Fiction Writing Made Easy

By Savannah Gilbo

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Reviews: 2

Description

How do I write a book? How do I create compelling characters that readers will love? How do I build a believable world for my story? What does it even mean to write a story that works? Do you have any writing tips? These are just some of the big questions that developmental editor and book coach, Savannah Gilbo, digs into on the Fiction Writing Made Easy Podcast. Each week, Savannah shares actionable tools, tips, and strategies that will help you write, edit, and publish your book. So, whether you're brand new to writing, or a seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you!

Episode Date
The 6 Key Scenes Every Crime Novel Needs
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In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every crime story needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:15] Crime stories are all about the quest to either solve or commit a crime. So, these stories start with a crime, build with an investigation (or a completion of the crime), and end with identifying and bringing the criminal to justice (or not).
[02:15] Readers choose crime fiction because they want to follow the trail of clues, make meaning of those clues, and figure out the puzzle right alongside the protagonist. They want to see the wrongs righted, and they want to see justice prevail.
[03:05] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[04:35] Key scene #1: The protagonist discovers a crime that’s indicative of a master antagonist.
[05:55] Key scene #2: The stakes become personal to the protagonist, and they commit to figuring out what’s going on so they can bring the antagonist to justice.
[07:10] Key scene #3: The protagonist learns more about what the antagonist wants and why. This raises the stakes, and the clock starts ticking.
[08:40] Key scene #4: The protagonist reaches an all-is-lost moment where they realize they’ve come to the wrong conclusion or they’ve been pursuing the wrong person.
[10:05] Key scene #5: The protagonist exposes the true criminal in the big climactic moment and unravels all the antagonist’s motives and plans.
[11:40] Key scene #6: The protagonist brings the antagonist to justice (or not).
[12:55] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix, and if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast, and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review,” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join, and you can click here to request access!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Aug 11, 2022
First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban with Abigail Perry
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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the third book in the Harry Potter series:

[03:00] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[04:50] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[21:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
[40:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jul 19, 2022
First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets with Abigail Perry
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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the second book in the Harry Potter series:

[03:30] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[05:30] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[25:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
[46:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jul 14, 2022
First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone with Abigail Perry
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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the first book in the Harry Potter series:

[04:30] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[07:00] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[38:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
[60:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 25, 2022
10 Querying Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)
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In this episode, I'm sharing the 10 most common querying mistakes I see writers make and how to avoid them. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[02:45] Mistake #1: Your story isn't 100% ready to send out just yet.
[04:25] Mistake #2: Sending your query to the wrong person.
[06:15] Mistake #3: Not following the submission guidelines.
[08:45] Mistake #4: You forgot to include your metadata.
[09:50] Mistake #5: Your word count is too high or too low.
[11:10] Mistake #6: The genre of your story isn't clear.
[12:30] Mistake #7: The comp titles listed don't make sense.
[14:25] Mistake #8: Your story summary is too vague.
[16:35] Mistake #9: You've tried to fit too much stuff in your query.
[18:55] Mistake #10: Your query letter is unprofessional or weird.
[21:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 18, 2022
Bonus: Be A Bestseller 3.0 Summit Interview with Emma Dhesi
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In today’s extra special bonus episode, I'm sharing an interview I did earlier this year with Emma Dhesi for her Be A Bestseller Summit.

We talked about genre and how your story’s genre can help you write a story that works. And specifically, we dove into the thriller genre and talked about how the key scenes and conventions of the thriller genre show up in The Silence of the Lambs.

This was such a fun event to be a part of because it’s always fun to talk about writing, but also there were 25-30 other speakers who all shared their insights, tips, and strategies on the writing, editing, and publishing process., too.

The event is officially over, but you want to watch a replay of all the interviews, you can click here to purchase an All-Access Pass. Enjoy!

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in this Episode:


P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 15, 2022
Action Genre Conventions
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the action genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Hunger Games. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] Action stories are about life and death, and good versus evil. They’re about a character who has to rise up, overcome great obstacles, defeat forces of evil, and maybe even save the world. But that being said, these stories aren’t always about superheroes.
[02:35] Readers choose action stories to experience the excitement of the life and death stakes and situations that the protagonist is presented with. But it’s not just about that—we choose these stories because they inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves, too.
[03:35] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and micro-events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
[04:50] #1 - The protagonist has a special talent or gift and the potential for heroism.
[06:55] #2 - The protagonist’s goal is to stop the antagonist and save victims.
[08:10] #3 - There are multiple lives at stake (including the protagonist’s).
[09:10] #4 - The antagonist is stronger and/or more powerful than the protagonist.
[10:25] #5 - The protagonist has a moral compass that the antagonist does not.
[11:50] #6 - There’s a speech in praise of the antagonist.
[13:00] #7 - There’s a MacGuffin (or a very specific thing the antagonist wants).
[13:50] #8 - There are sidekicks who help the protagonist save the victim/s.
[14:45] #9 - There’s at least one mentor figure who gives the protagonist guidance.
[15:25] #10 - There’s a ticking clock that puts pressure on the protagonist.
[17:05] Key points and episode recap.

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:


P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In t

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Feb 15, 2022
5 Reasons Why Readers Stop Reading
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In this episode, I'm exploring 5 reasons why readers might stop reading a novel. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[01:50] Reason #1: Nothing meaningful happens in the opening pages.
[04:15] Reason #2: It’s hard to connect with the point of view characters.
[06:30] Reason #3: Readers don’t know what kind of story they’re reading.
[09:40] Reason #4: Readers have seen the same thing before.
[12:30] Reason #5: Readers don't care what happens next.
[15:45] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Feb 03, 2022
3 Tips for Writing a First Draft in 90 Days
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In this episode, I'm sharing three tips for writing a first draft in 90 days. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[01:35] How one of my Notes to Novel students, Jennifer, wrote a draft in 90 days (after creating a flexible, yet very fleshed out scene-by-scene outline)
[04:35] Tip #1: Block out the time and space on your calendar so that you'll actually have the time and space to write a first draft in 90 days.
[05:25] Tip #2: Accept that your first draft will be messy, but don't let that stop you from making forward progress. Use things like "details TK" to keep moving forward.
[07:00] Tip #3: Create a scene-by-scene outline for your story so that you have a roadmap to follow each time you sit down to write.
[09:25] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jan 18, 2022
How to Test Your Story Idea Before Writing
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In this episode, I'm sharing two of my favorite ways to test out a story idea before you start writing a single word. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[01:50] The goal of these two exercises is to find out which foundational pieces of your story still need to be fleshed out. Better to find out now than halfway through a draft!
[01:10] Exercise #1: Write a 1-2 sentence summary of your story. Try to capture the WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY of your global story.
[04:45] If you don't know all the answers, look to your genre for clues! Your story's global genre will give you the framework for these summaries (and so much more).
[06:00] If an idea does fall flat in this 1-2 sentence summary, this does NOT mean the story idea isn't good. It just means there's more work to do to flesh out the foundational elements required to write a full-length story.
[06:30} Exercise #2: Write a 250-word (or less) summary of your story. Take your short summary and expand the WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY. Add details about your setting, too.
[08:00] An example of a summary from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
[11:20] Final thoughts and episode recap

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jan 11, 2022
Counting Down the Best Tips from FWME in 2021
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In this episode, I'm doing my own little countdown of some of the best and most listened to clips from the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast episodes in 2021. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[00:00] Tip #10: The more clear you are about your goals, the better chance of success you’ll have when it comes to accomplishing them. 
[00:00] Tip #9: Knowing your story’s ideal reader can help you write, edit, publish, and market your book. 
[00:00] Tip #8: Your point of view character needs to have a goal in each and every scene in your novel.
[00:00] Tip #7: Your point of view character needs to face a tough choice in every single scene.
[00:00] Tip #6: The theme of your story doesn’t have to be original!
[00:00] Tip #5: Focusing on writing solid scenes (vs. chapters) will allow you to finish your draft in the most efficient way (and become a better writer).
[00:00] Tip #4:  If you’re stuck between multiple story ideas, ask yourself which one will help you become a better writer and start there.
[00:00] Tip #3: You need to understand your character’s backstory to give them meaningful conflict to face in the story present.
[00:00] Tip #2: Understanding the ins and outs of your genre is the fastest way to write a story that works.
[00:00] Tip #1: Focus on crafting a compelling story before you focus on writing beautiful words and sentences.

Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Dec 21, 2021
5 Takeaways From Coaching Writers in 2021
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In today’s episode, I'm sharing some of the lessons I learned from coaching writers this year. My hope is that these lessons will help you to keep moving forward with your work in the most efficient way possible. Here's a quick preview:

[01:15] Lesson #1: Most writers have trouble with the emotional layers of their stories. We need to properly learn how to convey our character's emotional reactions in order to successfully evoke emotions in readers.
[05:00] Lesson #2: It's not always going to be easier to write your second book than it was to write your first book. Even if you've "leveled up," you'll still need to go through the process of writing a messy first draft to discover your story. Think of it as practicing your craft.
[07:50] Lesson #3: It's important to speak up about what you want, what you think, and what's important to you--even if you're working with someone like a traditional publisher.
[10:45] Lesson #4: Most writers don't spend enough time developing their antagonist as they do their protagonist, and they should! Your antagonist provides the central conflict for your story, so they're just as important to flesh out and make three-dimensional.
[13:10] Lesson #5: It's so important to get to "The End" of your first draft because then, and only then, will you be able to see your story as a whole. The way forward will be so much easier once you see the big picture.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

  • Notes to Novel: Learn how to confidently write the first draft of a story you feel proud of (without the crippling self-doubt, frustration, and overwhelm that stops most writers in their tracks). Click here to get on the waitlist!

