A Protagonist Must Have a Goal

by Marylee MacDonald, June 12, 2019 in For Writers Doing Revisions

Every protagonist must have a goal. Your protagonist (Frodo Baggins) wants to throw the Ring in the fires of Mt. Doom or, in the case of Harry Potter, defeat the evil Lord Voldemort. These are the protagonists’ “big picture” goals. A big picture goal describes the entire arc of the novel, from the instant a […]

Ten Questions for Saralyn Richard

by Saralyn Richard, June 1, 2019 in Ten Questions

In this column I’m asking subscribers to share their knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing their books. I’m calling it “Ten Questions.” Thank you, Saralyn Richard, for allowing us to share in your excitement about your new book release, Murder in the One Percent.–Marylee MacDonald Saralyn Richard’s Author Tip: “Because Murder in the One Percent […]

What Stories Should You Write?

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

Most writers begin writing because they know they have one story to tell. Their goal is to “write a book.” But, most of us have more than one book we could write, and we have a wealth of material to draw on. We also have different themes that occur in our lives. Possibly, we have […]

Free Yourself from Writing Autobiographically

by Marylee MacDonald in For Beginning Writers

If you can free yourself from writing autobiographically, the whole world opens before you. But how can you do this? So often the stories that spring naturally to mind arise from personal experience. This is only natural. Our deepest emotional impressions occur in childhood. Thus, childhood provides a rich source of emotionally-laden story material. Often, […]

Ten Questions for Cornelia Fick

by Cornelia Fick in Ten Questions

In this column I’m asking subscribers to share their knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing their books. I’m calling it “Ten Questions.” Thank you, Cornelia Fick, for sharing your journey from wanting to be a writer to becoming the author of a published book. You have definitely achieved the dream that motivates all of us!–Marylee […]

Ten Questions for Ben East

by Ben East in Ten Questions

In this column I’m asking subscribers to share their knowledge about writing, publishing, and marketing their books. I’m calling it “Ten Questions.” Thank you, Ben East, for letting readers know about your civil servants and ordinary citizens, trying to make sense of an Orwellian world. Your two approaches to writing–using an outline vs. letting the […]

Revising Fiction – Going Through the Door

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

Revising fiction–deep revision–may require authors to expand scenes or add new ones. But how can any author know which scenes those are? We’re so close to our stories, it’s hard to have any perspective. And yet, we must provide our readers with a clear and accurate picture of our characters’ inner and outer journeys.  We […]

Death of a Pen Name

by Peter Rendell in Book promotion

Whether to write under a pen name or under one’s own real name is a choice authors make early in a career. That choice can have unforeseen consequences. When Facebook blocked his pen name, author Peter Rendell had to relaunch his author platform and reevaluate his marketing strategy. Let’s give him a hand, because what […]

Revising Fiction : It’s Not Just About Dusting the Commas

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Doing Revisions

The rough draft of my first novel needed resuscitation. If EMTs could have shocked it with a defibrillator, that might have brought it to life. Revision gave me a chance to do just that. The sad truth is that I knew how to write, but I did not know how to revise. That is to […]

Self-Doubt and Overconfidence: How They Undermine a Writer

by Marylee MacDonald in Learn How to Write

Self-doubt sneaks into our creative lives when we least expect it. Even if you think you’ve conquered this demon of creative destruction, self-doubt can wriggle away and take another form. In this post I’m going to talk about why writers and other artists experience self-doubt, and then I’ll suggest strategies to manage the stress it […]