Every now and then, I throw open the comments to writing questions, and then take the next month or so to answer them all at length. Below is a sorted list of all the answers up to July 1, 2019. You can also search for “Questionable” since all the titles begin with that, and all the posts are tagged that. There’s some repetition of questions in there–we’ve been doing this a long time and there’s been no organization so people couldn’t check to see what had been asked–but all the answers are there. Organized. Easier to find. Progress.
And as always, these answers are my opinion only, not rules, not even guidelines. There are many roads to Oz, follow your own road and your instincts.
Note: This page will be updating for days as I add the links after I revise and tag each post. Yes, it’s worth it.
Discovery and Drafting:
What is the discovery process?
How do you get from idea to story?
How do you start a story?
How do you focus on one story?
What’s this book about?
How do you move between writing new scenes and rewriting?
How do you organize your computer files for a book?
How do you brainstorm on a computer?
How do you do digital collage?
What is a premise, a central story question, and a theme?
Does it matter if you write longhand on paper or on a computer?
Character and Conflict:
What makes a character watchable?
How do you write characters that readers connect with?
How do you create character depth to make characters real?
How can I write in emotional shorthand to avoid overwriting my characters?
What are positive and negative goals?
How do I identify character goals?
How do you write character goals in a romance?
How do you get your characters to act?
What makes a great protagonist?
How do you make the protagonist come alive on the page?
How do I identify my antagonist?
How can you love your antagonist?
How can you like unlikable characters?
How do you plot multiple antagonists?
Can I have sub-antagonists?
How do you create a strong character arc?
What is deep point of view?
How do you have characters think in story?
How do you write the Wound from the Past?
How do you write the ordinary guy (not alpha or beta hero)?
How do you choose character names?
Plot and Structure:
How does form affect story?
How do you turn an idea into a plot?
How long should a scene and chapter be?
What does building a reversal mean?
What is patterned structure?
What’s a good opening scene?
How do you write the first scenes in a book?
How do you know if a scene isn’t necessary?
How do you write good love scenes?
What is too much detail in a sex scene?
What are beats?
How do you write back story.
How do you work with back story and flashback?
How do you work with red herrings and gotchas?
How do you write endings?
Critique and Revision:
What do you look for in revisions?
Publishing and Marketing:
What do editors do?
What are some of the reasons for rejection?
How different is collaborating from writing solo?
How do you make a collaboration work?
How do you deal with after-publishing regrets?
What are the top ten things you know about publishing?
How do I keep writing when I’m overwhelmed by daily life?
How do you manage your writing time.
What are good writing how-to books?