Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #5: Character Backstories

There are many exercises and techniques with which you can experiment to develop your characters, but this is my favorite. I use it all the time with important characters, and once I get into it, I’m always surprised to learn who a character really is, what shaped them, what motivates them, and how they’re going … Read more

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #4 — Chapter Endings

How many times have you stayed up waaay too late reading a book, because you just had to read one more chapter? In this video I discuss how to end your chapters so that your readers won’t be able to put your book down. How’s your Nanowrimo novel going? Comments welcome.  

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #3 — Raise The Stakes

One of the points we’re always told when plotting a novel, no matter what genre, is to raise the stakes. The protagonist (or his/her loved ones) must confront obstacles, jump over hurdles, or solve problems… or else… But what does that really mean? I explain in this short video. Hope it helps your Nanowrimo project.

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #2 — Beginnings

Hi, again. Here is Nanowrimo Writing Tip #2 — Beginnings. I’m still talking about suspense, but this time I start at the beginning: The all-powerful first line. I’ll talk explain how to approach it, then give you some of my all-time favorite examples. It is a little longer than I anticipated (at three and a half minutes) but hang … Read more

Nanowrimo Video Writing Tip #1

Hi, all. In honor of National Novel Writing Month, I decided to repost my Writing Lite video series. I hope you find them useful, even if you’re not participating. There are twelve videos, and none are over four minutes– most are under three. I’ll try to post a few each week so you have them all … Read more

Writing Lite Tip 20: Learn what a “sting” is…

Learn what a "sting" is (at the end of a chapter). But don’t overdo it.

A sting is a suspense technique designed to encourage readers to keep on reading, i.e., go to the next chapter. Think “cliff-hanger” and you’ve got it. But it can also introduce a character, action, or thought that makes the entire chapter that preceded it be viewed in a different light. For example, you’ve just written … Read more

Writing Lite Tip 2: One clause sentences. Two at the most

LIbby Hellmann Writing Lite Tip No 2

Long, languorous sentences make it difficult for the reader to follow, unless he or she is a very patient reader. Most readers aren’t, sorry to say. They’re interested in story. Not the prose you’ve so carefully crafted. So, make it easy for your readers. Limit your sentences to easily understood thoughts. Each sentence should add … Read more

The Writer and Sensory Detail: How much, how often?

  “Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” E. L. Doctorow I love that definition. Sensory detail succeeds when a writer uses the senses of touch, taste, sight, smell and sound to create a visceral, emotional reaction … Read more