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3 Lessons Fantasy Writers Can Learn from the Classical Epic

3 Lessons Fantasy Writers Can Learn from the Classical Epic

You’ve probably heard the expression “That was epic!” thousands of times. But what does it actually mean? Epic is used to describe a myriad of experiences, but we typically treat it as a synonym for big, awe-inspiring, or just plain cool. Movies are full of epic clashes between good and evil. And if you’re hungry enough, hamburgers can be epic too.

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Stop Forgetting to Develop Your Characters’ Worldviews

Stop Forgetting to Develop Your Characters’ Worldviews

Have you ever filled out a character questionnaire and wondered how the protagonist’s birthday, favorite color, and hobbies are supposed to enhance your story? Many of the questionnaires you can find online focus on superficial details. But even the ones that probe deeper may fail to flesh out a character’s worldview. Every person has one, whether they acknowledge it or not, and it defines who they are, how they think, and why they live the way they do. Without it, you’ll struggle to shape characters readers can empathize with.

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Don’t Make Your Short Story Too Complicated

Don’t Make Your Short Story Too Complicated

Short stories are a powerful medium. In just a few thousand words, they send us on meaningful emotional journeys that linger with us for the rest of our lives. “The Gift of the Magi” illuminates the tender beauty of selflessness, and “The Tell-Tale Heart” exposes us to the torture of a guilty conscience. As much as I love the drawn-out impact of a novel, the quick punch of a short story has an appeal all its own.

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Why Triangles Are the Secret to Writing Killer Scenes Every Time

Why Triangles Are the Secret to Writing Killer Scenes Every Time

Have you ever noticed that one area of plot tends to get neglected? If you browse writing blogs on a regular basis, you’re probably familiar with multiple strategies for structuring a plot, such as the Three Act, Snowflake, Save the Cat, or Hero’s Journey templates. But advice on structuring individual scenes? That’s rare. Knowing how to plot an entire novel is useful, but if you struggle to craft the scenes and chapters within it, you won’t make much progress.

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How to Write Happy Endings that Don’t Feel Contrived

How to Write Happy Endings that Don’t Feel Contrived

Happy endings resound with hope, reminding us of God’s ultimate triumph over evil. As we turn the last page, we feel homesick for the moment when He’ll wipe away all our tears and usher in the new heavens and new earth. But a thin line separates endings that point toward eternal bliss and endings that have been manipulated to give readers warm fuzzies. For a story to remain honest, the ending needs to reflect victory and reality.

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3 Essentials to Writing an Eye-Catching Query Letter

3 Essentials to Writing an Eye-Catching Query Letter

You’ve finished a manuscript and polished it until it can’t shine any brighter. Now you need to begin the task you’ve anxiously been awaiting: writing a query letter. A quick Google search pulls up dozens of articles on the topic and how to excel at it. But some of the content is contradictory. How do you figure out whose advice is accurate?

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How to Write When Suffering Kills Your Creativity

How to Write When Suffering Kills Your Creativity

Writers don’t live in a vacuum. We create within the context of the everyday, and happenings in our own homes, as well as the world outside, can affect our rhythm. Sometimes normalcy transforms into a beast that knocks us flat on our backs. When a loved one dies, we face job loss, or a friend hurts us, the creative flow trickles to a stop. Motivation, consistency, and energy evaporate.

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How to Evoke Humor, Tension, and Sorrow with Dramatic Irony

How to Evoke Humor, Tension, and Sorrow with Dramatic Irony

Writers are lovers of drama. Hit us with a fast-paced shoot-out, a heart-rending rejection, or a tragic death scene, and we’re as happy as larks. Because conflict excites readers, we shove as much of it into our books as possible. Although dramatic irony contains that wonder word, it’s subtler than fight scenes and tear-jerking confessions. Dramatic irony involves manipulating knowledge, not action.

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Should You Share the Gospel in Your Novel?

Should You Share the Gospel in Your Novel?

Have you ever heard that gospel presentations ruin novels? Or that entertaining stories with good morals but no references to the Bible are humanistic? I’m familiar with both these convincing arguments. I don’t want to waste my life by not advancing Christ’s kingdom, but neither do I want to spoil art with pragmatism.

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4 Ways to Help Readers Connect with Unlikable Characters

4 Ways to Help Readers Connect with Unlikable Characters

The cinnamon roll. A smol bean. We invent all kinds of affectionate nicknames for the cuddly teddy-bear characters we adore. But what about characters who have a few prickles? Or are downright cold? As writers, we strive to create characters readers will root for. Otherwise our books won’t stay open for long. But not every story requires a happy-go-lucky Olaf. Sometimes a story needs an emotionally detached Elsa. But how do we endear aloof characters to readers? If we tinker with four areas, we can warm these characters up just enough that readers won’t get frostbitten.

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