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The writer’s toolkit: Breaking the rules of the narrative arc

Feeling boxed in by the rules and expectations of the conventional narrative arc?  Tired of the old 1st act, 2nd act, 3rd act routine? Itching to break out and try something new? If so, this post is for you. Ordinarily, I’m a staunch believer in the basics of linear story structure: keep it simple, show [...]


The writer’s toolkit: Eavesdropping for dialogue

Listening in on random conversations — okay, blatant eavesdropping — is a time-honored technique for writers fine-tuning their ear and seeking authentic feelings with distinctive ways of expressing them. Norman Mailer did it If you practice eavesdropping, you’re in good company. Norman Mailer used to whip out a little spiral-bound notebook at parties and write [...]


The writer’s toolkit: A voice journal for character development

“A voice journal will keep your characters from becoming little versions of you.” That advice comes from James Scott Bell, author of The Art of War for Writers, a new book of strategies and exercises for fiction authors. “You’ll find yourself excited about your characters. You’ll think about them even when you’re not writing. They [...]