The inciting incident is the make-or-break moment for your story. It’s the catalyst for change. It’s the thing that sets your entire tale in motion. It’s the kick in the pants your protagonist needs to force a change in their lives they probably never saw coming. Novel openings are one of the hardest things to nail and you can’t do that without a compelling, disruptive, and logical inciting incident. But how do you create an inciting incident that will carry your whole story?
Essentially, a beta reader is an (hopefully) objective third party who will read your novel or story and provide (hopefully) constructive feedback. A beta reader is not an editor, and often they’re not writers either, though there’s a good chance a lot of your beta readers are going to be authors as well.
If you’re a regular writer of romance or are looking to dive into this popular genre, you might be on the lookout for some stellar plot ideas. Spend any time reading and exploring the genre and you’ll know that romance is just one word for dozens of different subgenres all with their own tone and style.
Characters are the most important part of any story. They are the beating heart and the blood that flows through your novel’s veins. Yes, your plot and world and story structure are also important, but most people will fall in love with a book because they love the characters.
If you’re planning to become an indie author, one of the first things you might be wondering is: how do you price a self-published book?
You’ve cobbled together 100K words of sheer brilliance, but now you must tackle the hardest task. How do you write book titles, anyway?
Theses six steps can help show you how to become a fiction writer. Figure out what works best for you!
Romance tropes are the heartbeat of what makes romance novels feel like cozy sweaters you want to snuggle into.
How to start a first chapter: include action, character, plot, emotion, and motivation or you’re going to lose your reader.
How long should your chapters be? On average, chapters tend to range from 1,000-5,000 words, with most falling in the 2,000-4,000 range.
There are a lot of pieces of writing advice you can ignore, but here’s one you shouldn’t: you need to include character goals in your story.
You might be wondering: how long does it take to write a book? The answer depends on a variety of factors.
Do you have a writer in your life who needs a gift? Check out this list of 61 gifts for writers that will help them with their author dreams.
A character flaw is a fault, limitation, or weakness that can be internal or external factors that affect your character and their life.
Explore the fundamentals of the Outlaw Archetype and how they serve your story. Explore famous examples of Outlaws in popular media.
The Ruler archetype is one of the most recognizable and is about stability and maintaining order through control and power.
Explorer Archetypes long for adventure and seek out new places, ideas, and experiences to live a thrilling, exciting, and fulfilling life.
Lover archetypes embrace the love they hold for friends, family, their gods, or simply the world around them.
The seven basic plot points offer perhaps what is the most open-ended of the structure archetypes with broad, high-level descriptions.
Save the Cat is one of the most popular ways of drafting screenplays and novels in modern storytelling.
In this article, we’ll explore what active and passive writing is and when you should use them. Contrary to some beliefs, sometimes passive voice does make sense. Not everything you write should or needs to be active (though it should be most of the time).
To write a romance you need to manage three separate arcs: your main character, your love interest, and the romance itself.
If you’re embarking on a topic that requires a lot of research, you might wonder where you even begin. How do you make use of all those juicy tidbits, and what kind of process should you use to ensure complete and total accuracy?
Today we’re going to look at story beats to help craft your romance novel. Beats are specific points of significance that occur in stories that a) help keep the tension up and b) help drive the story forward. They can also be extremely useful in helping you map out your story before you dive into your first draft.
First person narrative is when you write using the words “I”, “us”, or “we”. It’s when your story is told through the eyes of one person and we spend time in their head, hearing their thoughts and seeing what they see.
Just like a compelling opening, a good ending is a bit of an art form and can take some practice. As with anything in writing, the best way to learn is to read. Think about books with memorable endings that you’ve enjoyed: read them again with a critical eye and think about how and why they work.
Clichés are phrases you’ve heard so many times they’ve lost all meaning. They’re as dead as a doornail. They’re stones thrown in glass houses. They make your writing seem derivative, boring and lacking in imagination.
Showing how characters fall in love can be one of the most challenging things to write. It’s so easy to slide into something that feels forced or unnatural, because the pacing requires a delicate hand and impeccable timing to make it just so.
If you’ve never heard the term “meet cute,” let me explain. It’s a common expression you’ll hear when talking about romance novels, movies, and shows. It’s the moment that your love interests meet for the first time, often in a cute and humorous way (though it doesn’t have to be).
Epistolary is basically the practice of conveying a narrative story through the use of letters, journal entries, or other documents. Once upon a time, that probably meant handwritten notes or mail between characters. These days, it can mean a lot more when you factor in the advent of electronic communication.
So what is second person, you wonder? Well, it’s when you remove the fourth wall between the reader and writer, bringing your audience into the action. It can be used to make your story more interactive.
One of the most important decisions you can make regarding your novel is deciding what point of view you choose to tell it in. In fact, it might be considered the most important decision you make, second only to perhaps picking whose points of views you’re going to tell your story through.
