How to Build Scenes and Add Length and Substance to Your Novel

“I want to make my story longer.” That’s something I hear a lot of young writers say. Excited about embarking on a first novel-length work, the tendency is to get a little bit stuck on what to add to the Big Middle to lengthen the WIP. If that’s where you’re stuck right now, here’s what […]

Body Language

I confess! I swiped this Body Language Cheat Sheet for Writers from Archtype–a website that bills itself as “The Fiction Writer’s Guide to Psychology” … but they told me I could reproduce it freely for educational purposes, so I guess that keeps things legal. 😉 Either way, it was too good to pass up […]

Georgie-Porgie, Puddin’ and Pie

You know the nursery rhyme, but do you know the story behind it? Georgie-Porgie, Puddin’ and Pie (King George was a fat glutton) Kissed the girls and made them cry. (He was also a philanderer who used his position to make unwelcome advances on women.) When the boys came out to play (When Parliament was […]

Which Comes First: the Chicken or the Egg?

Motivation and Reaction Units (MRUs) comprise the majority of your novel. They are also something writers often struggle to master. The concept is simple. Which comes first, the motivation or the reaction? Motivation is the cause (occurs outside the character) Reaction is the effect  (occurs inside the character) The motive must come first. We cannot […]


What is a hero? In writing, the hero (or heroine) is the main character of the story–the person the story is about. And we already know that a story is about someone with a problem — someone who wants something but can’t quite get it until they face the obstacle that stands in their way […]