Episodes

  • In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the fifth book in the Harry Potter series!

    [03:40] A very quick summary of the first chapter

    [06:25] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings

    [25:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid

    [57:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Rate + Review + Follow on Apple Podcasts

    "I love the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast!" ← If that sounds like you, please consider rating and reviewing this show! Your rating and review will help other writers find this podcast, and they're also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here, scroll all the way to the bottom, tap five stars to rate the show, and then select "Write a Review." Be sure to let me know what your favorite part of the episode was, too!

    Also, if you haven't done so already, make sure you're following the podcast! I'll be adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the feed, and if you're not following the show, there's a good chance you'll miss them. Click here to follow now!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Click here to check out the LitMatch Podcast with Abigail Perry! You can also get in touch with Abigail through her website or on Instagram @abigailkperry.Ep. 59 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's StoneEp. 60 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Chamber of SecretsEp. 61 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Prisoner of AzkabanEp. 64 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Goblet of FireWorkshop: How to Write Compelling and Well-Structured Scenes

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join, and you can click here to request access!

  • In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the fourth book in the Harry Potter series:

    [03:05] A very quick summary of the first chapter
    [05:50] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
    [20:30] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
    [38:50] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix, and if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast, and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review,” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Click here to check out the LitMatch Podcast with Abigail Perry! You can also get in touch with Abigail through her website (www.abigailkperry.com) or you can find her on Instagram @abigailkperry.Ep. 59 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's StoneEp. 60 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Chamber of SecretsEp. 61 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Prisoner of AzkabanWorkshop: How to Write Compelling and Well-Structured Scenes

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join, and you can click here to request access!

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  • In this episode, I'm sharing the three contextual elements you'll want to include at the beginning of each one of your scenes. We'll also look at how these three elements show up in the opening of a scene from the novel An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Here's a preview of the key points:

    [03:10] Key element #1: Where and when is this scene taking place?
    [04:35] Key element #2: What is your POV character's mental and emotional state?
    [08:55] Key element #3: What is your POV character's goal and motivation?
    [17:35] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix, and if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast, and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review,” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Ep. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured SceneBook: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join, and you can click here to request access!

  • In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every crime story needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:15] Crime stories are all about the quest to either solve or commit a crime. So, these stories start with a crime, build with an investigation (or a completion of the crime), and end with identifying and bringing the criminal to justice (or not).
    [02:15] Readers choose crime fiction because they want to follow the trail of clues, make meaning of those clues, and figure out the puzzle right alongside the protagonist. They want to see the wrongs righted, and they want to see justice prevail.
    [03:05] Obligatory scenes are the key events, decisions, and discoveries that move a protagonist along their journey from point A to point B. They help us writers craft a story that works AND a story that will deliver a specific emotional experience.
    [04:35] Key scene #1: The protagonist discovers a crime that’s indicative of a master antagonist.
    [05:55] Key scene #2: The stakes become personal to the protagonist, and they commit to figuring out what’s going on so they can bring the antagonist to justice.
    [07:10] Key scene #3: The protagonist learns more about what the antagonist wants and why. This raises the stakes, and the clock starts ticking.
    [08:40] Key scene #4: The protagonist reaches an all-is-lost moment where they realize they’ve come to the wrong conclusion or they’ve been pursuing the wrong person.
    [10:05] Key scene #5: The protagonist exposes the true criminal in the big climactic moment and unravels all the antagonist’s motives and plans.
    [11:40] Key scene #6: The protagonist brings the antagonist to justice (or not).
    [12:55] Key points and episode recap.

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix, and if you’re not subscribed, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show on Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast, and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review,” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Episode Freebie: Crime Genre Key Scenes PDF Cheat Sheet

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join, and you can click here to request access!

