Writing Your Novel Backward Might Be the Secret to Success
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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4d ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy It’s hard to plot a novel if you don’t know what problem it’s trying to solve. Creating plots has always been easy for me, but endings are my nemesis. I usually have a general sense of what they are before I start a novel, but far too often, I have no clue about the specifics on how my conflict is resolved. My outline might say, Nya needs to “stop the bad guy using her shifting ability.” Grace needs to “find her father.” Chip needs to “solve the murder.” Vague as they are, my endings at least give me a direction to work toward, which is sometimes all you need t ..read more
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6 “Fatal Flaws” That Will Kill a Novel
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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1w ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Fatal flaws can sink a story, but don’t lose hope if you find one in your novel. First drafts are all about getting an idea from your head onto the page, but sometimes that idea doesn’t come out quite right. Maybe you took the wrong approach, or maybe you tried to do too much to the story, or maybe you overlooked a critical aspect that would make it all come together. Whatever the reason, your first draft is…not good. It doesn’t work, there’s something wrong, and you have no clue how to fix it. It’s possible you haven’t even finished it yet, because all your i ..read more
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Throw Rocks at Your Characters (It’s Good for Them!)
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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1M ago
By Angela Ackerman Part of the How They Do It Series JH: Sending a character into an emotional spiral is a great way to add conflict to scene or build more tension in a novel. Angela Ackerman joins us today to share tips on how to stress out our characters to create better stories. Take it away, Angela...   If there’s one thing we all know, it’s that life is stressful. Each day, we’re bombarded with obstacles, challenges, and upsets. We navigate what we can, go to bed, and do it all again the next day. Do we like stress? No. But adversity builds resiliency. Problem-solving under press ..read more
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3 “Easy” Steps for Cutting Words from Your Manuscript
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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4M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Deleting words from your novel is easier than you think. Before I dive in, I'm guest posting at Writers in the Storm this week, with  A Handy Trick for Brainstorming Your Plot. Come on over and say hello! Getting rid of thousands of words from your manuscript is daunting. Having to cut tens of thousands of words can make you want to curl up in a ball and cry. But trimming down a novel doesn’t have to be a huge hack and slash deal. You don’t have to rip your baby to shreds and gut the wonderful words that make the story shine. In fact, throwing away e ..read more
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How to Write Description When You Hate Writing Description
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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5M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Every novel needs description, even when you don't wanna write it. I dislike writing description. Which is funny since I write science fiction and fantasy—two genres known for their abundant descriptions. I’d rather focus on what’s going on in the story and less on what everything looks like, but describing the world is a must for genre writers. If we don’t set the scene, the reader can’t ground themselves and be drawn into the story. So, yeah, super important. And not only for genre writers. Description is everywhere in every novel—what the characters look ..read more
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Turning Good Writing into Great Writing
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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8M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy The first words you write aren’t always the right words to use. Tuesday, I spent at least a half hour writing one line—and it wasn’t an opening line. I was working on a new scene for my science fiction detective novel, and it’s an emotion-packed scene right after the Dark Moment that tacks onto the All Is Lost Moment. It’s one those “this is where the protagonist reveals secrets they’d been keeping from someone important in their life, and it goes badly” situations. I reached the end of the scene and had my upset character storm off, and then dropped the last l ..read more
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The Faceless Villain: What to do When Your Protagonist Is the "Bad Guy"
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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8M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Not every story has a villain at its center—sometimes the problem is the protagonist. For a lot of writers, the hardest-to-write conflict is the Person vs. Self conflict. Quite often, the antagonist is a physical being the protagonist can physically fight. But in a PvS conflict, there's no one plotting against the protagonist. The antagonist is something to overcome, such as depression, or grief, or a self-destructive streak that’s core to who the protagonist is and a flaw they need to fix by the end of the novel. These stories are more challenging, but there’s ..read more
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When Stuck in a Scene, Look Around
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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8M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Sometimes the answer to making a scene work is inside the scene itself. I’ve been struggling with a major turning point chapter revision the past week, and one scene was really giving me a headache. It’s the end of Act Two, and the scene that triggers my protagonist’s Dark Night of the Soul and All Is Lost moments. So yeah, it’s important. What’s worse, is that I knew how the chapter needed to end (because of those oh-so-critical moments), I just wasn’t sure how to get there based on where the story was after all the new revisions. I had to connect Point A with ..read more
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Did You Choose the Best Words to Describe Your Setting?
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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9M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy Your reader doesn’t know what you’re picturing when you write a scene. Make sure they see what you see. Setting is a vital component of a novel, but it's one of the more awkward things to write naturally. People don't stop and describe the landscape, so having characters who do can feel forced and knock a reader right out of the story. It gets even more complicated when you think about how pretty much every scene needs its setting described so readers know where they are. But if you over describe, or use the wrong details, readers can get bored and start skimmi ..read more
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Decisions, Decisions: Creating Character Choices That Matter
Janice Hardy's Fiction University
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10M ago
By Janice Hardy, @Janice_Hardy A plot is just the series of choices a character makes in a story. Making a decision is one of the most important things your characters will ever do. Not only does it drive the plot, it creates tension and unpredictability in the story. Readers turn the page to see what happens next, and decisions are all about the "next." But there's a catch. Readers have to care about the outcome of that choice. “Should I have the eggs or the cereal?” is a choice, but no one is going to stay up late to see how that turns out. Because the other half of choosing is the fear ..read more
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