When to show and when to tell — and give your reader autonomy

What’s the most common piece of feedback on fiction manuscripts, especially early drafts? It might be this: Show, don’t tell. Often writers apply telling when they should be showing. The result is that readers become bored with lack of engagement (more on engagement later). But it also often happens that writers show when they ought […]

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How to read like a writer (step 1 to becoming a master storyteller)

I’m often shocked to hear some novice writers say that they don’t read much. I heard this on Reddit recently (I’m paraphrasing): I want to be a writer, but I don’t like to read books — I prefer to play video games. Many video games can reveal storytelling technique. The same goes for screenplays and

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A simple 5-point checklist to help you write faster and revise less

The biggest challenge I’ve faced as a writer has been to create conflict-driven scenes that propel the story forward. In my early stories, conflict between characters was vague or weak, and often my first scene, beginning with gusto, would lose steam. Or else the conflict would be intense, but it would go in circles or

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The three essential turning points on your character’s journey

When I think about a great story — whether it’s a book or movie or stage play or other format — I likely remember those hair-raising, heart-thumping, gut-wrenching moments when change happens. These moments are the turning points in the story. It wasn’t until I studied story structure that I began to understand why these

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Why your creative writing is worthwhile — and how to get started

Creative writing is notoriously difficult to make a living with and most full-time writers struggle to find financial stability. Many people view creative writing as a hobby or “nice-to-have,” not a serious or valuable pursuit. Even as a creative pursuit outside your main career, your writing may not be taken seriously. Unfortunately, friends, family, or

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