Lesson # 88: Describing a Scene

The dog rested on the couch, curled into a tight ball, snoot hanging over the edge surrounded by a pile of sheet music and research articles. Wind howled outside the window blowing snow from here to Montana in a single gust as frigid air seeped into the room—goosebumps erupted on my arms. The carpet in […]

Lesson 83: Make this POV Stronger

    Drake climbed on top of a rock overlooking a wide valley. The enemy army stretched as far as the eye could see. He slunk back out of visual range before taking off ripety-tear to inform his commanding officer.   After ten minutes of running, Drake skidded to a halt in camp. “Where’s the commander?” […]

Lesson 78: Got Setting?

Does your life take place in a vacuum? If I zapped you with a transporter ray and dropped you in the middle of Saudi Arabia, would that make a difference to your everyday life? Think about this for a minute. Pick today and lay out your day. Could you do your life in Saudi Arabia? […]

Lesson 74: Introducing your protagonist and antagonist

            “Hurry up and get in the car.” He motioned with his hands so hard, they blurred.             “The TV is starting to drop,” she bent low at the knees and thrust upward trying to shift the hulking screen toward her center of gravity, “can’t you come here and help […]

Lesson #70 The Hero’s Journey

Hold on, this is gonna be a wild ride. I’m gonna take you on a journey—the hero’s journey—in 800 words or less. When I teach this, it’s a six-week course! I can do twelve hours of lecture and worksheets on this topic, so this will be very basic. First off, it’s important to know that […]

Lesson #68 Creating Complex characters

Before we dive into today’s lesson, I have a message to pass along from you from Kim. She’s been…hmmm…how do I sum this up? Kim spent a couple weeks in the hospital with various, terrifically painful conditions, and she’s not done having surgeries yet. There. That’s fairly succinct. She promises to have her lessons up […]

Lesson #66 Unique Characters

  While you lathered up under the shower’s spray, a character pushed himself into your mind. He was tall, dark and handsome AND–get this– he was a professional mouth organist who toured the world playing harmonica while taking care of his schizophrenic, bi-polar mother who had rickets. He also bred a bouncing brood of howler monkeys […]

Lesson #62 Strengthen Your Plot

  Read any good book on writing, attend writer’s conferences, and you’ll hear this warning again and again—beware the sagging middle. These fine folk are not speaking of the aftermath of that dozen donuts downed in despair over a deadline. Nor are they eluding to the need of sturdier foundational garments. Rather, they are warning […]

Lesson #58: Purpose of Crit Groups

Purpose of Crit Groups  Let me preface this post by stating this: I am part of one of the best critique groups on the planet. You’ve heard me reference my bloodthirsty crit partners several times. And I probably should point out that my bloodthirsty crit partners are also contributors to this resource. Kim, Becca, and […]