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Dec 14, 2021
3 Tips for Writing Unforgettable Secondary Characters
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In today's episode, I'll walk you through three tips for crafting unforgettable supporting characters.  Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:15] Supporting characters are any characters that are not your protagonist or your antagonist. In general, each supporting character in your story will either support or thwart your protagonist as they try to achieve their goal.
[03:10] Tip #1: Develop your supporting cast of characters just as fully as you would your protagonist and your antagonist.
[05:15] Tip #2: Let your supporting characters represent an aspect of the overarching story.
[07:15] Tip #3: Give your supporting cast of characters a hook to help them stand out.
[11:30] Key points and episode recap.

Links Mentioned in This Episode


Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Dec 07, 2021
Save the Cat! The Ending Beats
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beats that make up the end of a story, or the final section of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] A recap of the last three episodes (episodes #47, #48, and #49)/
[03:15] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section (the end) is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
[03:40] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats. I will tell you which is which!
[04:20] Beat #14 is the five part finale! And this beat is all about resolving all the problems that were raised in act one and act two. It's also about showing how much your protagonist has changed since page one.
[05:45] Five Part Finale Part 1: Gathering the Team.
[07:00] Five Part Finale Part 2: Executing the Plan.
[08:35] Five Part Finale Part 3: High Tower Surprise.
[10:15] Five Part Finale Part 4: Dig Deep Down.
[12:15] Five Part Finale Part 5: Execution of the New Plan.
[15:00] Beat #15 is the final image. And this is a single scene beat that shows how much your protagonist has changed since the opening image.
[18:25] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Sep 08, 2021
Save the Cat! The Middle Beats (Part 2)
1549

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beats that make up the second half of the middle section of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:55] A recap of last week's episode that focused on the first half of the middle beats in the STC! method. Click here to listen to episode #48 first!
[03:05] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section (the middle, part two) is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
[03:45] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats. I will tell you which is which!
[04:15] Beat #10 is the Bad Guys Close in beat, which is a multi-scene beat where the external and/or internal bad guys put pressure on your protagonist so that they're ultimately set up for change in the upcoming beats.
[09:55 Beat #11 is the All is Lost beat, which is a single scene beat and the worst moment of the story so far for your protagonist where everything feels horrible.
[24:25] Beat #12 is the Dark Night of the Soul beat which is a multi-scene beat where the protagonist evaluates, analyzes, and thinks about everything (especially whatever happened in the All is Lost moment) and has an epiphany regarding what to do next.
[19:00] Beat #13 is the Break Into Three beat which is a single scene beat where the protagonist takes their first step or action to execute their new plan.
[22:15] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Aug 24, 2021
Save the Cat! The Middle Beats (Part 1)
1739

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beats that make up the first half of the middle section of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:55] A recap of last week's episode that focused on the beginning beats in the STC! method. Click here to listen to episode #47 first!
[02:30] Act two is all about your character changing. In act one, the protagonist starts out one way, then they go on a journey in act two, and come out the other side in act three a new and improved person.
[04:15] In act two, the protagonist needs to have agency over what they’re doing. They need to take active steps toward getting or accomplishing the thing they want (aka the thing they think will bring them happiness or fulfillment).
[05:00] As we go through these beats, pay attention to how they put pressure on the protagonist until he or she changes.
[05:25] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section (the middle, part one) is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
[06:25] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats. I will tell you which is which!
[07:00] Beat #7 is the B-Story beat which is a single scene beat that introduces a new character (or characters depending on your story) who will ultimately help the hero learn the lesson of the story.
[10:30] Beat #8 is the fun and games beat which is a multi-scene beat where we see the protagonist really sinking into their new world, and they’re either loving it or they’re hating it. 
[18:30] Beat #9 is the midpoint beat which is a single scene beat that ups the stakes, and this is where the protagonist starts to shift from chasing their wants to letting go of the thing they want in order to figure out what they need. 
[24:45] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jul 13, 2021
Save the Cat! The Beginning Beats
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beginning beats of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:05] The STC! method highlights 15 “beats” or plot points that each has a specific purpose and serves a particular function within your global story.
[02:25] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
[03:15] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats.
[03:55] Beat #1 is the opening image which is a single scene beat that shows a “before” snapshot of the protagonist’s life and the flawed world that he or she lives in. 
[06:10] Beat #2 is the theme stated which is another single scene beat where someone hints at the theme or what the protagonist will learn by the end of the story.
[08:15] Beat #3 is the setup which is a multi-scene beat where readers get to see what the protagonist’s life and world are like–flaws and all. It’s also where important supporting characters and the protagonist’s initial goal are introduced.
[011:30] Beat #4 is the catalyst which is a single scene beat where a life-changing event happens to the protagonist and catapults him or her into a new world or a new way of thinking.
[13:50] Beat #5 is the debate which is a multi-scene beat where the protagonist debates what he or she will do next. This will take up the second half of the beginning section of your story.
[16:40] Beat #6 is the break into two which is a single scene beat that acts as the bridge between act one and act two. Here, the protagonist decides to accept the call to adventure and leave their comfort zone, or adopt a new way of thinking.
[18:15] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jun 22, 2021
The 6 Scenes Every Worldview Novel Needs
994

In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every worldview story needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:20] Worldview stories focus on a period of the main character’s life where he or she is transitioning from one significant state to another. These stories show how the external events of the plot affect a character in such a way that he or she must grow, change, and awaken to a new understanding of themselves, or the world around him or her.
[02:30] Readers choose to read worldview novels because they are super relatable. Life doesn’t always give us what we want, right? We’ve all experienced some kind of “life problem” that has forced us to stop in our tracks and re-examine who we are and what we value in order to move forward.
[03:45] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[05:40] Key scene #1: A scene in which the protagonist's worldview is challenged.
[06:45] Key scene #2: A scene in which the protagonist commits to the wrong thing.
[07:50] Key scene #3: A scene in which the protagonist sees the truth (either part or all of it) but chooses to ignore it.
[09:00] Key scene #4: A scene in which the protagonist realizes they can't run from the truth anymore. They need to change if they want to move forward.
[10:00] Key scene #5: A scene in which the protagonist embraces the truth.
[11:00] Key scene #6: A scene in which the protagonist's loss of innocence is rewarded.
[12:25] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jun 01, 2021
How to Deal With Imposter Syndrome
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In today's episode, I'm sharing three strategies that will help you overcome imposter syndrome.  Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:50] A quick story about what my two dogs, Forrest and Luna, taught me about overcoming imposter syndrome (and how you can, too).
 [04:35] An example of how a client I worked with suffered from imposter syndrome for twelve years before every querying agents with her story. Spoiler alert: she's now a published author whose book is with one of the big five publishers.
[05:35] Imposter syndrome is defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist in spite of evident success. Imposters suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. Almost all writers experience these feelings of inadequacy at some point in the writing, editing, and publishing process.
[06:35] Imposter syndrome shows up differently for everyone. For one person, it might look like paralysis or the inability to move forward. For another, it might look like writer's block or even throwing in the towel and quitting altogether.
[07:15] Strategy #1 is to stop overthinking so that you can reconnect with your heart and show up as your true self. That way, you'll be better able to share your unique message with readers and connect with them on a deep level.
[9:50] Strategy #2 is to take some kind of action, no matter how big or small. This will help you move out of your head and into your heart. Not only that, but it'll also help you get your story done and out into the world.
[11:00] Strategy #3 is to stop chasing shiny objects. If you keep jumping from story idea to story idea, or from one outlining method to another, you're never going to get to the finish line. Instead, keep your head down, stay in your lane, and keep moving forward.
[16:15] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. <a href="https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/fiction-writing-made-easy/id1502307717">Just click here to review</a>, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 25, 2021
Performance Genre Conventions
1114

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the performance genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Mighty Ducks. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:15] Performance stories center around a character who wants to achieve something specific in order to prove their worth to the world. For example, they might want to win a certain award, climb Mount Everest, be the best in their field, or be famous.
[01:55] Readers choose performance novels because they are extremely relatable. Every day we deal with the pressure to perform on the world’s stage, and we are constantly faced with decisions that could result in success or failure.
[02:55] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
[04:45] #1 - There is an underdog protagonist who usually has some kind of special gift.
[05:30] #2 - There's a MacGuffin or a specific thing the protagonist wants to get or achieve.
[06:30] #3 - There's a mentor figure with a little bit of baggage.
[07:45] #4 - There's a team of people who support the protagonist.
[08:40] #5 - There are trials or training sequences that help get the protagonist ready for the big event.
[09:55] #6 - The protagonist faces social problems or moral challenges (like bullying or social class divides).
[10:55] #7 - The protagonist faces a worthy opponent.
[11:30] #8 - There's a monkey wrench that gets thrown into the mix just when it seems like victory is in sight.
[12:30] #9 - There's an internal change within the protagonist.
[13:25] #10 - There's usually a bittersweet ending.
[15:10] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:


