A Beginner’s Guide to Worldbuilding

Setting up the Setting Characters don't interact in a vacuum. The reason some people prefer fantasy and sci-fi over contemporary fiction is because they want to get lost in a different world, so creating a compelling setting intrigues readers just as much as character actions and motivations do. Half the fun of reading Harry Potter and … Continue reading A Beginner’s Guide to Worldbuilding

The Deathworkers Agency

The most annoying thing about death is all the paperwork involved. Every morning, Lyle and I make the trip to the warehouse to sift through today’s files and see whose soul we get to summon and send into the light. “Harold Lassiter, aged eighty-six,” I read from the list of names. “Heart attack. Leaves behind … Continue reading The Deathworkers Agency

The Claire Witch Project

There are many things you can easily explain to your parents. Accidentally blowing up your uncle is not one of them. “You are so busted, Claire,” said my sister Lindsay, eying the singed curtains and the freshly made crater in my bedroom floor. “Wait until Dad finds out you were practicing transmorph spells in your … Continue reading The Claire Witch Project

How to Write a Book in 3 Months

Yes, it's possible. The first draft, anyway. If National Novel Writing Month didn't work out for you or was too rushed, try an easier goal of churning out a rough draft in 3 months. The idea is the same—you try to write a certain number of words per day—but the time frame is stretched out … Continue reading How to Write a Book in 3 Months

50 Writing Blog Post Ideas

Maintaining a consistent writing blog can be tricky, especially when you've had one for a while and have to keep coming up with ideas for posts. Here are 50 blog post subjects for writing blogs, both collected from around the internet and thought of by yours truly when I should be paying attention in class. … Continue reading 50 Writing Blog Post Ideas

The Lowdown on Middle Grade vs. Young Adult Fiction

At my most recent writer's conference, I signed up to pitch and have a critique with agents and editors specializing in young adult fantasy, only to have them tell me I was actually writing middle grade. I've been working on this manuscript on and off for a couple years, so I thought I had pretty … Continue reading The Lowdown on Middle Grade vs. Young Adult Fiction

6 Ways to Open a Novel

One of the most important sentences in every novel is the first one. It hooks the reader in and tempts them with the story to come. There are multiple ways to open your novel, but here are the six most common and where they're most effective: 1. Give a general statement Seventy percent of the … Continue reading 6 Ways to Open a Novel

How to Make Your Readers Care

Conflict. Or, more importantly, conflict that matters.  One of the most common critiques you hear about a work of literature is a variation of, "I liked parts, but the story didn't grab me." You might at first puzzle over what that could mean—were the characters not compelling enough? Was the setting drab? Was it too thematic … Continue reading How to Make Your Readers Care