Worldbuilding is the subtle backbone of your story. It won’t make or break your novel like the characters or plot might, but it’s necessary for building a believable setting that your readers will embrace. If they’re distracted by inconsistencies in your setting then they might have a hard time focusing on the story. And we don't want that.
Conflict. It’s the lifeblood of any story. Without it, all you’ve got is a bunch of people wandering around aimlessly. Conflict is the source of tension, excitement, suspense, and drama. It drives your plot, gives your characters motivation, and sometimes allows you to hold up a mirror to the world.
Theme—it’s a short, fancy word that often describes the larger scope of what your novel is about. Sure it might be about aliens or cowboys or alien cowboys, but what it’s really about is good always triumphs over evil or karma is a…bad thing.
Conflicts in fantasy books are fun because they tend to have epic proportions. We’re talking war and strife and evil overlords planning to enslave humanity. You don’t really get that kind of massive conflict in say, a contemporary book set in downtown Seattle.
Historical fiction presents its own unique set of challenges. There’s writing the story itself. Getting the plot and the characters and the setting and all those important things that create a great story right. But there’s also the added challenge of making sure you’ve got the historical details to make it all come together with accuracy.
Young adult books are easily one of, if not the fastest, growing genres in publishing. A lot of the biggest breakout books like the Hunger Games, Twilight, and Shadow and Bone are all based on YA novels. There’s something about the teenage experience that speaks to us all—no matter how old we get and how long ago teenagerhood was.
Young adult fiction is one of the fastest growing categories of books in publishing. If you’ve ever been interested in writing young adult (YA) fiction, you might wonder how it differs from regular adult fiction. There are a few key differences between the two age categories, but there are also some similarities. Sometimes it can almost be tricky to tell which category it falls in, especially with protagonists in the 18-19 age range.
So you want to be a romance author. Not just a romance author, but a romance author who makes money. Well, I have good news and bad news. Which do you want first? Let’s start with the good news. The good news is that the romance genre is far and away the best-selling genre out there and the potential to earn money writing romance is pretty high.
Love. That universal feeling that brings us all together. It’s an emotion that can destroy us or uplift us. Make us feel safe or make us feel lonely. It can give us the highest highs and the lowest lows. Love can bring down empires and love can overcome evil to save the world. Wow. That’s a lot for one little four-letter word to handle.
What’s the difference between a great love story and a so-so love story? Romantic chemistry, that’s what. If you’ve ever read a romance novel or a book with a romantic subplot and found yourself not really caring about the relationship between the love interests, there’s a good chance the author missed out on building up that oh-so important chemistry.
Characters are the meat of any story. They’re the beating heart and the blood that flows through your novel. You can have the most amazing plot, setting, worldbuilding, and prose, but what sticks with most readers are memorable characters. Fleshy characters. Ones with mass and density and layers and tissue.
When you start to draft or plot a new novel, you probably have a vague idea of who your characters are or will be. A lot of people start with the basics first, such as age, sex, gender, and hair, eye, and skin color. And that is a very good place to start. But to create memorable characters that leap off the page, you’re going to need a little more. Probably a lot more, in fact.
Voice versus point of view. These are terms that get bandied about a lot when we talk about our writing. But what do they mean, and are they the same thing?In short, they aren’t the same thing, though it’s easy to see why some people get them confused. Voice is the style the author chooses to tell the story and point of view is the perspective from which the story is told.
Have you ever read a book that just seems to flow? The writing feels effortless and smooth and almost like the literary equivalent of honey? Well, then you’re reading lyrical prose, my friend. It’s a style of writing that relies on a few techniques that make use of similar sounds and cadence to help create a more fluid and musical style of writing.
Think about the worst pain you’ve ever experienced. How would you have described it when you were in the moment? What did it feel like? Did it have a color and texture? Maybe even a sound or a smell? Did it make you perceive your world in different ways? Did you notice what was going on around you?
One of the primary reasons people don’t finish a book is because the characters didn’t feel real to them. They couldn’t relate to them. They felt like caricatures or templates, rather than breathing, thinking, living beings on the page.
Pacing is one of those things I think only writers talk about. Before I delved into becoming a writer, I was a reader and didn’t really toss around words like “pacing.” To me, if something was wrong with a book’s “pacing,” it felt either too slow and boring or too fast and shallow for it to hold my interest. Chances are most of your readers are the same.
Perfect characters are boring. Every character needs a flaw or twelve, not just because it’s more realistic, but because they help deepen your story. Character flaws make your characters more interesting and give you leverage to create conflict, plot, goals, and motivations. If your characters are perfect and have nothing to strive for or nothing they wish to attain, then your story is going to feel a little (or very) flat. Flaws can include a wide range of traits, from something as simple as talking too loudly to as complex and serious as being wildly arrogant. There are degrees of flaws where some will have little to no impact on your story and some will have a significant impact.
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