Openings

Do you want to expand your writing skills and develop great openings?  Try these exercises: Examine the first three paragraphs often published novels. Is there a narrative hook? What is it? What does it make you wonder about in terms of the story? Apropos of nothing, write ten simply gripping opening sentences. Expand these opening sentences into whole paragraphs. See what you “discover” about the characters and the story. Store these away for possible future use as novel idea sparkers. … Learn More →

Getting To Character From Just About Anywhere

Let’s say you have an interesting idea for a story. Or a setting. Or a character. Or maybe just an intense image. Ursula K. Le Guin began The Left Hand of Darkness with no more than that. So did William Faulkner, with The Sound and the Fury.  Le Guin’s image was two figures hauling a sledge across a remote sheet of ice.  Faulkner’s was a little girl with muddy underpants up in a pear tree. But now what? How to … Learn More →

Novel Ideas

Look through the front section of your morning newspaper. Find three articles that contain possibilities for novels. Take the original idea, apply the “what if” strategy, and expand them into one page ideas for a novel. Take one of your favorite novels and reset it in modern times and in your own town. For example, if you adore Gone with the Wind, you might take a young, spoiled rich girl and have her lover sent away to fight the Gulf … Learn More →