Where do you get your ideas? Recently, I received an email from a fiction writer who was nearing completion of her first novel and wanted to know how to generate a list of ideas for future stories. I’d like to start by saying that I applaud this writer for thinking ahead. It is always best to have a bunch of ideas waiting to be written when you have finished your most recent manuscript. But how do you find ideas? And how do you know which are worthy of spending your time on? First, it helps to know that there is no magical formula for generating ideas.   With that said, here are 6 suggestions on how to generate ideas for your story that have worked… Read More

Create Believable Characters — Using Method Writing

When I was eight years old, I saw a dark and eerie pencil sketch hanging in the study of a relative’s home:  A man holding a test tube with an apparition of a demon staring at him. This visual experience was to have an effect on me later in life, particularly in my discovery of method acting for writers. As a teenager, I once participated in a school storytelling competition. On stage, before an audience of several hundred students, I enacted the tale of a man tormented by his own shadow, a menacing figure with its own personality. To do that, I personified the scary shadow figure while switching roles at times to let both personalities develop conflict. I won the first prize. The idea… Read More

The 5 Rules of Writing Effective Flashbacks

In my work critiquing manuscripts, one of the biggest mistakes I see first-time authors make is in the use of writing effective flashbacks. Either they’re misplaced, go on too long, or they serve more as a diversion than as a device to advance the storytelling. But used wisely, flashbacks can add richness, emotional resonance, and depth to your novel. 5 Tips in Writing Effective Flashbacks:… Read More