Posts in craft+draft
Dive into the 30-Day Short Story Challenge: Why You Should Write Short Stories + How to Do It

If you want to learn to write fiction, there are a LOT of things you need to know about. But trying to learn them all while writing a novel can be time-consuming and frustrating. Learn to write fiction the quick and easy way by focusing on the short story. The short form is the standard vehicle for teaching fiction in schools around the world, but it's time to learn the short story form on your time from the comfort of your own home. In the 30-day short story challenge, we'll read stories and we'll write stories. I've got your plan to get started (and a bunch of stories you should read right now)!

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How to Discover Your Writing Voice in 5 Simple Steps

Your voice is necessary and important, and it deserves to be heard. But what if you don't know your voice? What if you don't know how you should say what you're trying to say? What if you're not sure if you even have a voice at all? I'm with you, my friend. Learn how to discover your unique writing voice in 5 simple steps so you can write the stories that sound like you.

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3 Mistakes You Make When Writing Setting + How to Fix Them

Setting does NOT simply equate to drawing maps and designing house floor-plans and planting trees all around your world. It isn't just about the weather or the town where the story takes place. It isn't just world-building from scratch. Setting certainly can be these things, but it also goes a lot deeper than that. Setting grounds you in place and time, but it also sets the mood and tone, provides a lens to understand the world through, and works in conversation with your other elements (characters, plot, and theme). Setting does A LOT more work (even if it is subtle, background work) than we often give it credit for. So, how do you get your setting to do its work – productive, necessary, hard work – without going overboard? We're going to look at the 3 mistakes writers often make when designing their setting or world-building and how to fix it.

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How to Write + Revise Your Story in 5 Draft Phases

The way I go from BIG IDEA to finished story is kind of weird. I always thought it would be this linear, very defined approach, but I don't function like that. My draft phases follow building the anatomy of a story through specific, key craft elements. My phases aren't defined by "The End" or "Draft 4", but by mindset and attention to certain story pieces. If you're curious what a "skeleton draft" is (or what a "freckle draft" is), click through to read how I write, revise, and edit my stories to completion in five distinct phases. 

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Everything You'd Ever Need to Write a Novel: The ULTIMATE Novel Packing List

Perhaps you're ready to attack Camp NaNoWriMo next month or classic NaNoWriMo in November. Perhaps you're just embarking on your own personal writing quest on your own schedule. The truth is, you want to write a novel, and that's awesome! You're about to do an amazing thing. It's going to be difficult. It's going to be a challenge. But it's going to be well worth it. Before you get started with your novel, you have to be prepared. There's a lot of time, effort, and energy that go into writing a novel, so you want to make sure you're well-equipped for whatever's going to happen. This is the ultimate packing list of everything you'll need to write your novel.

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3 Big Things You MUST Know About Your Characters

You've probably seen a million bajillion character questionnaires. Most of the time they ask you about basic physical facts: birthdays, height, favorite colors. But these aren't the details that create an interesting, authentic, believable character that will stick with readers. These details won't allow your readers to be intimate with your characters. Learn the REAL questions you should be asking your characters. Get to the heart, the core, the DNA of their self in order to bring them to life. By going through your character's psyche, influences, and behavior, we'll discover who your character really is. It’s time to get character planning, my friend!

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Does Your Novel's Genre Matter? How to Fuse Genre and Literary Fiction to Create a Strong Story

There's an ongoing war between literary fiction and genre. They're placed at odds with each other, a black or white fight to who's better. But in fact, there's a BIG gray area. In order to write a Real+Good Story, you need to know the actual differences between the two, how they're made up of the same stuff with different levels of emphasis, and how you can cater to that in your novel so your reader is satisfied. Plus, I made you a workbook that asks you the right questions about your novel so you can fuse genre conventions and literary conventions to write the best story possible.

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5 Ways to Find Your Character's Authentic Voice (+What George Saunders Can Teach You About Voice)

George Saunders is a freaking genius writer, which is why he's one of my FAVORITE masters. What he does especially well is creating realistic, believable, authentic voices for his characters. Let's look at some Saunders stories in action to see what he's doing well, and then explore 5 techniques that you can get started with TODAY to make your characters speak authentically too. 

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How to Write a Character-Driven Plot in 4 Steps

Literary fiction writers tend to avoid plot. We’re trained to be plot snobs, focused only on character development and description and point-of-view amongst other things. But your story can’t be plotless. Plot is tension, plot is drama, plot IS story. So we must learn to fuse plot and character seamlessly. Learn how in 4 steps to get started with your story.

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The Frankenstein Technique: How to Use Juxtaposition + Causality to Discover Deep Themes

When your story is falling flat and you're wondering if you should abandon it, DON'T! Learn how to use The Frankenstein Technique (juxtaposition, causality, and subtext) to bring deeper themes to your story and reinvigorate it with new life. 

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