Photo by Aubrey Rose Odom on Unsplash So i'm in the midst of writing a new novel, and reader, I got stuck. I got stuck so bad that I had to go crying to my agent, Caitlin McDonald, who got back to me with the solution. And I realized something - just about every time… Continue reading Stuck: the three narrative mistakes that plunge me into writer’s block
The day after I wrote my Ten Questions for Characters post I had a discord conversation about a question asked in the #writerspatch twitter chat on Sunday, Jan 13: "Does relatability to the reader make a character more believable?" And sure, the answer is obviously yes. But where's the rest of the owl? How do… Continue reading What Makes a Hyper-competent Character Relatable?
Some people have long and detailed lists of questions they answer for their characters, right down to what they carry around in their pockets. Others simply have characters appear to them, fully formed, ready to live the story from the beginning. I think I have a little bit of the latter, in that characters just… Continue reading Ten Questions I Ask New Characters – And Why I’m Asking
Sometimes people look at my process and say, "that's so organized, I have no idea how you do this in such a tidy way, I could never do that. How do you do it so neatly?" The answer is that I don't try, at first. That organization is the last thing I do, not the… Continue reading How I Abandon Organization While Planning a Novel
So that's not exactly true. Sometimes people ask me for writing advice. I'm no Johnathan Franzen - I'm a fantasy writer, working at the intersection of art, entertainment, and commercial appeal. I enjoy what I do, and I have the pleasure of knowing hundreds of people who like it too. These aren't rules, exactly. They're… Continue reading Writing advice nobody asked for, but anyway
(note: this was originally a twitter thread. You can read the original thread here.) Since it's easier to solve other people's problems than your own, I procrastinated on my own scene problems to listen to another writer's dilemma about which book to write next. What follows is a trick for figuring out what you should… Continue reading What’s Your Next Book? The Brightest Timeline Knows.
(This blog post was originally a thread on twitter, rewritten to be a decent blog post.) The first scene I need to write today takes place in a new setting location. For new setting locations I write up descriptions that I can use not just as backdrop but as elements to bring the reality of… Continue reading How to Brainstorm Scene Location Details from a Panic-stopping Technique
107k Words. 76 Scenes. 16 Pages. What you're looking at is an essential document for the complex operation that is transforming my first draft into a revised draft. It's scary, isn't it? I like to think that it's beautifully organized. That's the entire scene by scene outline of the first draft of Stormsong - don't… Continue reading A Visual Guide to a Reverse Outline
Sometimes it's hard to figure out how to yoke your Character arc to the external plot. When I'm planning, I have a series of questions I ask myself when I'm making sure that I have the right character for the shiny plot idea I figured out, but when I'm making sure that the arc hangs… Continue reading Doing it backwards