A Paradigm Shift Ending

During the first session of the Novel Writing Intensive we cover concept and theme. In the second week of eight weeks total, we devote to the novel ending -- the Triumphant Climax. I emphasize the end early-on because endings don't usually receive the time and attention they deserve. Yes, beginnings hook readers. Endings create fans. They also have the potential to emotionally impact a reader's life. A Paradigm Shift Ending Some people believe there are no new stories. I revise that to say no … [Read more...]

5 Tips to Refine Your Novel, Memoir, Screenplay

You've written your novel, memoir, screenplay all the way through to the end. You've rewritten. You've revised, and rewritten again, (and perhaps again and again and again...). The final step before sending out your story is refinement. Warning: following all 5 tips to refine your novel, memoir, screenplay at the same time you're doing the final rewrite can be a lot to juggle. Refinement Refinement comes only after you've written several drafts revised solidified the plot, structure, … [Read more...]

I’m Embarrassed to Leave Out My Plot Planner

When a writer comes up with a new story idea, I recommend you do 2 things: Start writing Set up a Plot Planner and begin plotting how the story ends Start Writing Start writing so you capture all the excitement and passion and promise that comes with undertaking a new creative project. Until you write all the way to the end you don't really know what your story is all about. Might as well get started writing right away.   Create a Plot Planner At the same time, set up a … [Read more...]

Stranded in the Middle of Your Novel?

Are your feeling stranded in the middle of your novel? You started out strong with loads of ideas and great promise for the beginning of your story. Then you jumped into the exotic world of the middle with both feet. And now, you feel like you're slogging through quicksand in the middle of your story? Don't despair. The middle of your novel is the testing ground for your protagonist (and for you as a writer...). It's the place in your story when you begin to strip away what's not working for … [Read more...]

The Use of Symbols and Foreshadowing in Stories

"I recently saw again To Kill a Mockingbird and I remember you liked to use the writing as an example in your classes. What purpose did the author have when she had Atticus shoot and kill a rabid dog? How did that contribute to the story line? He did what he had to do? The kids had to learn the truth about life? He was simply protecting them?  You are supposed to be nice to dogs!! Anyway, it’s been plaguing me." The use of symbols and foreshadowing in stories allows a writer to "show not tell" a … [Read more...]

Thank Your Imagination

Ideas pop and boom like exploding fireworks in the writer's mind. Untethered, a wild imagination flits every which way with no defined borders and no true beginning, middle and end. In plot consultations, highly imaginative writers unwittingly compound the difficulty of arranging ideas into a story with a plot. Laughing excuses. Dismissing bizarre characters. Discounting weird plot twists. Shrugging off unconventional themes, fantastical pairings, and real emotions in unreal situations. Instead, … [Read more...]