logo logo Menu Bar

Writer's Library
The Craft of Writing


Keys To Success

Contrary to what some writers will say, there is a secret formula to good writing. How do you become a good writer? Write every day - "If you work out with weights for fifteen minutes a day over a course of 10 years, you're gonna get muscles. If you write for an hour and a

Read More →

Libraries: The Internet On Paper

Libraries - The Internet on Paper (Or How I Learned What Machicolations Were) Even before I could read, I loved libraries. I can remember going every week with my mother, trading in the old books for new ones, standing in the stacks, surrounded by towering shelves of books, the smell of paper and bindings filling

Read More →

Men Behaving Badly: When Heroes Become Unheroic

Did anyone else watch the recent movie version of Phantom of the Opera and love the Phantom at the cost of caring about Raoul -- and not just because bad boy Gerard Butler is way more hunky than nice boy Patrick Wilson ever could be? Thinking about it, I understood why: Raoul performs only one

Read More →

Miniseries: Maximum Payback

Benefits of a Miniseries: * Each book is promo for other books. * Creative opportunities to hook readers on upcoming characters and/or enjoy "epilogue" style moments for previous characters. * The longer length of a series gives you room to explore deeper backstories with characters as their conflicts build over several books. * Promoting a

Read More →

Plot Holes: What They Are And How To Avoid Them

My 12 year old son introduced me to a hilarious series of cartoons on YouTube. It's all about providing alternative endings to popular films. (If you search 'how it should have ended' on YouTube, they'll come up.) Some of them, such as the proposed alternative ending to Braveheart, are just surreal. But others give much

Read More →

Plot Twists

Dear Barbara, I love your column and hope you'll find time to answer one of my questions. 🙂 I've been told my story needs more "plot twists" and the ones I do have are very weak and need to be strengthened. I was wondering if you could explain in detail what a plot twist is

Read More →

Plotter or Pantser: The Best of Both Worlds

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you outline before you sit down to write your novel, or do you sit down at the computer each day, waiting to be surprised, writing your book literally by the seat of your pants? Or are you a combination of the two? Most authors will identify themselves

Read More →

Point Of View And Other Devices

One of the most important decisions you will make in writing your story is choosing which point of view to use. The point of view is the "head" or "camera angle" from which the action will be filtered. Depending on which source you study, there are a variable number of points of view to choose

Read More →

Prep That Book

Before you start writing your novel, it is my firm opinion that you need to have at least a general idea of what the story is (plot), who’s in it (characters), and the world in which it takes place (world-building). In the previous article, we discussed designing your novel’s premise. Once that step is completed,

Read More →

Put A Little Laugh In Your Heart

"I wish I could do that!" "Were you funny as a child?" "Where do you come up with your ideas?" I hear those comments every time someone learns I write romantic comedies. These are my stock answers: You can, if you put your mind to it. No, but I grew up in a household filled

Read More →