  • In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the third book in the Harry Potter series:

    [03:00] A very quick summary of the first chapter
    [04:50] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
    [21:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
    [40:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Click here to check out the LitMatch Podcast with Abigail Perry! You can also get in touch with Abigail through her website (www.abigailkperry.com) or you can find her on Instagram @abigailkperry.Ep. 59 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's StoneEp. 60 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Chamber of SecretsEp. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured SceneWorkshop: How to Write Compelling and Well-Structured Scenes
  • In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the second book in the Harry Potter series:

    [03:30] A very quick summary of the first chapter
    [05:30] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
    [25:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
    [46:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Click here to check out the LitMatch Podcast with Abigail Perry! You can also get in touch with Abigail through her website (www.abigailkperry.com), or you can find her on Instagram @abigailkperry.Ep. 59 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's StoneEp. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured SceneWorkshop: How to Write Compelling and Well-Structured Scenes
  • In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the first book in the Harry Potter series:

    [04:30] A very quick summary of the first chapter
    [07:00] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
    [38:00] A micro analysis of the two scenes within the chapter using the "5 Commandments of Storytelling" from The Story Grid
    [60:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Click here to check out the LitMatch Podcast with Abigail Perry! You can also get in touch with Abigail through her website (www.abigailkperry.com) or you can find her on Instagram @abigailkperry.Ep. 60 - First Chapter Analysis: Harry Potter & the Chamber of SecretsEp. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured SceneWorkshop: How to Hook Readers in Your First 5 Pages
  • In this episode, I'm sharing the 10 most common querying mistakes I see writers make and how to avoid them. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

    [02:45] Mistake #1: Your story isn't 100% ready to send out just yet.
    [04:25] Mistake #2: Sending your query to the wrong person.
    [06:15] Mistake #3: Not following the submission guidelines.
    [08:45] Mistake #4: You forgot to include your metadata.
    [09:50] Mistake #5: Your word count is too high or too low.
    [11:10] Mistake #6: The genre of your story isn't clear.
    [12:30] Mistake #7: The comp titles listed don't make sense.
    [14:25] Mistake #8: Your story summary is too vague.
    [16:35] Mistake #9: You've tried to fit too much stuff in your query.
    [18:55] Mistake #10: Your query letter is unprofessional or weird.
    [21:00] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Workshop: How to Hook Readers in Your First 5 PagesEp. 2 - How to Choose the Best Genre for Your Story
  • In today’s extra special bonus episode, I'm sharing an interview I did earlier this year with Emma Dhesi for her Be A Bestseller Summit.

    We talked about genre and how your story’s genre can help you write a story that works. And specifically, we dove into the thriller genre and talked about how the key scenes and conventions of the thriller genre show up in The Silence of the Lambs.

    This was such a fun event to be a part of because it’s always fun to talk about writing, but also there were 25-30 other speakers who all shared their insights, tips, and strategies on the writing, editing, and publishing process., too.

    The event is officially over, but you want to watch a replay of all the interviews, you can click here to purchase an All-Access Pass. Enjoy!

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links Mentioned in this Episode:

    Click here to access the interviews from the Be a Bestseller 3.0 Summit hosted by Emma Dhesi. Note: There is a fee for the All-Access Pass.


    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

  • In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the action genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Hunger Games. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:25] Action stories are about life and death, and good versus evil. They’re about a character who has to rise up, overcome great obstacles, defeat forces of evil, and maybe even save the world. But that being said, these stories aren’t always about superheroes.
    [02:35] Readers choose action stories to experience the excitement of the life and death stakes and situations that the protagonist is presented with. But it’s not just about that—we choose these stories because they inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves, too.
    [03:35] Genre conventions are the character roles, settings, and micro-events that are specific to a genre. They’re what help us writers write a story that works AND evoke emotional reactions in our readers.
    [04:50] #1 - The protagonist has a special talent or gift and the potential for heroism.
    [06:55] #2 - The protagonist’s goal is to stop the antagonist and save victims.
    [08:10] #3 - There are multiple lives at stake (including the protagonist’s).
    [09:10] #4 - The antagonist is stronger and/or more powerful than the protagonist.
    [10:25] #5 - The protagonist has a moral compass that the antagonist does not.
    [11:50] #6 - There’s a speech in praise of the antagonist.
    [13:00] #7 - There’s a MacGuffin (or a very specific thing the antagonist wants).
    [13:50] #8 - There are sidekicks who help the protagonist save the victim/s.
    [14:45] #9 - There’s at least one mentor figure who gives the protagonist guidance.
    [15:25] #10 - There’s a ticking clock that puts pressure on the protagonist.
    [17:05] Key points and episode recap.

