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How to Identify Your Story's Ideal Reader

When you’re absorbed in the task of writing a novel, it can be easy to forget that the whole point of what you’re trying to do is engage a reader and satisfy his or her expectations of your story.

But if you don’t know who your ideal reader is, how can you possibly write a story...

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How to Outline Your Novel with Save the Cat!

In today’s post, I’m going to show you how to use Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat! Beat Sheet to plot your novel.

If you aren’t familiar with Blake Snyder’s work, the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet is a popular story structure template that subdivides the...

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5 Questions to Help You Write Better Characters

Have you ever read a story where the main character felt flat or boring? I have.

Don’t get me wrong, creating compelling characters for your story is not an easy task—but it is necessary if you want to write a story that works.

 

Just like in real life, your characters should...

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The 6 Key Scenes Every Romance Needs

Romance is one of the best-selling genres in mass-market fiction with a large fan base of readers who just can’t get enough. In today’s post, I’m going to go over the key scenes that every romance novel needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre.

I’m...

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What are Obligatory Scenes and Conventions?

Let’s say you’re in a bookstore and you pick up a novel from the romance section. What would you expect from the story before you even read the first page?

Perhaps you’d expect to see things like—a scene where the couple meets, a budding romance between the two main...

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Story Structure Part 3: The First Plot Point

In the last post on story structure, we went over the second story milestone – the Inciting Incident. As a reminder, the Inciting Incident is an event that upsets the balance of your protagonist’s life, gives rise to their object/s of desire, and foreshadows the story’s...

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Story Structure Part 1: The Hook

How do you get readers to keep reading past the first page of your novel?

With all the books available to them in bookstores and online, it’s more important now than ever to immediately capture your reader’s interest and give them a reason to buy or read your book over someone...

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Six Core Questions: A Big Picture Look At Your Novel

Whether I’m editing a client’s manuscript, studying one of my favorite books or movies, or editing my own work-in-progress, the main thing I want to know is – does this story work? And for those of you that are starting new stories or editing your own drafts, I’m sure...

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Understanding Genre: How to Write Better Stories

How do you start writing a book?

Is there something you should do first, second, and third?

As a developmental editor and book coach, I get asked questions like this all the time. And each time someone asks me what to do first, my answer is the same – first, you need to...

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Novel Length: How Long Should Your Book Be?

How many words are typically in a fantasy novel? What about a steamy romance? Or a nail-biting thriller?

When you’re starting a new writing project, how do you know how long your book should be?

And why does word count matter anyway? Is this really something you need to pay attention to?

...

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