P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 18, 2021
10 Tips for Writing Better Scenes
1009

In today's episode, I'm sharing my top ten tips for writing better scenes. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] Tip #1: Stick to one point-of-view character per scene. This will help you avoid head-hopping and getting off track.
[02:45] Tip #2: Establish where and when each scene is taking place as soon as possible. Especially, if things have changed since the last scene.
[03:50] Tip #3: Give your point-of-view character a specific (and meaningful) goal in each scene. What do they want? Why do they want it?
[05:30] Tip #4: Make sure each scene contains a mini-arc of change. These mini-arcs of change will add up to create your story's overarching arc.
[06:45] Tip #5: Give your point-of-view character agency in each scene. Let them make decisions and take actions that move the story forward.
[08:15] Tip #6: Show readers what your point-of-view character is thinking and feeling throughout the scene. Let readers inside your character's head!
[09:15] Tip #7: Try to advance at least one subplot per scene. This will keep things interesting for readers and help you write a cohesive story.
[10:45] Tip #8: Use the "story present" to trigger any backstory, exposition, or worldbuilding details. Don't build whole scenes just for the sake of delivering information.
[12:00] Tip #9: Only include dialogue that's relevant to what's happening in the scene. If it's not relevant, you probably don't need it. It's that simple!
[12:30] Tip #10: Make sure each of your scenes contributes to the global story both externally (the plot) and internally (your character's arc).
[14:30] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Apr 20, 2021
10 Reasons Why Novels Get Rejected
1199

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through 10 common reasons why manuscripts are rejected by publishers. Here's a preview of what's included:

[02:05] After a rejection, you don't have to wait before making your next move. You can get to work right away and figure out what’s wrong with your draft so that you can fix it and resubmit your story.
[02:25] Reason #1: The category or genre isn’t the right fit for the agent or the publisher. Usually, this means the author didn't do their research.
[03:40] Reason #2: The submission materials are full of bad mechanics (aka poor grammar and spelling) and lackluster writing.
[05:15] Reason #3: The author doesn’t know who their target audience is or, even worse, they say their story is for everyone.
[07:15] Reason #4: The story world isn’t pulling its weight, or it doesn't feel organic.
[08:300] Reason #5: The high-level story summaries are weak or all over the place.
[10:15] Reason #6: The characters aren't unique or interesting. They don't pull readers in and get them invested in the story.
[11:30] Reason #7: The author lacks a strong voice.
[12:25] Reason #8: The plot of the story is predictable or cliche. Usually, this is because your characters are flat or predictable.
[14:20] Reason #9: The theme of the story is overbearing and it reads like a lecture.
[15:40] Reason #10: The story fails to deliver a powerdul emotional experience to readers.
[17:30] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction.

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 30, 2021
The 6 Scenes Every Action Novel Needs
994

In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every action story needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] Action stories are about life and death, and good versus evil. They’re about a character who has to rise up, overcome great obstacles, defeat forces of evil, and maybe even save the world. But that being said, these stories aren’t always about superheroes.
[02:35] Readers choose action stories to experience the excitement of the life and death stakes and situations that the protagonist is presented with. But it’s not just about that -- we choose these stories because they inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves, too.
[03:30] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[05:10] Key scene #1: A scene in which there's a life-threatening attack made by the antagonist.
[06:35] Key scene #2: A scene in which the protagonist half-commits to going against the antagonist or engaging in the conflict.
[07:45] Key scene #3: A scene in which the protagonist understands what the antagonist wants (and why), and/or what the true nature or purpose of the antagonist is.
[09:05] Key scene #4: A scene in which the protagonist's initial strategy for defeating the antagonist fails and he or she reaches an all is lost moment. They must change their approach in order to survive.
[10:15] Key scene #5: A scene in which the protagonist is at the mercy of the antagonist and only one of them can win. In order to survive, the protagonist has to "unleash" their special gift, talent, or skill.
[11:45] Key scene #6: A scene in which the protagonist's sacrifice is rewarded.
[13:15] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can reques

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 09, 2021
How to Write a Well-Structured Scene
1143

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through how to write a well-structured scene. I'll also show you how this structure shows up in a scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Here's a preview of what's included:

[02:50] A scene is a unit of story that takes place in more or less continuous space and time, features a specific cast of characters, is told from one point-of-view, and contains a value shift (or change) from beginning to end.
[04:15] The first thing you need to know about writing a well-structured scene is that every scene needs to start with the point-of-view character’s goal. So, what does this person want to achieve or accomplish or learn in this scene? What are they trying to do?
[05:00] Commandment number one is that there needs to be an inciting incident. And this is really just the first thing that gets in the way of your character accomplishing his or her goal.
[05:35] Commandment number two is that there needs to be a turning point. A turning point is a moment where the conflict reaches its peak and the character can no longer go after their scene goal in the way they had originally planned.
[06:40]  Commandment number three is that there needs to be a crisis moment or a moment where your character faces a decision about how to move forward. Will they do X or Y?
[08:10]  Commandment number four is that there needs to be a climax or a moment where your character acts on their choice. Did they do X or Y?
[08:45] Commandment number five is that there needs to be a resolution. So, how do they feel now that they’ve acted on their choice? How did their decision work out for them?
[10:20] An example of a well-structured scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone including how these five commandments show up and help create a mini-arc of change.
[13:55] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Feb 23, 2021
The #1 Reason Why So Many Novels Go Unfinished
857

In today's episode, we’re going to talk about why so many novels go unfinished, and what to do so that you can start finishing every project that you start. Here's a preview of what's included:

[03:20] The #1 reason why so many novels are never finished is because most writers expect to produce a first draft that’s perfect, or at least, really good -- and then, when it’s not perfect or really good, they give up on writing their story altogether.
[04:35] Trying to be a perfect writer (or even a good writer), trying to write a perfect draft (or even write a good draft), is an impossible task. It's like expecting to go through life without making any mistakes.
[05:35]  Even if you outline your story in advance, or follow one of the popular plotting methods like Save the Cat or the Hero’s Journey, there’s a process of discovery that needs to happen with every story you write.
[06:45] Too many people think or hope that they can write a perfect first draft. And even worse, they believe if they don’t then that somehow means they aren’t good writers. So they expect perfection, and then the moment they hit any kind of snag, they give up because they feel disappointed in themselves and their story.
[07:45] You need to shift your mindset and allow for things to be a bit messy -- remember, they’re supposed to be. If you go into the drafting process knowing that you’re just figuring things out and that whatever you come up with WILL require revisions, it’s going to be so much easier for you to succeed.
[08:25] A lot of the writers I work with try to do too many things at once. They try to write and revise at the same time. They try to discover the story and perfect the story simultaneously. Don't do this!
[09:15] You have to get to know your story first. You have to get it all down on paper and then worry about cleaning things up later. You can do this with an outline but you still need to allow your first draft to be about getting the story down first before you go back to revise.
[10:35] It’s probably not going to feel easy at first. But every day that you can practice these mindset shifts, they’ll be more ingrained in your mind and you won’t have to think about them so much. They’ll just be a part of you and a part of how you approach the writing process.
[11:25] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Feb 16, 2021
Romance Genre Conventions
1304

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the romance genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie Twilight. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:30] What makes the romance genre unique? In romance novels, everything centers around two characters falling in love despite the odds, and despite the risks.
[01:55] Readers choose romance novels because they want to feel all the excitement of falling in love without taking any of the emotional risks. And like all genre fiction, you have to deliver the emotional experience readers are looking for in order for your story to work.
[02:30] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
[04:00] #1 - There is a love triangle between two or more characters.
[05:55] #2 - There are characters who are for the relationship, and those who are against the relationship (aka "helpers" and "harmers").
[07:05] #3 - The protagonist is pursuing a specific goal that drives the story forward (usually, it has nothing to do with romance).
[08:40] #4 - There's a clear sense of masculine and feminine sensibilities (or differences in how each character approaches love).
[09:45] #5 - There's external conflict that occurs outside the protagonist (usually related to whatever goal he or she is chasing).
[11:00] #6 - There's internal conflict that occurs inside of the protagonist (like a character flaw, a fear, an outdated worldview, etc.).
[12:20] #7 - There's at least one secret.
[13:25] #8 - The couple shares intimacy rituals.
[14:25] #9 - There's an internal change in at least one of your main characters. In other words, they overcome whatever's been holding them back from true love.
[16:30] #10 - A happily ever after (HEA) ending.
[18:25] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Feb 09, 2021
5 Questions to Ask Before Writing a First Draft
794

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through five questions to ask before you start writing a first draft. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] The purpose of a first draft is to tell yourself the story. The purpose of a first draft is NOT to be perfect or to have everything 100% figured out.
[01:50]  By doing some of the important work or heavy lifting upfront, you CAN write a stronger, more efficient first draft that feels more like a second or third draft. But to do that, you need to know the answer to five really important questions.
[03:15] Question #1: Who is this story about? Who is your protagonist?
[04:40] Question #2: What's the main genre of this story?
[06:10] Question #3: What point are you trying to make with this story?
[07:20] Question #4: Where and when does this story take place?
[08:40] Question #5: What happens in the story's plot?
[10:30] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jan 26, 2021
What is a Book Coach?
774

