Writers: do yourself a favor and don’t neglect it.

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Do you ever find yourself wondering where your story is going? Do you ever struggle to find the deeper conflict between your hero and villain? Is your romance falling flat because your couple gets together too soon or gets along too well?

There are no hacks in writing, but there are useful storytelling tools and techniques you can learn. And the one I’m sharing with you today should be familiar, but you might not have realized just how many ways it can save your ass.

I’m talking about the theme.

Does your story need one?

Wrong question. A theme, or…

Save yourself a headache and win over readers

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Ever been reading a book and the ONLY indication you have that you’re nearing the end is that you’re running out of pages?

Ever looked back over your story and felt like the climax was just missing something?

Nobody hates a weak ending more than… my husband. Because then he has to hear about it from me for the next 24 hours.

Today, we’re going to learn how to troubleshoot the ending of our book for those times when it just feels like it’s missing that oomph.

Before we get started, be sure to hit subscribe and that little bell…

Fail to answer these, and you’re in for a world of hurt down the line.


Knowing your “why” has become a bit of a cliche phrase at this point. “Know your why!” It just means know your reason for doing the thing you’re doing.

But there’s so much more to that. …

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it’s the right medicine

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Writing books is hard. Authors often get stuck on a scene or just feel like something’s off or could be so much stronger, and that’s where I come in with my story consulting services.

One of the most common blocks that pushes authors to come see me is this: The protagonist (aka, the character the story is about) feels flat. “I just don’t know enough about her yet,” or “I’m not sure he’s likable” or “She feels a little two-dimensional.” Or sometimes, they have no idea what the protagonist should do next. The character has become listless.

Ninety percent of…

An easy way to delight your readers

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There are certain conventions of fiction that we all know instinctively. There’s the author, the narrator, some characters, the genre. Most writers like the clear delineation between each of these things, so they maintain it. But what happens if they don’t?

Let’s take a look at three fun examples.

Fwaming. Fwaming is what bwings us togethaw today.

If you’ve ever read The Princess Bride by William Goldman, you were probably left asking the same question I was when I enjoyed it for the first time about fifteen years ago: “You can do that?” I was in high school, a fledgling writer who mostly dabbled in short fiction of…

How to free yourself by presenting only some of the real you

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Stephen King is, presumably, not an axe murderer or even your run-of-the-mill psychopath. And yet, many people I know would be uneasy being in the same room as him. Except it’s not actually him they’re wary of, it’s his alter ego.

The vast majority of savvy authors stick to one genre per pen name. There’s a simple reason for this. Readers associate certain traits and series with each author’s name. JK Rowling? YA fantasy, specifically Harry Potter. Robert Galbraith? Gritty private investigator stories, specifically the Cormoran Strike series. And if you didn’t know, Robert Galbraith is JK Rowling. Obviously, there…

Firm boundaries are your friend.

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Everyone who writes professionally already knows we have to show a lot of receipts, as it were, before anyone will stop treating our career as if it’s just our “little hobby.” That won’t change anytime soon.

The unfortunate result can be that those around us expect us to treat it like a hobby as well, and when we stand firm about getting our words in each day, we face serious pushback and are often told, either overtly or with more subtlety, that we’re being selfish and living in a fantasy.

But every professional writer also knows that getting those words…

How to tell if it’s time to expand your brand or stay small

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The concept that you can trade time for money and vice versa isn’t profound. And if you’re an indie author, you’re familiar with the tradeoff.

You either hustle to do free marketing, bootstrap all your graphics, and swap free services with other authors to get your book done on a budget, leaving you hardly any time left for writing the next book (or, you know, a social life), or you throw some money at the project and free up your time.

When you’re just starting out, and assuming your other job doesn’t pay you extremely handsomely, I recommend the free…

Men, please stop asking.

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I hope this doesn’t come as too much of a shock to anyone, but women can generate our own ideas. Upsetting, I know.

It’s clear just how upsetting this is to some when I say something fresh, new, and intelligent and folks respond with, “Wait, how did you learn that?”

I learned it the same way a man might. I read about it, spit-balled it with other intelligent friends, and then I thought hard on it for a while, synthesized the information I’d gathered, and came up with something novel.

But the most upset I ever see people is after…

It’s actually quite simple.

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It doesn’t take much searching to find writers who lament the scope of the story they want to write. They’ve had a great idea, one that challenges them and charges them up, but they’re hesitant (or terrified) to begin. They say things like, “It’s too big for me,” and “I’m not skilled enough yet.”

Or, as so many of our inner critics like to ask, “Who are you to tell this story?”

It’s easy to listen to these voices, agree with them, and back off from your idea. But let me assure you, the voices are liars. And, more importantly…

H. Claire Taylor

Satirist. Fiction strategist. Founder of FFS Media (www.ffs.media).

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