How Not to Open a Short Story, by Philip Athans

From: https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/2012/11/27/how-not-to-open-a-short-story, by Philip Athans November 27, 2012 I generally don’t like this kind of negative approach: lists of what not to do. I prefer to encourage you to do things, not discourage you from doing things, but back to the subject of short stories, I can’t help but point out some very common pitfalls that I’ve seen over and over again for years—decades, actually. So here goes, in no particular order, half a… Read More

Data Mining Reveals the Six Basic Emotional Arcs of Storytelling

Recommended by Randy LaBarge. From: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601848/data-mining-reveals-the-six-basic-emotional-arcs-of-storytelling by Emerging Technology from the arXiv; July 6, 2016. Scientists at the Computational Story Laboratory have analyzed novels to identify the building blocks of all stories. Back in 1995, Kurt Vonnegut gave a lecture in which he described his theory about the shapes of stories. In the process, he plotted several examples on a blackboard. “There is no reason why the simple shapes of stories can’t be fed into… Read More

Is My Novel Offensive? by Katy Waldman

From: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2017/02/how_sensitivity_readers_from_minority_groups_are_changing_the_book_publishing.html How “sensitivity readers” are changing the publishing ecosystem—and raising new questions about what makes a great book. When Becky Albertalli published her first young adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, with the HarperCollins imprint Balzer and Bray in 2015, she never expected it to be controversial. She’d worked for years as a clinical psychologist specializing in gender nonconforming children and LGBTQ teens and adults.* Yet her book—about a closeted gay… Read More

The Nazi-Holocaust Survivor Romance Novel You Weren’t Waiting For, By Katherine Locke

From: http://forward.com/sisterhood/318755/nazi-romance August 7, 2015 A few weeks ago in New York City, Romance Writers of America held their annual conference. The agenda included the RITA awards, the equivalent of the Oscars of the romance writing world, and one of those nominees, for “Best Inspirational Romance” and “Best First Novel,” was a book called “For Such a Time” by Kate Breslin. “For Such a Time” is a retelling of the biblical book of… Read More

How to Use These 7 Pixar Story Hacks On Your Screenplay, by Shanee Edwards

By: Shanee Edwards, from http://screenwritingumagazine.com/2016/06/17/use-7-pixar-story-tricks-screenplay Pixar storyboard artist, Emma Coats, once tweeted 22 rules that Pixar movies always try to follow.  With the release of Finding Dory 13 years after Finding Nemo, the rules still apply and are helpful to any writer struggling with building a story from the ground up. Following these seven rules in particular will guide your relatable protagonist though a clear story and in turn, help you write a great script. No. 1 — Admire a character… Read More

How to write backstory but not bog down your book

From: http://www.nownovel.com/blog/how-to-write-backstory-tips Telling character backstory is sometimes necessary to show why your character has a specific motivation or mindset. Yet it’s important to learn how to write backstory that will not bog your novel down in constant harking back to prior events that occurred before the present time of your narrative. Read 5 tips for using backstory better: Choose what to explain using backstory and what to leave a mystery. Only use backstory for… Read More

How to Write a Thrilling Action Scene, by Jessi Rita Hoffman

May 8, 2016 From: http://writerunboxed.com/2016/05/08/how-to-write-a-thrilling-action-scene Whether you write YA, romance, fantasy, or actual thrillers, there are times in any novel where an action scene is called for. These scenes can be among the hardest to write. What runs like an exciting movie in your imagination can end up clunking along on the page, causing even your own eyes to glaze over. And we all know dull action scenes are the kiss of… Read More

Donelle Knudsen Wins First Honorable Mention in Oregon Writers Colony 2016 Contest

I have good news to share. Earlier, Oregon Writers Colony selected two of my three entries as finalists in the Narrative Nonfiction Short Story category. Angels Come in Many Sizes earned Honorable Mention and Desert Rose or A Blooming Miracle earned First Honorable Mention. I will attend the Awards Ceremony in December to read a portion of Desert Rose or A Blooming Miracle. I want to thank my Wordherders for their encouragement and support. By Donelle

Where Story Begins – Premise, by Michael Tabb

From:  http://www.scriptmag.com/features/script-notes-where-story-begins-premise THE CONCEPT OF PREMISE In the beginning, there was darkness. A void. Most writers spend an endless amount of time staring at a blank page, waiting for ideas to come to them. There’s this great line from the movie Real Genius, “You can’t dictate innovation.” Yet that’s how most writers work. They wait for an idea/concept to dawn on them, or they go looking for it like a set of… Read More

**EXPLICIT** 25 Things to Know About Writing the First Chapter of Your Novel, by Chuck Wendig

From:  http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2012/05/29/25-things-to-know-about-writing-the-first-chapter EVERY BOOK A HOOK (AND THE FIRST CHAPTER’S THE BAIT) A reader walks into a bookstore. Spies an interesting book. What does she do? Picks it up. Flips to the first chapter before anything else. At least, that’s what I do. (Then I smell the book and rub it on my bare stomach in a circular motion and make mmmmmm noises.) Or, if I can find the first chapter online… Read More