In today's episode, I'm going to cover all the different ways a book coach can help you finish your draft and become a stronger writer. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:15] A book coach is someone who guides a writer through the entire book writing process from start to finish while giving editorial feedback, accountability, and support along the way.
[04:20] Generally speaking, you can work with a book coach any time -- that’s kind of the beauty of book coaches… they’ll dive in and meet you where you’re at. Plus, a few different scenarios in which a book coach can help you.
[06:30] Tip #1: Ask yourself what you're looking for in a coach. What kind of coaching style works best for you? Do you want to meet on the phone or communicate via email only?
[07:05] Tip #2: Decide whether expertise or experience in your genre is necessary. Make sure that the coach you're thinking about working with doesn't dislike your genre!
[07:45] Tip #3: Read their website thoroughly. Do they have any certifications or special skills that might be relevant to your story? Do they read widely in your genre? Do they have testimonials from writers they've previously worked with?
[08:35] Tip #4: See if you can get them on the phone. Just like in real life, you will probably know pretty quickly if you jive with this person or not. Trust your instincts!
[09:25] Tip #5: Ask them if they think they're the right coach for you! Many coaches will be honest about this and if they're not the best fit, they can recommend you to someone else who might be a more perfect fit for you and your story.
[10:30] Key points and episode recap.


Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jan 19, 2021
3 Reasons Why You're Not Writing
894

In today's episode, I'm going to cover three roadblocks that might be keeping you from writing. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] So much of writing or editing a book has to do with managing your mind. And there’s no getting out of having to manage your mind either -- you can understand story structure, you can study all the books and take all the courses on character creation or worldbuilding or whatever, but until you understand that what you think about is going to create the emotion that either drives the action or inaction, you’re never going to take action.
[02:45] Reason #1: You're stuck doing a bunch of busywork. What does this look like? Filling out character questionnaires, spending way too much time worldbuilding, taking all the courses, reading all the books, doing all the "things" -- except writing.
[05:05] Reason #2: You're giving yourself too much time to get things done. What does this look like?  You're putting in the time to “work on your novel”, what you actually produce doesn’t line up with the many hours you’ve been working.
[08:45] Reason #3: You're avoiding failure or feelings of discomfort. What does this look like? Not taking chances. Not putting yourself out there. Not finishing a draft.
[12:00] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jan 12, 2021
How to Plan Your Writing Projects for the New Year
1299

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through how to plan out your writing projects for the new year. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] Creating a strategic plan is something most writers don't think about doing but it’s the kind of thing that can actually help you achieve the big goals you have like writing a novel, or submitting a short story to publishers, or whatever it is that you're hoping to do.
[02:55] Step #1: Review the last 12 months so that you can make a realistic plan for the future. What worked? What didn't work?
[05:40] Step #2: Brainstorm all the big things you want to do and then choose the 3-5 main projects you want to focus on.
[08:00] Step #3: Consider your non-negotiables. What do you need to make time for? What do you never want to do again?
[09:50] Step #4: Start mapping out how you're going to accomplish your 3-5 main goals. What are the steps? How can you break this down so that it's a more specific, actionable goal?
[14:25] Step #5: Get everything on your calendar and then do a gut check. Does your plan feel overwhelming? Or exciting?
[18:30] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jan 05, 2021
5 Takeaways From Coaching Writers in 2020
1084

In today’s episode, I'm sharing some of the lessons I learned from coaching writers this year. My hope is that these lessons will help you to keep moving forward with your work in the most efficient way possible. Here's a quick preview:

[01:20] Lesson #1: It’s totally possible to write the first draft of a full-length novel in 90 days IF you do the hard work to outline and pressure test your story upfront. 
[04:25] Lesson #2: It’s okay to start with the plot of your story, or the external stuff that happens, AS LONG AS you have some idea of your character’s internal arc.
[07:25] Lesson #3: If you learn how to write a scene that works,  it will be MUCH easier to write a first draft that works. Plus, your writing will improve a lot, too!
[10:25] Lesson #4: It’s okay if your first draft (or even your second draft) isn’t perfect. No matter how much work you do upfront, you will NEVER have everything figured out before you start writing.
[13:05] Lesson #5: Your second draft is where the magic happens! Focus on getting the first draft done so that you can benefit from all the 'a-ha' moments and new ideas that come from getting to know your story more.
[15:15] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Dec 15, 2020
How to Start Editing Your NaNowriMo Draft
1029

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through what to do with your messy first draft now that NaNoWriMo is over. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:20] Everything we cover in today's episode can be used whether you participated in NaNoWriMo or not. All that matters is that you have a finished draft.
[02:30] Step #1: Take a break from your draft so that you can get some distance and give your imagination time to regenerate.
[03:30] Step #2: Read your draft to familiarize yourself with what you wrote and to see all of the story pieces that you have to work with. Don't make any changes yet!
[04:10] Step #3: Read your draft, again, with your editor's hat on. Focus on the big-picture elements of the story (genre, characters, structure, theme, point of view, etc.) and take notes on things you want to fix, add, delete, or change. Don’t make any changes yet, just take notes.
[09:10] Step #4: Make a plan for exactly HOW you’re going to tackle your revisions. When would you like to be done? How much time will you set aside each day/week/month to work on your revisions?
[10:20] Step #5: Get an outsider's perspective once you've done as much as you can on your own. Enlist the help of beta readers, a developmental editor, or even a book coach.
[11:30] When should you work with a professional editor or book coach? If you're just starting, or if your draft is a big mess, a book coach can help you start over from the ground up. If you have a finished draft, a developmental editor can help you figure out your next steps.
[12:55] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction.

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Dec 01, 2020
The 6 Scenes Every Thriller Novel Needs
759

In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every thriller novel needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:18] Thrillers combine all the criminality and suspense of a good detective novel with the danger and life and death stakes from the action or horror genre. Usually, these stories center around a protagonist who's focused on stopping a future crime from happening.
[01:40] Readers choose thriller novels because they want to experience the thrill of trying to outsmart and stop the villain before he or she commits more crimes -- all from the comfort of their own homes. And like all genre fiction, you have to deliver the emotional experience readers are looking for in order for your story to work.
[02:15] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[03:55] Key scene #1: A scene where a crime is discovered.
[04:45] Key scene #2: A scene where the stakes become personal for the protagonist and they commit to stopping the antagonist.
[05:55] Key scene #3: A scene where the protagonist learns what the antagonist wants and why. This scene helps to shift the protagonist from being reactive to proactive and helps them recommit to stopping the antagonist.
[06:55] Key scene #4: A scene where the protagonist learns or does something that sets them up to be the antagonist’s final victim.
[7:55] Key scene #5: A scene where the protagonist is at the mercy of the antagonist.
[8:45] Key scene #6: A scene where readers learn whether justice prevailed or not.
[9:45] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction.

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Nov 24, 2020
4 Reasons Why You Need a Target Word Count
789

In today's episode, we’re going to talk through four reasons why you should have a target word count for your story. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:50] Generally speaking, a novel is defined as any story over 40,000 words. But, the average novel is usually somewhere around 80,000-100,000 words.
[02:05] Technically there’s no maximum length for a novel, but there are guidelines you can follow to determine whether your story is the appropriate length, or too long. These guidelines are determined by the genre and the target age range you’re writing for so, it’s always a good idea to know what your genre is and what age range you’re writing for before you land on a target word count.
[03:15] Reason #1: Having a target word count can help you make a realistic writing schedule. You can break your target word count into smaller pieces and then estimate the time it will take to finish those pieces.
[05:15] Reason #2: Having a target word count can help you outline your story. You can break down your target word count into the number of words within each act, the approximate number of scenes within each act, and more.
[07:05] Reason #3: Having a target word count will help you edit your work. And that's because you can use your target word count to figure out approximately how many words you'll need to cut or add. From there, you can make a more realistic plan for editing your draft.
[08:15] Reason #4: Having a target word count will help you when it comes time to publish. If you're planning to traditionally publish, being within your genre's average word count could be the difference between your manuscript being read or not. If you're going the self-publishing route, you'll want to keep story length in mind so that you can budget properly and meet reader's expectations.
[10:00] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in This Episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Nov 17, 2020
Horror Genre Conventions
1139

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the horror genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie Halloween. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] What makes the horror genre unique? In horror novels, bad things happen to good people. There are life and death stakes, a monster intent on death and destruction, claustrophobic settings, and a major fight for survival.
[02:35] Readers choose horror novels because they want to feel the thrill and the terror of being in a life and death situation without actually being in danger in real life. And like all genre fiction, you have to deliver the emotional experience readers are looking for in order for your story to work.
[03:15] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
[04:40] #1 - A monster (or antagonist) that can't be reasoned with.
[05:50] #2 - The monster (or antagonist) is VERY strong or powerful.
[06:50] #3 - There’s some kind of sin or past mistake that the protagonist (or the world) is being punished for.
[08:00] #4 - The settings feel very claustrophobic.
[08:45] #5 - There are multiple lives at stake (including your protagonist's).
[09:25] #6 - The monster(or antagonist) stays hidden as long as possible.
[10:30] #7 - There’s at least one shapeshifter character.
[11:00] #8 - A ticking clock or some kind of deadline by which the protagonist has to stop the monster (or antagonist).
[11:45] #9 - A speech in praise of the monster (or antagonist).
[13:10] #10 - A false ending (and a sense that evil still lurks).
[15:35] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:


