hold the key to you getting your book into print. Let’s face it. No matter how good a book is, writers have a tough time finding an agent. Some agents require you to already have an author platform, even though you’ve barely managed to finish your book. That’s just the reality […]