storytelling exercise motif

Storytelling Exercise: Motif

Today’s storytelling exercise is an excerpt from my book, Story Drills, which is packed with fiction-writing exercises designed to impart the basic techniques of storytelling. Today’s exercise is from chapter thirty-five. It’s called “Motif.” Enjoy! Motif A motif is a recurring idea, element, or symbol in a story. A story can have multiple motifs, and…Read More

create a complex villain

Writing Tips for Creating a Complex Villain

When it comes to writing fiction, we each have our own unique challenges. For some of us, it’s a struggle to come up with names for characters. For others, it’s hard to write realistic dialogue. Maybe you’re like me and find it difficult to write a really good villain — I mean — a really bad…Read More

free verse poetry

What is Free-Verse Poetry?

Most of my favorite poems are written in free verse, which means they do not fall under the constraints of form poetry. Not that I have anything against form poetry — it’s a lovely tradition, and I like reading and writing it — but not as much as I enjoy reading and writing free-verse poetry….Read More

sneak peek a guide to creative writing

Why We Write, a Sneak Peek at Ready, Set, Write!

I am excited to announce my forthcoming book Ready, Set, Write: A Guide to Creative Writing, which will be available later this month. Today I’m sharing an excerpt from Ready, Set, Write! But first let me tell you a little about the book: Ready, Set, Write is an introduction to creative writing that is ideal for young…Read More

study writing

Why You Should Study Writing

Stephen King said, “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” He’s right. These are the only two things you absolutely must do in order to be a writer. But they aren’t the only things you can or should do. Plenty…Read More

getting published submission tips

10 Tips for Submitting Your Writing and Getting Published

Your short story is finished. Your poem is polished. Your personal essay has been proofread. Now you’re ready to submit your creative writing project for publication. How do you do it? Where do you find the right publication? What materials should you send? Should you use e-mail or snail mail? How long do you wait…Read More

the writers journey

The Writer’s Journey: A Must-Read for Storytellers

If you read only one book on storytelling, make it The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler. Over the years, I’ve read a lot of books on writing fiction. Many have been helpful, but some have left me feeling disappointed, especially those that promise their methods will result in a successful story or make grand claims…Read More

props fiction writing exercise

Props, a Storytelling Exercise

This exercise comes from my book Story Drills: Fiction Writing Exercises. This exercise asks you to consider an element of story that’s often overlooked in lessons and conversations about fiction writing. It’s called “Props.” Enjoy! Props Often when we talk about setting, we forget an important element: props. These are the items that appear in the narrative…Read More

poetry prompts

Poetry Prompts for Lovers

Poetry is one of the most magical forms of self-expression. You can express thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a poem that are otherwise difficult, or even impossible, to say in any other form of communication. And poetry has long been the language of lovers. Millions of writers have used poetry to declare their affections, obsessions,…Read More

writing tips

42 Fiction Writing Tips for Novelists

The more I explore fiction writing, the more complex and multi-layered it becomes. Through the processes of brainstorming, outlining, researching, writing, and revising, I have discovered countless details that authors have to consider as they set out to produce a viable work of fiction. Over the years, I have collected a vast pile of notes…Read More

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