P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we tal

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Nov 03, 2020
Red Herrings: How to Mislead and Surprise Readers
894

In today's episode, we’re going to talk about how to mislead and surprise your readers using red herrings. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:20] A red herring is anything that distracts readers and/or your characters from an important truth. Red herrings can also lead readers and/or your character to mistakenly expect one particular outcome over another.
[02:00] Red herrings are a type of foreshadowing. The term "foreshadowing:" encompasses all the different ways that an author can give readers hints or clues about what’s coming.
[02:10] Red herrings can be used in any genre. If your story has any kind of plot twist or surprise ending, you can use red herrings to distract the reader (or your characters) from the truth of what’s actually happening. Different genres change how the reader will view and respond to the red herrings in your story.
[03:10] I walk you through an example of how red herrings are used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This is one of my favorite examples of red herrings!
[06:15] Tip #1: Incorporate red herrings into the fabric of your story so that it feels like an organic part of the plot and not something random to create tension or conflict.
[07:20] Tip #2: Give your innocent characters motivation, means, and opportunity to have committed the crime.
[07:55] Tip #3: Give the reader no (obvious) reason to suspect your guilty character.
[09:00] Tip #4: Focus the reader’s attention elsewhere when you plant "true" clues.
[10:00] Tip #5: Always play fair with the reader. Don't mess with readers by withholding important information that should have been given upfront. 
[11:35] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Oct 27, 2020
The 6 Scenes Every Performance Story Needs
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In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every performance story needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:30] Performance stories center around a character who wants to achieve something specific in order to prove their worth to the world. For example, they might want to win a certain award, climb Mount Everest, be the best in their field, or be famous.
[02:25] Readers choose performance novels because they are extremely relatable. Every day we deal with the pressure to perform on the world’s stage, and we are constantly faced with decisions that could result in success or failure.
[03:00] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[04:35] Key scene #1: A scene where your protagonist faces some kind of challenge or opportunity to perform.
[05:45] Key scene #2: A scene where your protagonist’s initial plan for achieving his or her goal (or gaining some kind of external validation) fails.
[06:45] Key scene #3: A scene where your protagonist commits to a specific “big event” which could be a fight, a play, a tournament, a recital, a solo performance, or anything like that.
[08:15] Key scene #4: A scene where your protagonist suffers some kind of defeat and realizes he or she must change their approach in order to succeed. Is the external validation still worth it?
[09:30] Key scene #5: A scene where your protagonist participates in the big event and either wins or loses.
[10:25] Key scene #6: A scene where your protagonist is rewarded (usually on multiple levels) whether they’ve won or lost.
[11:45] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, an

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Oct 21, 2020
The Inciting Incident: How to Get Your Story Into Motion
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In today's episode, we’re going to talk about crafting a great inciting incident for your story. I'm also going to show you how the global inciting incident looks different across the content genres. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] The inciting incident is an event that occurs and upsets the balance of your protagonist’s life. Life can't continue on in the same way now.
[02:00] The inciting incident is also what sets your story in motion and gives rise to your protagonist’s overarching story goal. In this way, it gives rise to a specific question in your reader’s minds that they won’t find the answer to until the very end at your story’s climax.
[03:05] The inciting incident is also what puts the protagonist and the antagonist at odds with each other. The protagonist wants one thing, the antagonist wants another thing.
[03:45] The inciting incident of your global story should occur somewhere around the 12% mark or about halfway through your first act.
[05:10] The three types of inciting incidents: the causal inciting incident, the coincidental inciting incident, and the ambiguous inciting incident (plus examples).
[07:20] The inciting incident of your story is genre-specific. In other words, the inciting incident of your global story will most likely be determined by the genre you’re writing in.
[13:15] An example of the global inciting incident in The Hunger Games.
[14:00] An example of the global inciting incident in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
[15:35] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:


P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Oct 06, 2020
Bonus: Conquering the Writing Blues Summit Interview with Dr. Susan Hickman
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In today's extra special bonus episode, I'm sharing my interview with Dr. Susan Hickman from the Conquering the Writing Blues Summit I took part in earlier this year. Here's a quick preview of what's included:

[02:50] What does a developmental editor do? Plus how and why I became a developmental editor and book coach. 
[06:25] My take on plotting versus pantsing -- is one of them the “right way” to write?
[10:00] What does a book coach do? Plus, why book coaching is having a “moment” with the increase in self-publishing.
[12:45] Why don’t more writers choose to work with book coaches or editors?
[15:35] How to stay motivated (aka how keeping the impact that your story will have on others in mind can help fuel your writing).
[19:10] The two main areas where writers go wrong (and what to do instead).
[20:30] How I help writers who are overwhelmed and confused with all the plotting methods out there. What do you do first, second, and third?
[23:45] Why the belief that “you either have what it takes or you don’t” is not true. Plus, why there’s room for every style of writing -- each style has value and will resonate with a particular group of people.
[27:25] What to do when you get bogged down in perfectionism. Plus, 5 questions to ask yourself about your story to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.


Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in this Episode:


P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Oct 01, 2020
Worldview Genre Conventions
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the worldview genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] Worldview stories focus on a period of the main character’s life where he or she is transitioning from one significant state to another. These stories show how the external events of the plot affect a character in such a way that he or she must grow, change, and awaken to a new understanding of themselves, or the world around him or her.
[02:55] Readers choose worldview novels because they are super relatable! They give readers a sense of relief, satisfaction, and maybe even hope that they, too, can survive whatever roadblocks or challenges are appearing in their own lives.
[04:30] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
[06:15] #1 - A mentor that can guide and support your protagonist.
[06:55] #2 - An outdated worldview or some kind of false belief that your protagonist must overcome by the end fo the story.
[07:55] #3 - Social problems or moral challenges for your protagonist to face (ideally, one that relates to your protagonist's outdated worldview).
[09:05] #4 - At least one shapeshifter who says one thing and does another.
[10:15] #5 - An internal change within your protagonist.
[11:35] #6 - Some kind of confrontation with the adult world that helps your protagonist grow and change.
[12:40] #7 - An emphasis on friendship.
[13:45] #8 - External pressure from your protagonist's friends, family, or society to be a certain way.
[15:15] #9 - Secrets.
[16:05] #10 - A bittersweet ending.
[18:10] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:


P

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Sep 29, 2020
10 Steps to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through ten steps to get ready for NaNoWriMo. Here's a preview of what's included:

[03:40] Step 1: Choose one story idea to work on during NaNoWriMo.
[04:40] Step 2: Test out (or flesh out) your story idea by writing a 1-2 sentence logline and a 250-word elevator pitch for your story.
[00:00] Step #3: Choose your story's main genre so that you have a blueprint for writing a story that works.
[07:40] Step #4: Uncover your story's theme so that you know what point you're trying to make with your story.
[08:30] Step #5: Get to know your protagonist. What does he or she want? Why does he or she want that?
[09:50] Step #6: Choose your point-of-view and tense.
[10:55] Step #7: Develop your story's setting. Where and when does your story take place?
[12:00] Step #8: Write a 1-3 page synopsis of your story.
[13:45] Step #9: Create your big picture outline by breaking the goal of 50,000 words into three smaller parts.
[15:15] Step #10: Brainstorm your story's key moments within each act.
[20:30] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group jus

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Sep 15, 2020
The 6 Scenes Every Romance Novel Needs
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In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every romance novel needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] Romance novels center around two individuals falling in love despite the odds, despite the risks, and despite the opposing forces in their life. These stories usually end in "happily ever after," or at the very least, "happily for now."
[02:15] Readers choose romance novels because they want to experience all the butterflies and excitement of falling in love without the risks. They want to see love win.
[03:00] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[04:30] Key scene #1: A scene where your characters meet or first appear on the page together. This is the global inciting incident of your story.
[05:20] Key scene #2: A scene where your characters share their first kiss or their first intimate moment. The specifics of this scene will depend on the heat level of your story.
[06:25] Key scene #3: A scene where one character confesses their feelings for the other character. It's now clear that things are no longer platonic for at least one character.
[07:45] Key scene #4: A scene where your characters break up or separate temporarily so that they can go off and learn the lesson of the story.
[09:25] Key scene #5: A scene where one or both of your characters proves their love by sacrificing something for the other character.
[11:25] Key scene #6: A scene where the lovers reunite and come back together. Plus, a glimpse at what "happily ever after" looks like.
[12:55] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Sep 08, 2020
How to Evaluate the Conflict in Your Draft
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In today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through my five-step process for evaluating the conflict in your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:20] Progressive complications are moments of conflict that gets harder and harder to deal with overtime. To learn more about writing good conflict, check out last week's episode (episode #21).
[02:30] Step 1: Identify what your POV character wants and how they plan to get it. You’ll also want to have a good understanding of what your character expects to happen. So, do they expect to succeed? Do they expect things to be difficult?
[03:30] Step 2: List everything that gets in your character’s way as they pursue their goal. And remember, these complications can be positive or negative. It’s just whatever gets in your character’s way as they go after their goal.
[04:45] Step 3: Rank your list of complications to see if they escalate properly or not.
[06:10] Step 4: Identify the turning point -- or the moment things change. Ask yourself how you feel about the change that occurs and determine whether it’s impactful or not.
[07:50] Step 5: Consider how the scene (or whatever you’re analyzing) affects the global story. So, if you’re analyzing a scene, how does this scene contribute to the global story? How does it move the story forward?
[08:45] An example of this type of analysis using a scene from the movie Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Plus, how this seemingly insignificant scene is a set up for a lot of important stuff that happens later in the story.
[14:15] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you the

