From Fiction University: Enabling third party cookies on your browser could help if you have trouble leaving a comment.

Friday, March 27

Revealing a Character's Past Without Falling Into Backstory

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Backstory is a necessary evil in many stories, but you can sneak it in so flows naturally with the scene.

A character's past is important to her character arc, but it's an area that can easily turn into messy backstory or infodump if we're not careful. We drop in information because it has to go somewhere, and getting it out of the way quickly lets us get to the story faster.

Odds are this "drop in" of information is going to make the past feel stuck in, and feel more like backstory than a natural part of the narrative. It can stop the story, kill the pacing, and read like the author held up her hand and said, "Wait, hang on a sec, let me tell you this one thing before we go on."

Thursday, March 26

Write Happy! The 4 Little Letters That Will Transform Your Writing Process

By Jacqueline Myers

Part of The Writer's Life Series


JH: Finding the right process is a challenge most writers face. Luckily, Jacqueline Myers is here to share tips on how your personality can lead you to the perfect process.


Jacqueline is currently happily at work on her second mystery series (under a pen name) while sharing what she's learned with other writers. Using the synergy of personality theory and brain science, Jacqueline coaches writers using a proprietary methodology that helps them overcome their debilitating creative blocks so they can write un-put-down-able books.

If you are struggling, she'd love to see how she can support you! Schedule your free story strategy session here. You can also email her at jacqueline@intuitivewritingcoach.com.

Take it away Jacqueline…

Wednesday, March 25

Plot Your Novel With Mini Arcs

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

If you have trouble plotting an entire novel at once, try plotting it one small arc at a time. 

Trying to keep an entire novel in your head can be challenging for some writers. Trying to plot out an entire novel before you write it can be challenging for other writers. But there's a middle ground that lets you plot out smaller chunks of the story as you write it—sort of a pantsing outline.

Plotting and writing with mini arcs.

An entire book can be overwhelming to plot—especially if you’re not sure what happens. But mini arcs are more manageable and allow you to work with the immediate scenes and problems without worrying about what comes next and trying to force the plot to head in that direction.

Tuesday, March 24

The Grieving Process & Finishing Your Novel

By Bonnie Randall

Part of The Writer's Life Series 


JH: Writing a novel is a commitment, and when that "relationship" ends, it can be traumatic. Bonnie Randall shares tips and thoughts on dealing with novel grief. 

Truman Capote said “Finishing a book is just like you took your child out into the back yard and shot it.”

Writing a novel is a full-time immersion into an alternate reality within which we live for extensive stretches of time—creating characters who, by our own intense efforts, are as three-dimensional as any flesh and blood person we’ve ever encountered, and settings as vivid as any locale we’ve ever been to.

Naturally, then, we form relationships with the acutely real people and places we create.

Monday, March 23

Two Free At-Home Workshops to Keep You Busy During Quarantine

By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

Here are two free at-home writing workshops to get you through the quarantine.

I read (and write) a lot of science fiction, but I never thought I’d been writing a post in response to a pandemic. It’s a bit surreal, and I imagine a lot of people feel the same way.

With so many staying home, there are a lot of bored people out there. Some of them are writers who have an opportunity to start that novel or revise one they’ve been working on. Some of them are folks who’ve always wanted to write and finally have the time to try it.

It’s also a time when people are being cost-conscious. Many are out of work, or have had to close down their businesses to stay safe. It’s harder to find things to do when you don’t want to spend any money.

Saturday, March 21

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at a Mystery Opening

Critique By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy

WIP Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines

Submissions currently in the queue: two

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through April 4.

This week’s questions:

1. Does the reader need additional information on the characters at this time?

2. Does the setup catch your interest and leave you with a lot of questions you want the answers to?

3. Are there areas that definitely need more work?

Market/Genre: Mystery

On to the diagnosis…

Friday, March 20

How I Trick My Panster Brain into Plotting

E. J. Wenstrom, @EJWenstrom

Part of the How They Do It Series

JH: Plotter or pantser, there's a lot to be said for just getting the story down--even if it's a mess. E.J. Wenstrom shares tips on how to hash out a novel.

E. J. Wenstrom believes in complicated heroes, horrifying monsters, purple hair dye and standing to the right on escalators so the left side can walk. Her award-winning fantasy series Chronicles of the Third Realm War features a peculiar mashup of mythology, folklore, and an extra dash of her own special brand of chaos. It starts with Royal Palm Literary Award Book of the Year Mud (#1), Tides (#2), and Sparks (#3), as well as the prequel Rain (#0).

When she isn’t writing fiction, E. J. Wenstrom is a regular contributor to DIY MFA and BookRiot, and co-hosts the FANTASY+GIRL Podcast.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Podcast

Take it away E.J….

Thursday, March 19

How The 12-Week Year Can Help You Write Your Novel

productivity, writing a novel, how to write faster
By Rochelle Melander, @WriteNowCoach

Part of The Writer’s Life Series


JH: Finding a writing schedule that works is often harder than writing the actual novel. Rochelle Melander shares thoughts on a 12-week process that can keep your focused and productive.

Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, experienced book strategist, and the author of eleven books, including, Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. She provides solutions for people who feel stuck, overwhelmed or confused by the writing and publishing process. She is the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports children and teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories. Sign up for her Write Now! Tips Ezine at http://www.writenowcoach.com.

Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Take it away Rochelle…

Tuesday, March 17

How My Self-Published Book Got a Starred Review from Publishers Weekly

By Jenn Gott, @gottwords

Part of The Indie Authors Series

JH: Getting reviewed by the Big Reviewers is a challenge for indie authors. Jenn Gott shares her experience (and tips) on getting reviewed by the industry trade publications. 

Jenn Gott is an indie author and a writer with Reedsy, so she basically spends all her time either writing books, or helping people learn how to write books. She firmly believes there is no writing skill you cannot learn with practice and the right guidance. When she’s not working, she enjoys keeping up with the latest superhero movies, reading, and swimming.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

Take it away Jenn...

Saturday, March 14

WIP Diagnostic: Is This Working? A Closer Look at a Historical Fiction Opening

Critique By Maria D'Marco

WIP Diagnostics is a weekly column that studies a snippet of a work in progress for specific issues. Readers are encouraged to send in work with questions, and we diagnose it on the site. It’s part critique, part example, and designed to help the submitter as well as anyone else having a similar problem.

If you're interested in submitting to WIP Diagnostics, please check out these guidelines. 

Submissions currently in the queue: Two

Please Note: As of today, critique slots are booked through March 28.

This week’s question:

Does this scene work?

Market/Genre: Historical Fiction

On to the diagnosis…