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Episode Freebie: Action Genre Conventions PDF Cheat SheetAction Conventions: The 10 Things Every Action Story Needs (article)Action Obligatory Scenes: The 6 Scenes Every Action Story Needs (article)Conventions vs. tropes: What's the difference? (podcast and article)


    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

  • In this episode, I'm exploring 5 reasons why readers might stop reading a novel. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

    [01:50] Reason #1: Nothing meaningful happens in the opening pages.
    [04:15] Reason #2: It’s hard to connect with the point of view characters.
    [06:30] Reason #3: Readers don’t know what kind of story they’re reading.
    [09:40] Reason #4: Readers have seen the same thing before.
    [12:30] Reason #5: Readers don't care what happens next.
    [15:45] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Workshop: How to Hook Readers in Your First 5 PagesEp. 7 - 5 Questions to Help You Craft Compelling CharactersEp. 2 - How to Choose the Best Genre for Your StoryEp. 16 - Genre Conventions vs. Tropes: What's the Difference?
  • In this episode, I'm sharing three tips for writing a first draft in 90 days. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

    [01:35] How one of my Notes to Novel students, Jennifer, wrote a draft in 90 days (after creating a flexible, yet very fleshed out scene-by-scene outline)
    [04:35] Tip #1: Block out the time and space on your calendar so that you'll actually have the time and space to write a first draft in 90 days.
    [05:25] Tip #2: Accept that your first draft will be messy, but don't let that stop you from making forward progress. Use things like "details TK" to keep moving forward.
    [07:00] Tip #3: Create a scene-by-scene outline for your story so that you have a roadmap to follow each time you sit down to write.
    [09:25] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Ep. 34 - How to Plan Your Writing Projects for the New YearFREE Masterclass: 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What To Do Instead). Click here to save your seat!
  • In this episode, I'm sharing two of my favorite ways to test out a story idea before you start writing a single word. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

    [01:50] The goal of these two exercises is to find out which foundational pieces of your story still need to be fleshed out. Better to find out now than halfway through a draft!
    [01:10] Exercise #1: Write a 1-2 sentence summary of your story. Try to capture the WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY of your global story.
    [04:45] If you don't know all the answers, look to your genre for clues! Your story's global genre will give you the framework for these summaries (and so much more).
    [06:00] If an idea does fall flat in this 1-2 sentence summary, this does NOT mean the story idea isn't good. It just means there's more work to do to flesh out the foundational elements required to write a full-length story.
    [06:30} Exercise #2: Write a 250-word (or less) summary of your story. Take your short summary and expand the WHO, the WHAT, and the WHY. Add details about your setting, too.
    [08:00] An example of a summary from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
    [11:20] Final thoughts and episode recap

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Ep. 2 - Understanding Genre: How to Write BetterIMDB.com the Internet Movie Data BaseFREE Masterclass: 5 Little-Known Mistakes Most Fiction Writers Make (+ What To Do Instead). Click here to save your seat!
  • In this episode, I'm doing my own little countdown of some of the best and most listened to clips from the Fiction Writing Made Easy podcast episodes in 2021. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