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Sep 01, 2020
Progressive Complications: How to Write Better Conflict in Your Novel
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In today's episode, we're going to talk about writing better conflict in your novel using "progressive complications." Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:20] Progressive complications are moments of conflict that get more and more challenging to deal with over time. These complications can be people, places, things, or events, and they can be negative or positive. 
[02:10] Stories exist because of conflict. If there was no conflict, you'd have nothing to write about.
[02:30] Progressive complications can help you build tension in the reader and keep them on the edge of their seats.
[03:05] Progressive complications can help you give the reader insight into who your character is AND how they change over time.
[04:05] Each complication needs to relate to the POV character’s goal. If it doesn’t, you risk writing a story that doesn’t feel cohesive and you risk confusing the reader, too. 
[05:15] Each complication needs to be more difficult to deal with than the last complication. Otherwise, the tension in your story won’t build properly and you’ll likely lose the reader’s interest.
[07:05] Each complication needs to require more effort from your character. This is the key way you’ll be able to show that your character is growing and changing into someone that’s capable of handling the upcoming global climax. 
[08:40] Each complication needs to be unique and "complex." This not only helps you write an interesting story, but it helps keep the story feeling fresh for the reader, too.
[10:30] Each complication needs to build to a turning point when things change for better or for worse. This is what helps you create that sense of change within a scene or within your global story.
[12:45] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Aug 25, 2020
5 Strategies for Getting Unstuck While Writing
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In today's episode, I'm sharing my five favorite strategies for getting unstuck while writing. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:30] If you need help pushing past the first few pages of your novel, I have a brand new workshop just for you! It's called How to Hook Readers in Your First Five Pages. Click here to learn more about the workshop or to enroll for $47.
[02:00] Strategy #1: Zoom out and look at the big picture of your story before making any micro-level changes. Answer these three questions: What's your story's main genre? What does your protagonist want and need? What's the theme of your story? 
[05:25] Strategy #2: Look at the obligatory scenes and conventions of your genre for inspiration and guidance. These will help you flesh out your story and make sure it’s well structured.
[07:20] Strategy #3: Consider what kind of subplots you already have in your story and/or what kind of subplots you might want to add in. Use the obligatory scenes and conventions of your subgenre to flesh these out.
[08:35] Strategy #4:Create a flexible outline for your story that you can use as a place to explore new ideas or to capture changes you want to make to scenes you’ve already written. Update it as you go.
[10:25] Strategy #5: Evaluate the narrative drive in your existing scenes. Does each scene lead into or cause the next scene to happen in a logical way?
[12:00] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, edi

