The Difference Between Action and Narrative Tension

The Difference Between Action and Narrative Tension

You’ve heard you need to grab your reader’s attention with a compelling first page, but often I see writers who start their novel with action, but not tension. The difference is perhaps subtle, but very real. Tension is created when the reader sees a...
Drawing In The Reader With The Setting

Drawing In The Reader With The Setting

It used to be that novels would lavishly describe the setting. But with today’s focus on tight pacing, a few details here and there usually have to be enough. Here’s how to make those details count. If you’re writing in close third person point of...
How to Craft a Science Fiction Novel

How to Craft a Science Fiction Novel

Occasionally writers will ask me, “Am I writing science fiction, fantasy, or something else?” Science fiction is more than advanced technology, spaceships, or aliens, and fantasy is more than magic or supernatural creatures. Genre elements attract readers...

How to Write a Thriller

Imagine an interesting person with a serious problem. Ideally this is a problem you know something about, if not, do some research. The problem ought to be something that people care about and can picture themselves facing, even if it takes place on another planet, or...
Setting The Scene In Science Fiction, Fantasy, And Horror

Setting The Scene In Science Fiction, Fantasy, And Horror

Often I see a science fiction or fantasy story that starts like this: a handful of paragraphs of description that slowly start to explain how the world works, and who the characters are. The problem is that there is no problem. See instead the following example:...

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