How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

How Stieg Larsson Kept his Readers Turning Pages

You need to crank up your story's tension and conflict in every chapter. Let's look at a few techniques to help sustain the drama you've created and keep pages turning at each chapter ending.

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Writing App Reviews: A Comparison of the Best

Writing App Reviews: A Comparison of the Best

Here at ProWritingAid, we're geekily interested in writing tech, almost obsessively. And in honor of the upcoming NaNoWriMo, we thought we'd do a roundup of the apps we've reviewed over the years. Links to our full reviews are throughout.

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How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

How to Create a Nemesis Like The Joker

Think of some of the great nemesis pairs in fiction: Harry Potter and Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, Professor Xavier and Magneto, Superman and Lex Luthor… But there's none better than Batman and The Joker. The Joker is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life like paralyzing Batgirl and murdering Robin. He's such a popular character that he's ranked 8th on the list of Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. One reason he's the perfect nemesis is The Joker is the complete and utter opposite of Batman: he's savage, violent, unpredictable, and will do anything because he has no respect for human life. As Michael Caine said in Dark Knight, The Joker "just wants to see the world burn."

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Plot of Gold 30-day Challenge

Plot of Gold 30-day Challenge

Are you ready to create a strong, thorough outline for your novel? Brilliant! From September to November this year, ProWritingAid will be paying for its community to have **FREE access for 30 days** to Beemgee's world-class novel-outlining software. Whether you are preparing for NaNoWriMo or just ready to finally write that book, this 30-day challenge is crucial for getting you to the finish line.

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When Symbolism Goes Too Far

When Symbolism Goes Too Far

Are we hard-wired to seek symbolism in everything from our literature to our everyday life? Spirituality is rife with symbolism, advertisers use symbols to sell their products, and we interpret a smile from someone as a symbol of friendship. Symbolism in literature uses an object or a word to represent something abstract in your work. A person, an action, a place, a single word, or an object can have symbolic meaning. Symbolism, done well, allows you to hint at a certain mood or emotion instead of showing it.

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What Margaret Atwood Taught Me About Writing Outside Your Genre

What Margaret Atwood Taught Me About Writing Outside Your Genre

Margaret Atwood recently wrote an essay titled ["Margaret Atwood on What *The Handmaid's Tale* Means in the Age of Trump"](https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/10/books/review/margaret-atwood-handmaids-tale-age-of-trump.html?_r=0) that caught my eye. There has been a swarm of interest around the book thanks to the upcoming series on Hulu, but I have to admit that I was curious to see if her political views matched mine. What I found most compelling in the article, however, is how she talked about stretching herself outside her genre when she wrote *The Handmaid's Tale*: - ***"It seemed to me a risky venture. I’d read extensively in science fiction, speculative fiction, utopias and dystopias ever since my high school years in the 1950s, but I’d never written such a book. Was I up to it? The form was strewn with pitfalls, among them a tendency to sermonize, a veering into allegory and a lack of plausibility. If I was to create an imaginary garden I wanted the toads in it to be real."***

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How to Write Multiple Points of View

How to Write Multiple Points of View

When you’re starting a new story, determining POV is a very important choice. Writing from multiple POVs can be frustrating and confusing for readers if it’s not handled well, so you need to have a very good reason for using multiple POVs in your story. That said, here are a few tips on how to craft a story using multiple POVs:

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Why Your Ending is as Important as Your Book's Hook

Why Your Ending is as Important as Your Book's Hook

Have you ever been so engrossed in a book that if the ending isn't strong and doesn't resolve all the plot threads, you're disappointed in the whole book? I once read a novel with a deeply engaging main character I really connected with. She struggled and overcame and struggled and overcame. And at the very end of the book, the author killed her. WHAT? It's the only time I've ever thrown a book. And I refused to read anything more by that author. You know how important it is to hook your reader from the very beginning. It's why you start in the middle of the action, plunging your reader right in so they get caught up in the excitement. Your ending is as important…if not more.

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Why You Should Be Able to State Your Story's Theme in One Sentence

Why You Should Be Able to State Your Story's Theme in One Sentence

Theme is not your character arc, nor is it the plot or what happens to your character. It's actually the essence that ties those two together. If someone asks you "what is your book about?" you don't respond with scene-by-scene detail, or the changes your character goes through. You think of your character and what essential thing she or he comes to understand through the course of the book. If you can't do that, you don't have a firm grasp on your story's theme.

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Writing App Reviews… One Stop For Writers

Writing App Reviews… One Stop For Writers

The founders of Writers Helping Writers have created an innovative platform for writers to boost their creativity and enhance their skill set: One Stop For Writers. The creators call it the "library," and it's complete with an "Information Desk," "Thesaurus," "The Stacks," and more. Whether this is your first rodeo and you need some entry level writing help, or you're an old hand and just want a fun way to plan your novel, One Stop For Writers has scads of resources, templates, online tools, and lessons to help you write the best novel yet. We're going to cover just the highlights because it can take you days of roaming around the "library" to see and experience everything.

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When It’s Time to Swim Against the Flow of Popular Fiction

When It’s Time to Swim Against the Flow of Popular Fiction

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Flashbacks: A Writer’s Best Friend (or Worst Enemy)

Flashbacks: A Writer’s Best Friend (or Worst Enemy)

A flashback is a scene you use in your current narrative to show something that happened in the past. The two key differentiators are: 1) it must be a scene (as opposed to narration about an event), and 2) it’s past news. Flashbacks are great for building three-dimensional characters because readers gains insight on how a character’s thoughts, feelings, and morals were formed by important events. They’re also useful for dropping hints about what happened to lead your main character to the current point in time. They help your readers understand and care deeply about your characters and what happens to them.

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New E-book: The Novel-Writing Training Plan

New E-book: The Novel-Writing Training Plan

So you are ready to write your novel. Excellent. Are you prepared? The last thing you want when you sit down to write your first draft is to lose momentum. Have you figured out the key traits of your characters so that you know how they will act (and react) in each scene? Have you thought through the climax of your narrative so that you can lay all the groundwork to get there? Have you researched the setting of your story so you can make it feel authentic? Use this guide before you start writing to work out your narrative arc, plan out your key plot points, flesh out your characters, and begin to build your world. Then, when you begin your writing journey, you will have a map to follow along the way.

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What's the Difference Between Narrative and Exposition?

What's the Difference Between Narrative and Exposition?

Sometimes, narrative and exposition are used synonymously to explain parts of a novel that “narrate” information for the reader. They are, in fact, different devices used to give the reader information. Used appropriately, narrative and exposition affect the pacing of your story.

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Create Compelling & Evocative Scenes

Create Compelling & Evocative Scenes

Scenes are the rising and falling action, and the soft moments in between, that move your story forward. They have a couple of basic purposes: - They establish time and place. They give the reader a marker on where and when things are happening. - They help develop character. Even if the scene is pure action, you learn about the character’s motivations by his or her decisions, choices, and actions. - They let characters set goals. Without goals to achieve, characters have no reason to act or emote. Readers want to know what’s at stake. - They allow the action to rise or fall. This movement is what carries your reader forward. - They let you crank up the conflict. Without conflict, you won’t have tension. And without tension, your story is boring.

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