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Aug 12, 2020
Thriller Genre Conventions
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the thriller genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Silence of the Lambs. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] Thrillers combine all the criminality and suspense of a good mystery novel with the life and death stakes of an action or horror story.
[01:50] Readers choose thriller novels because they want to experience the thrill of trying to outsmart and stop the villain before he or she commits more crimes.
[02:30] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
[04:05] #1 - A crime that indicates that there's a master villain or a master antagonist on the loose.
[05:00] #2 - A victim (or victims) on the receiving end of the crime.
[05:35] #3 - A master villain or a master antagonist who is intent on annihilation or devastation or gaining power at the expense of others.
[06:35] #4 - True clues and red herrings for the protagonist to follow.
[07:25] #5 - A speech in praise of the villain.
[08:55] #6 - A MacGuffin (or the specific thing the antagonist wants).
[09:40] #7 - A shapeshifter who says one thing and does another.
[10:15] #8 - A ticking clock that puts some kind of deadline on the amount of time the protagonist has to defeat the antagonist.
[10:40] #9 - Multiple lives at stake including the victim's life and your protagonist's life (and maybe others, too).
[12:00] #10 - A false ending before the final conflict between protagonist and antagonist.
[14:00] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Aug 04, 2020
5 Mistakes Writers Make in Their Opening Pages
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In today's episode, I'm going to talk about the five most common mistakes I see writers make in their opening pages. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:00] Details about my brand new workshop called “How to Hook Readers in Your First 5 Pages.” In this workshop, I'll walk you through the five key elements that you need to include in your first five pages AND I’ll show you how these five key elements manifest in the first five pages of The Hunger Games. If you want to sign up, or if you want to learn more about this workshop, head over to savannahgilbo.com/pages.
[01:45] The first reason your opening pages are so important is that we only have a very small window to catch a reader’s attention and make them want to find out how the story’s going to play out. And if we don’t catch their attention in the first three to five pages, they’re probably not going to keep reading the rest of the story.
[01:55] The second reason your opening pages are so important is that editors, agents, and publishers will use these pages to get an overall sense of your story and your writing skill. And if those pages don’t grab their attention, they know the book isn’t likely to grab the reader's attention either.
[02:30] Mistake #1: There's not enough big picture context and readers feel lost or confused.
[03:30] Mistake #2: The protagonist is introduced too late -- or the story starts with a character who isn't the protagonist.
[04:35] Mistake #3: There's a lot of action happening but it's all just objectively dramatic and doesn't really mean anything.
[06:10] Mistake #4: There's too much info-dumping of backstory or worldbuilding details.
[07:15] Mistake #5: There's nothing at stake -- or there is something at stake but doesn't really matter in terms of the big picture story.
[09:10] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jul 21, 2020
The 6 Scenes Every Horror Novel Needs
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In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every horror novel needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:10] In horror novels, bad things happen to good people. There are life and death stakes, a monster intent on death and destruction, claustrophobic settings, and a major fight for survival.
[02:25] Readers choose horror novels because they want to feel the thrill and the terror of being in a life and death situation without actually being in danger in real life. And like all genre fiction, you have to deliver the emotional experience readers are looking for in order for your story to work.
[03:05] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
[04:55] Key scene #1: A scene that includes a threat from, or an attack by, the monster (or antagonist). This is the global inciting incident of your story.
[06:00] Key scene #2: A scene where the protagonist ignores a crucial warning and consequently ends up on a path that's headed directly toward the monster. This usually occurs near the end of act one.
[07:20] Key scene #3: A scene where your protagonist understands the true nature of the monster (or antagonist) and realizes what he or she is up against. This usually happens around the midpoint of a novel, or in the middle of act two.
[08:50] Key scene #4: A scene where your protagonist learns, does, or realizes something that sets themselves up to be the monster’s final victim. This usually occurs near the end of act two.
[10:05] Key scene #5: A scene where your protagonist is at the mercy of the monster. This is the moment readers have been waiting for since page one.
[11:47] Key scene #6: A scene where readers learn whether the protagonist survives the confrontation with the monster (or not). Plus, a sense that "evil still lurks."
[13:45] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jul 14, 2020
Conventions vs. Tropes: What's the Difference?
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the difference between genre conventions and tropes. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:28] Genre conventions are story elements such as character archetypes, key events, and settings that are commonly found in a specific genre. These conventions define each specific genre and readers' expectations of a story in that genre.
[03:10] Tropes are a specific way of delivering those genre conventions or obligatory scenes in your novel. They are subjective interpretations of a genre convention.
[04:35] Genre conventions usually have an objective reason WHY they exist in a story while tropes usually do not. Genre conventions need to be met in order for your story to work and to satisfy readers' expectations. The way you deliver those conventions, or the tropes you choose to use, is totally up to you.
[05:45] Some examples of tropes vs. conventions including the "Chosen One" vs. the Dark Lord, a love triangle that includes a "good guy" vs. a "bad guy." 
[07:25] Common mistake #1: Ignoring genre conventions because they think all conventions are tropes, and all tropes are predictable or cliche. This isn't true! Genre conventions help us write a story that works and that satisfies readers.
[09:35] Common mistake #2: Including a bunch of tropes in their story without any kind of real purpose. As a general rule of thumb, always ask WHY something needs to be in your book. If you can't think of one, it probably doesn't belong.
[11:00] Common mistake #3: Following every single rule in every single book. Instead, pick one method or one set of "rules" and focus on getting your draft finished. Once it's finished, you can go back through it and start to shape it into a story that works.
[13:15] Do you really have to include all the obligatory scenes and conventions of your genre in your story? Nope. It's your story, you can do whatever you want. But, if you choose to veer away from the guidelines of your genre, you'll also want to readjust your expectations and your goals. Publishers probably won't pick up your book if you don't adhere to the genre guidelines.
[15:05] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jul 07, 2020
How to Figure Out the Shape of Your Story
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through how to figure out the big-picture shape of your story. Here's a preview of what's included:
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[02:45] Each genre asks a specific story question. For example, in an action story, the central story question is some version of, "Will the protagonist defeat the antagonist and survive the encounter?" (This article has the start and end points by genre)
[03:45] The central story question helps you create a framework for your story. That's because these two "ask and answer questions" become the global inciting incident and the global climax of your story.
[04:00] The global inciting incident is a scene that raises the central story question in the readers's mind. It's the question that the whole story will work to answer.
[05:55] The global climax is a scene that answers the central story question. It's what helps you deliver a satisfying emotional experience to the reader.
[07:15] If you're writing an action story... the global inciting incident is usually some kind of threat or attack from the antagonist. These stories end with the protagonist defeating the antagonist (or not).
[08:20] If you're writing a romance... the global inciting incident is usually the first time the lovers meet or appear on the page together. These stories end with these two individuals either committing to a romantic relationship (or not).
[09:25] If you're writing a mystery... the global inciting incident is usually the discovery of some kind of murder or crime. These stories end with revealing the identity of the murder/criminal and bringing them to justice (or not).
[10:35] If you're writing a worldview (or coming of age) story... the global inciting incident is usually a challenge to the protagonist's black and white worldview. These stories end with the protagonist maturing or staying stuck.
[12:15] If you're writing a story with both an external and an internal genre, you can identify these key moments to create a story that feels like a cohesive whole AND a story that has more impact.
[13:25] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is or what you'd like to see on a future episode. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jun 23, 2020
How to Handle Character Backstory in Your Novel
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In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through my top three tips for weaving your character's backstory into your novel in a way that engages the reader without bogging them down. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:20] What is character backstory? Character backstory is everything that has ever happened in your character's life that has helped to influence and shape who they are today, in the "story present."
[02:20] The biggest mistake writers make when it comes to handling a character's backstory in their novel is they give too much information too soon -- or too much information at the wrong time in the story.
[03:20] When you start a story with too much backstory or exposition, it's really hard for a reader to engage in the story and feel that "tug" to turn the page to find out what's going to happen next.
[05:00] Tip #1: Only include backstory where it's relevant to what's happening in the story present. Backstory should always be "triggered" by something that's happening in the present moment of a scene.
[06:00] Tip #2: Avoid info-dumping at all costs. Info-dumping is when a writer dumps a ton of information on the reader at one time. Instead, readers should only know what they need to know at the present moment.
[07:00] Tip #3: Always show how the piece backstory you include affects the point-of-view character. If you stop the forward momentum of the story to include a piece of backstory, make sure you show the reader why it's important and how it impacts the present-day scene or situation your character is in.
[08:00] A quick example of backstory done well from Chapter 7 of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone that hits on the above tips.
[09:45] Recommended exercise: Grab one of your favorite books, pick a random page, and see if you can identify bits of backstory that has been woven into the story present.
[10:30] How do you know if the backstory you've already written works? How do you know if it's too much or if it's in the wrong place? Here's a quick process for analyzing the backstory in your draft.
[12:25] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jun 16, 2020
5 Things That Kill Narrative Drive (and How to Fix it)
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In today's episode, I'm continuing last week's discussion on narrative drive or that "thing" that hooks a reader's interest and pulls them through the story. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:10] What is narrative drive? Why should writers care? (Check out last week's episode for some tips on creating narrative drive in your story).
[01:20] A story with "broken" narrative drive feels like it's going nowhere. 
[02:00 ] Mistake #1: Putting in too much exposition or backstory or worldbuilding details in a scene at once.
[03:00] Mistake #2: There's no sense of cause and effect. In other words, each scene doesn't lead into the next (and what to do instead).
[4:00] Mistake #3: Using false mystery to tease readers (and how to avoid doing this).
[04:45] Mistake #4: Relying on cheap surprise to thrill or scare readers (and what to do instead).
[05:40] Mistake #5: Solving plot problems with coincidences.
[06:45] What should you do if you make some of these mistakes in your WIP?
[07:30] 10 Questions that can help you fix broken narrative drive in your story (plus where you can go to download a worksheet with these questions!). 
[11:05] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jun 09, 2020
3 Ways to Create Narrative Drive in Your Story
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In today's episode, I'm exploring narrative drive or that "thing" that hooks a reader's interest and pulls them through the story. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] What is narrative drive? Here's a quick definition.
[01:35] According to Robert McKee, narrative drive is sustained when a story plays on two primary needs within the reader -- an intellectual need (curiosity) and an emotional need (concern).
[01:50] Curiosity is the intellectual need to find answers to questions.
[02:20] Concern is the emotional need to experience positive outcomes.
[04:00] A quick overview of the 3 methods for evoking curiosity and/or concern in readers.
[04:50] Method #1: Mystery evokes mostly curiosity because the reader has LESS information than the characters.
[06:00] Method #2: Dramatic Irony evokes mostly concern because the reader has MORE information than the characters.
[06:40] Method #3: Suspense evokes both curiosity and concern because the reader has THE SAME information as the characters.
[07:25] How does this help you write a story?
[9:15] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Jun 02, 2020
10 Tips for Writing Better Love Triangles
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In today's episode, I'm sharing my top 10 tips for writing better, more compelling love triangles. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:30] A love triangle is a relationship that takes place between three or more characters. Character A has to choose between character B and character C.
[01:50] Three examples of popular love triangles from Pride and Prejudice, Twilight, and The Hunger Games.
[02:15] Tip #1: Fully develop all three characters involved in the love triangle.
[03:10] Tip #2: Make both suitors a believable and viable choice for the protagonist.
[04:15] Tip #3: Don’t drag out your protagonist's decision or go back and forth between the suitors too much.
[05:10] Tip #4: Have your protagonist actively choose one of the suitors to be with.
[06:05] Tip #5: Give insight into who your protagonist is with the choice they make.
[07:15] Tip #6: Don't feel like both relationships don’t have to start at the same time as the only way to achieve tension in your story.
[08:35] Tip #7: Establish what’s at stake for your protagonist if they choose one suitor over the other.
[09:40] Tip #8: Don’t neglect the rest of the story for the sake of your love triangle.
[10:55] Tip #9: Have a solid reason for including a love triangle in your story.
[11:40] Tip #10: Explore both internal and external conflict with your love triangle.
[12:50] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 19, 2020
How to Create Memorable Characters Using Hooks
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In today's episode, I'm going to show you how to create unique and memorable characters using "hooks." Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:15] What are character hooks? How do they help readers?
[02:25] Hook #1: Give your character a unique accent or way of speaking.
[03:20] Hook #2: Give your character an identifiable physical feature.
[04:25] Hook #3: Give your character their own body language.
[05:25] Hook #4: Give your character a human or an animal counterpart.
[06:20] Hook #5: Give your character a unique personality.
[07:35] Hook #6: Give your character both strengths and weaknesses.
[08:40] Hook #7: Give your character a specific role in the story.
[09:45] Hook #8: Give your character a connection to some group or family.
[10:55] Hook #9: Give your character a default emotional state.
[12:00] Hook #10: Give your character a part to play in concealing clues.
[13:00] How do you incorporate these types of character hooks into your own story?
[14:50] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 12, 2020
Value Shifts: The Quickest Way to Determine if a Scene Works
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In today's episode, we're going to talk about value shifts. Specifically, how understanding the concept of value shifts can help you write an edit a story that works. Here's a preview:

[01:10] What are value shifts and why do I need to care about them?
[01:40] What does it mean to create a mini-arc of change in each scene?
[02:10] How value shifts can help you create a better story outline and write impactful scenes that work.
[03:50] Each genre has a core value at stake. For example, in a romance novel, the main value at stake is love. The protagonist stands to lose or gain love.
[04:50] What should you do once you know the main value at stake in your story?
[05:50] How to turn a low impact scene into a meaningful scene that works.
[06:40] You can also think of story values as mini-answers to your central story question. For example, will Katniss survive the Hunger Games or not?
[07:00] What to do if you can't figure out the exact value that will change in a scene.
[07:50] How value shifts can help you weed out unproductive scenes and/or turn them into scenes that impact your global story.
[08:30] Next level value shifts. How to weave internal changes with external changes to create a compelling story that keeps readers turning page after page.
[12:00] Key points and a quick recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

May 05, 2020
7 Secrets to Success That Every Writer Should Know
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In today's episode, I share the 7 secrets to success that every writer should know. These 7 secrets will help you accomplish your goals, become a better writer, and live a writing life you love. Here's a preview:

[02:00] Secret #1: Courage. Have the courage to take action even when you're not sure where your story is going or what the next step in the process is.
[03:45] Secret #2: Confidence. Confidence is something that anyone can develop. Until you develop confidence in your skills, have confidence in that little voice inside of you that says "I was meant to be a writer" and let it fuel you.
[05:06] Secret #3: Clarity. Get clear on your goals. What exactly are you trying to accomplish? How exactly will you accomplish it? Why is this goal important to you?
[08:00] Secret #4: Consistency. Create a consistent writing habit that works for you. Can you show up every day? Once a week? Twice a month? Consistently taking action is what's going to lead to confidence and what will help you accomplish your goals.
[08:50] Secret #5: Continuing Education. Continue to educate yourself on the craft of writing. Take online classes, read books and blogs, listen to a podcast, or work with a book coach. Anyone can write a book if they have the right tools and strategies, and put in the time to do the work.
[10:40] Secret #6: Community. Find a community of like-minded individuals who share the same goals you have. Not only will you find friendship and support, but you'll become a better writer, too. Plus, it's a great way to find beta readers if you're at that stage of the process.
[12:00] Secret #7: Commitment. Commit to your writing practice and to getting better over time. Put in the work to constantly evolve yourself and your skills. These seven secrets to success will help you learn and constantly evolve as a writer.
[13:30] Key points and a recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Apr 21, 2020
5 Questions to Help You Write Better Characters
1006

