These writing advice articles are meant to nourish, empower, and guide your inner storyteller. If you’re interested in improving your writing, building your confidence, and figuring out the next step in your publishing journey, click or tap the button for a free consultation.

WRITING TIPS FROM MOVIES AND TV

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STORY STRUCTURE WITH BLACK PANTHER

Plotting is easier than you think. If you can figure out one key scene, the rest of your story almost writes itself. BLACK PANTHER shows us how.

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GOALS, MOTIVATIONS, AND CONFLICTS WITH THE LAST JEDI

Can two people want the same thing and still have a conflict? What does completing a character arc really look like? THE LAST JEDI serves a master class on Goals/Motivations/Conflicts.

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STRONG OPENINGS WITH STRANGER THINGS

You need a strong opening to hook the reader into devouring the rest of your book. STRANGER THINGS shows us how to nail a strong opening every time.

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THE PROBLEM WITH DIE HARD

Why does DIE HARD get worse with each sequel? One word: fear. With every movie, John has a little less of it.

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WHAT MOANA SHOWS US ABOUT CREATING EMOTIONAL RESONANCE

These six scenes will transform how you approach creating emotional resonance.

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NEO'S FAILURE PROVES HIS HEROISM

Sure, you could save the day in the first ten minutes. But wouldn't it be more fun to use failure to prove why your character is the hero we need? THE MATRIX shows us how.

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BUILDING ANTICIPATION WITH THE HUNGER GAMES

Whether you're a plotter or a pantser, I want the odds to ever be in your favor. Let's look at what THE HUNGER GAMES shows us about HOW TO BUILD ANTICIPATION.

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THE IRONY GAMES

If you’re not already using IRONY to transform your story from familiar to irresistible, let me tell you why you should be.

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Justice VS Revenge: Making Unlikable Characters Likable

REVENGE is one of the hardest storytelling tropes to get right, and yet it’s one of the most fun…if you remember this one thing.

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THE ESSENCE OF THE MIDPOINT HIGH: Part 1

The MIDPOINT HIGH is a plot beat that’s easy to miss and even easier to get wrong. So let's talk about how to get it right.

THE ESSENCE OF THE MIDPOINT HIGH: PART 2

The most consistent problem I see isn’t whether there IS a midpoint high, it’s in how you get there.

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Advanced Character Arcs

Storytellers, let’s take your character arcs to the next level.

STORY TERMS GLOSSARY

Confused about what all of these storytelling terms mean? Here’s a glossary of the terms I use. Plus it’s organized in a handy outline template. Annotated edition coming soon!

WRITING LIFESTYLE

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HOW EMPATHY DRIVES OUR BEST CREATIVE WORK

Let’s look at the three different kinds of empathy and how they impact what we write.

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WHY GENRE FICTION IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EVER

Genre fiction has always been a vital mechanism for change, least of all for one reason.

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When Publishing Takes an Ugly Turn

Nailed your first publishing deal? Releasing your first book? Getting great reviews? Hitting a bestseller list? It sounds like any one of those would be enough, and yet…

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Learning to Write is Like Riding a Bike

When you first learn to ride a bike, it’s awkward as hell. You fall over before you can pedal a single time. And then each inch forward feels like certain death. Writing is sort of like that, except a lot more dangerous.

HOW TO GIVE YOUR READER CHILLS

Don’t just tell the reader your protagonist is sad. If you want readers to feel what your characters feel, you need to include visceral reactions.

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YOU FAILED! …what next?

So you got that rejection. Or your first book bombed. Or…

You get it. At some point, you’re going to fail. Big time.

This is about how to handle what happens next.

QUERY TIPS

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LOGLINE BASICS

Working on a query letter? Pitching in an event like Pitch Wars? Struggling to identify the core hook for your story? You might need a good logline.

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Chasing Trends

Success is as easy as copying whatever tops the NYT bestseller list, right? You know that’s not true. I just want to show you exactly how not true it is.

 
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CHOICE OVERLOAD

Too many options in front of us means we’re less likely to pick anything. There’s one huge exception. Step inside so we can talk about how to use this to your advantage when submitting to agents and editors.

 

HOW TO WRITE BACK COVER COPY/BCCs

The BCC, also known as the back cover copy or blurb, makes or breaks whether someone buys your books. Ready to make your BCC irresistible? 

The Hook 

The First 50 Words

The Three Essential Elements of a BCC

Why the First Six Lines Make or Break your BCC

The Final Paragraph

BONUS: The Prestige Paragraph

Let me know if you have questions. And if you want my help writing yours, hire me!