Articles about how to write a novel
Let’s take a look at the four types of stories that Orson Scott Card says comprises every novel. He uses the acronym "MICE", which stands for milieu, idea, character, event.
Within this framework, Card argues something deeply contoversial: not all novels require in-depth characterization.Read More »
Imagine a kindly, bespectacled woman with fresh, minty breath hovering over your shoulder as you pour words out on the screen. Her critical task is to help you make every word choice the best and to guide you to clearer, more concise sentences. She has your literary best interests at heart.Read More »
Here’s the truth about adverbs. They aren’t inherently good or bad: it’s all in how you use them. Let’s unpack when you should—and shouldn’t—use adverbs.Read More »
Stories have been with us since the beginning of time. Before the written word, if you wanted to pass information to the next generation, you told a story. The same is true today. We’re all storytellers.
Storytelling is a skill anyone can learn and it’s one you need for both speaking and writing. Here’s how to hone your skills and captivate others’ attention.Read More »
Writing is a business like any other. You’re creating a product you hope customers will buy and fall in love with. That way, you can continue creating new products people want. Regardless if you’re a fiction writer or a copywriter, you run your own business. And you must approach it like a business if you want to be successful.
Fiction writers who understand the publishing industry and what readers want will thrive. Copywriters who can engage and compel readers to act will succeed. Both must become master marketers to promote their business and make money.
Here are the building blocks of a solid business that will help you create your best writer’s life.Read More »
As an author, don’t you want to create the mind-blowing plot twist that leaves readers begging you to write more books? Maybe the kind that result in big movie deals…
Wait. If your writing is a means to an end, it’s doubtful your plot twist will make the big bang needed to get on the big screen. Because you can’t force a plot twist; readers will smell it a mile away.
Do it authentically and you’ll create a feverish tension that keeps readers turning the pages to see how this new twist will play out next. Or you’ll end on a final piece of information that changes everything, resonating with readers long after the last page. Here’s how it works.Read More »
We're putting together a team of writers for the ProWritingAid Blog. Team members will be diverse in their knowledge and specialities, but all share a love of writing.Read More »
Start with a real-life person—yourself. Plumb all your deep, dark places and put yourself in the shoes of your main character. You are a well of inspiration. Make this your jumping-off point to create truly believable characters.Read More »
Variety, as we all know, is the spice of life. It’s also the spice of good writing. There’s an easy way to find out if your sentences have variety. Take a paragraph you’ve written—one of eight or so sentences. Then, write down the first word in each sentence. Next, identify the part of speech for each word. If most of your sentences begin with the same part of speech, you don’t have variety. It’s as simple as that.Read More »
Whether you are a planner or a pants-er, if you haven’t checked out the Outline Your Novel program, you’re missing out. I spent hours with this software and have never felt a more powerful urge to create.Read More »
Do you know all the ways to edit your work for better readability and a clearer writing style? ProWritingAid's Writing Style Report checks for a multitude of improvements you can make to strengthen and clarify your writing. Let’s look deeper at this most popular and comprehensive report.Read More »
If you are an HF writer, hats off to you! I learned haters will find the smallest discrepancy in your writing and crow it from the rooftops. Perhaps HF writers have extra thick skin. Whatever their impetus, they don’t necessarily have a love of history per se—and certainly don’t need a degree. They find either a period, an event, or historical person thoroughly interesting and decide to dig deeper.Read More »
We’re continuing our monthly installment series on creating amazing characters using Orson Scott Card’s seminal book, Elements of Fiction Writing: Characters & Viewpoint. This month, we cover the three elements every characters needs and why you must deliver.Read More »
If you are anything like us, your favorite way to learn about history is by immersing yourself in a fictional world shaped by actual events. For this list, we specifically chose works covering events or time periods over 30 years before the time of writing.Read More »
“Why isn’t anyone buying my book? Is it not good enough? Am I a terrible writer? "Should I give up forever?"
Of course not. It's just that you didn't launch your book. You didn't ceremoniously rocket it out into the world so that everyone noticed it.
It's not too late! Here's what you need to know:Read More »
Do you think all self-publishing is merely vanity projects? Are you worried anyone can slap a few words on a page and click on publish to become a published author? Do you also fear any self-publishing company will publish an e-book or spit out print books no matter the quality of writing?
When you meet an author, is your first question, "Who was your publisher?" And when they tell you they self-published, is your knee-jerk reaction their book wasn’t good enough to be picked up by even a mediocre publishing house?Read More »
Characters in books give us insight into the human condition. We learn how people behave and what’s in human nature from our favorite characters in books and on the big screen.
Orson Scott Card says out of the multiple ways to get to know someone, the most powerful and the ones that make the strongest impression are:
- What your character does
- What his or her motives are
- What they’ve done in the past
Let’s look at these and a few other ways of getting to know your characters.Read More »
If you haven’t been using ProWritingAid’s Readability Report and Summary Report to take your work in progress (WIP) to the next level, you’re missing out. Your WIP might be an article you plan to post on Medium or it could be a 75,000 word manuscript of the next, great novel. And the Readability Report can make suggestions on how to make it sparkle and shine so it catches any reader’s eye.Read More »
Have you noticed how many rules you must follow when writing your novel? Some of them, like having a strong beginning, engaging middle, and exciting conclusion, are good advice. Then other rules, like how to format your novel for submission and checking submission guidelines first, are pretty strict. Finally, there are rules meant to be broken.Read More »
Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.Read More »
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