In this episode, I'll walk you through five questions that will help you write compelling characters. I highly recommend using these questions to flesh out both your protagonist AND your antagonist, but you can also use these questions to help you develop your secondary characters, too. Here's a preview of what we'll cover:

[01:45] Question 1: What does your character want? Your character's goal will help you shape the external plot of your story as well as each of your story's scenes.
[05:00] Question 2: Why does your character want to achieve this goal? Your character's motivation needs to be strong enough to push them through the story without allowing them to give up.
[06:55] Question 3: What's standing in his or her way externally? What's the external conflict? This is essentially the antagonist or the antagonistic force in your story.
[8:20] Question 4: What's standing in his or her way internally? What's the internal conflict? This is essentially any inner demons, fears, or an outdated worldview that your character needs to overcome in order to succeed in accomplishing their goal.
[10:30] Question 5: What's at stake if they fail to accomplish their goal? In other words, what are the consequences for your protagonist if they fail?
[12:30] Key points and episode recap.
[14:00] How many characters should you answer these questions for?
[14:45] Bonus exercise: Grab your favorite book and see if you can answer these five questions for the protagonist. Were the answers easy to identify?

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Apr 14, 2020
3 Reasons You Should Write in Scenes vs. Chapters
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In today's episode, I'm going to give you three reasons why you should write your draft in scenes instead of chapters. Here's a preview of what we'll cover:

[01:20] The difference between scenes and chapters and how they each play a different role in your story's pacing.
[02:45] 3 reasons why you should write in scenes instead of chapters:
[02:55] Reason #1: It's easier to plan out your first draft because you can break down your total target word count into a target number of scenes that's appropriate for your story's genre.
[05:00] Reason #2: It's easier to write a stronger more cohesive first draft because you'll be more focused on writing well-structured versus spinning your wheels over the perfect chapter beginning.
[07:30] Reason #3: It's easier to edit your draft because when you look at each scene in isolation, you're more likely to spot things that don't belong in your story.
[09:15] The best time to worry about chapter breaks is when you are confident that you have a first draft that works.
[09:25] Key points and a recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Apr 07, 2020
3 Ways to Figure Out the Theme of Your Story
926

In today's episode, I'll walk you through three different ways to figure out the theme of your story. Here's a preview of what we'll cover:

  • [00:50] What is a story's theme? And why do you need one?
  • [01:30] How identifying your story's theme upfront can help you write a stronger draft.
  • [02:40] 3 different questions to help you uncover the theme of your story.
  • [03:00] Question 1: What do you have to say about life? What do you care about?
  • [05:00] Question 2: How will your protagonist change from the beginning of the story to the end of the story? (+ an example from Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone).
  • [07:30] Question 3: What's your story's content genre?
  • [10:00] How to create a 1-2 sentence theme statement that describes what changes in your story as well as specifically why and how things have changed (+ an example from Pride and Prejudice). 
  • [10:45] What should you do if your theme sounds generic or cliche?
  • [12:00] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 31, 2020
Bonus: Ask Savannah (Listener Q&A)
1042

In today's extra special bonus episode, I'm going to answer some questions from you guys! Here's a quick overview of what we talk about in this episode:

[01:30] Joe Larkin asks, "Do you have a general rule of thumb for how long a scene should be?"
[02:45] Margo Geary asks, "Your job sounds really awesome! How do you become an editor or book coach?"
[04:45] Julia Pentrose asks, "I get why info-dumping isn't a good idea, but how do you get your character's backstory or worldbuilding details in your story without info-dumping? Isn't that stuff important to show the reader?"
[08:15] Karen Stroud asks, "I've heard that head-hopping is bad, but can you explain what head-hopping is and why exactly is it bad?"
[12:00] James K. asks, "I read your blog post on creating an Ideal Reader Profile for your story and I have a question. What happens if you end up with an unplanned subplot or if your story takes a dif turn than what you were planning and you realize now that your ideal reader doesn't align with the direction your story has taken?"

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 24, 2020
How to Identify Your Story's Ideal Reader
1119

In this episode, we're going to talk about your story's ideal reader -- or the one person who is going to love your book just as much as you do. Here's a quick overview of what we talk about in this episode:

  • [01:00] What is an ideal reader? And why does your ideal reader matter?
  • [02:20] How understanding your ideal reader can help you write with purpose and edit with focus.
  • [03:15] How understanding your ideal reader can help you when it comes time to pitch agents and market your book.
  • [04:45] Meet my ideal reader, Sage, and hear how she helps me cut through the noise and stay focused
  • [06:45] How one writer's ideal reader helped her get back on track after making big changes in her manuscript
  • [09:20] 10 questions to help you identify your story's ideal reader 
  • [12:45] What about everyone else? What if I want my story to appeal to everyone?
  • [14:15] Should each of my stories have a different ideal reader? Or would all my stories share the same ideal reader?
  • [15:25] Key points and a recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance--I really appreciate it!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 24, 2020
The #1 Myth That Holds Writers Back
1004

In this episode, we're going to talk about the biggest myth that holds writers back and what to do about it if you're falling prey to this myth. Here's a quick overview of what we talk about in this episode:

  • [01:00] How do you know if you're falling prey to this myth? Here are 3 scenarios that might signal to you that you need to address the belief at the root of this myth. Which scenario best describes your writing practice?
  • [03:00] The #1 myth that holds writers back (it's probably not what you think!)
  • [03:30] A real-life example of a writer who almost gave up on her writing because she believed in this myth. Don't worry, it has a happy ending!
  • [06:45] Where does this myth come from? Why do we believe this myth? 
  • [08:00] Strategies for combatting this insidious myth and how unwinding this belief can help you write a stronger, more focused draft.
  • [11:15] A new and improved definition of what it means to write a story. An example of what this looks like in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
  • [13:25] Key points and a recap of the episode.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance--I really appreciate it!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 17, 2020
How to Choose the Best Genre for Your Story
1401

In this episode, we're going to talk about genre -- specifically how to choose the primary (or global) genre for your story. Here's a quick overview of what we talk about in this episode:

  • [01:30] What's the difference between commercial genres and content genres (aka the reader's genre and the writer's genre)? And why you should care about BOTH.
  • [05:00] What's the difference between plot-driven stories and character-driven stories? And what are the 12 content genres?
  • [07:00] A special note for science fiction and fantasy authors (if you're writing speculative fiction, you don't want to miss this!)
  • [08:45] Why you need to choose one primary genre for your story -- and how this can actually make the writing, editing, and publishing process SO MUCH EASIER.
  • [09:45] 5 questions to help you choose the main genre for your story. 
  • [17:30] Once you've identified your story's global genre, what's next? Here's a preview of how your story's genre can help you write a stronger first draft.
  • [20:30] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance--I really appreciate it!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 17, 2020
How to Decide Which Story Idea to Write Next
831

In this episode, we're going to talk about how to choose between multiple story ideas, or how to decide which story idea to write next. Here's a quick overview of what we talk about in this episode:

  • [01:20] Two reasons why taking the time to flesh out your story ideas before you start writing a single word will save you time, energy, and frustration.
  • [02:15] 5 questions to help you decide between two or more story ideas.
  • [03:15] An example from a real-life writer who was torn between a "for fun" romance novel and a "more serious" memoir. "Which one should I choose?"
  • [06:15] What happens when your idea doesn't have enough "meat" to support a full-length novel (hint: it almost always has to do with a lack of conflict).
  • [07:30] What's the difference between a topic and an idea? And how do you determine whether you have a topic (aka part of an idea) or an actual story idea?
  • [08:50] If you have a topic, you can turn it into an idea that can support a full-length novel by asking yourself these key questions.
  • [10:00] What's next? Here's how identifying your genre can help you further flesh out your idea and understand your next steps.
  • [10:40] Key points and episode recap.

Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance--I really appreciate it!

Links mentioned in this episode:

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 17, 2020
Introducing the Fiction Writing Made Easy Podcast!
197

Weekly writing tips from a developmental editor and book coach.

My name is Savannah Gilbo and I'm a fiction editor and book coach. Every day, I help people, just like you, write, edit, and publish their books.

I started this podcast because I want to prove that writing a novel doesn't have to be scary and overwhelming. Every week, I'll bring you a brand new episode with simple, actionable, and step-by-step strategies that you can implement in your writing right away.

So, whether you're brand new to writing, or a more seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you! So pick up a pen and let's get started!

For more writing tips, or to learn more about the show, head on over to https://www.savannahgilbo.com.

P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

Click here to register for the free masterclass > The 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What to Do Instead). In this masterclass, we’re going to talk about the most common mistakes I see writers make so that you can avoid them and write your draft in the most efficient way possible.

Mar 10, 2020