    [00:00] Tip #10: The more clear you are about your goals, the better chance of success you’ll have when it comes to accomplishing them.
    [00:00] Tip #9: Knowing your story’s ideal reader can help you write, edit, publish, and market your book.
    [00:00] Tip #8: Your point of view character needs to have a goal in each and every scene in your novel.
    [00:00] Tip #7: Your point of view character needs to face a tough choice in every single scene.
    [00:00] Tip #6: The theme of your story doesn’t have to be original!
    [00:00] Tip #5: Focusing on writing solid scenes (vs. chapters) will allow you to finish your draft in the most efficient way (and become a better writer).
    [00:00] Tip #4: If you’re stuck between multiple story ideas, ask yourself which one will help you become a better writer and start there.
    [00:00] Tip #3: You need to understand your character’s backstory to give them meaningful conflict to face in the story present.
    [00:00] Tip #2: Understanding the ins and outs of your genre is the fastest way to write a story that works.
    [00:00] Tip #1: Focus on crafting a compelling story before you focus on writing beautiful words and sentences.

    Follow & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you following my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today so that you don't miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not following the show, there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to follow this show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a follower, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. These reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Ep. 8 - 7 Secrets to Success Every Writer Should KnowEp. 4 - How to Identify Your Story's Ideal ReaderEp. 43 - 10 Tips for Writing Better ScenesEp. 40 - How to Write a Well Structured SceneEp. 5 - How t Figure Out the Theme of Your StoryEp. 6 - 3 Reasons You Should Write in Scenes vs. ChaptersEp. 3 - How to Decide Which Story Idea to Write NextEp. 7 - 5 Questions to Help You Write Better CharactersEp. 2 - Understanding Genre: How to Write Better StoriesEp. 1 - The #1 Myth That Holds Writers Back

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

  • In today’s episode, I'm sharing some of the lessons I learned from coaching writers this year. My hope is that these lessons will help you to keep moving forward with your work in the most efficient way possible. Here's a quick preview:

    [01:15] Lesson #1: Most writers have trouble with the emotional layers of their stories. We need to properly learn how to convey our character's emotional reactions in order to successfully evoke emotions in readers.
    [05:00] Lesson #2: It's not always going to be easier to write your second book than it was to write your first book. Even if you've "leveled up," you'll still need to go through the process of writing a messy first draft to discover your story. Think of it as practicing your craft.
    [07:50] Lesson #3: It's important to speak up about what you want, what you think, and what's important to you--even if you're working with someone like a traditional publisher.
    [10:45] Lesson #4: Most writers don't spend enough time developing their antagonist as they do their protagonist, and they should! Your antagonist provides the central conflict for your story, so they're just as important to flesh out and make three-dimensional.
    [13:10] Lesson #5: It's so important to get to "The End" of your first draft because then, and only then, will you be able to see your story as a whole. The way forward will be so much easier once you see the big picture.

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Notes to Novel: Learn how to confidently write the first draft of a story you feel proud of (without the crippling self-doubt, frustration, and overwhelm that stops most writers in their tracks). Click here to get on the waitlist!

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

  • In today's episode, I'll walk you through three tips for crafting unforgettable supporting characters. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:15] Supporting characters are any characters that are not your protagonist or your antagonist. In general, each supporting character in your story will either support or thwart your protagonist as they try to achieve their goal.
    [03:10] Tip #1: Develop your supporting cast of characters just as fully as you would your protagonist and your antagonist.
    [05:15] Tip #2: Let your supporting characters represent an aspect of the overarching story.
    [07:15] Tip #3: Give your supporting cast of characters a hook to help them stand out.
    [11:30] Key points and episode recap.

    Links Mentioned in This Episode

    Ep. 2 - Understanding Genre: How to Write Better Stories (article)Ep. 10 - How to Create Memorable Characters Using Hooks (article)


    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    P.S. Did you know that I have a Facebook group just for fiction writers? In this private group, we talk about all things writing, editing, and publishing fiction. It's free to join and you can request access here. Hope to see you there!

  • In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beats that make up the end of a story, or the final section of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:45] A recap of the last three episodes (episodes #47, #48, and #49)/
    [03:15] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section (the end) is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
    [03:40] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats. I will tell you which is which!
    [04:20] Beat #14 is the five part finale! And this beat is all about resolving all the problems that were raised in act one and act two. It's also about showing how much your protagonist has changed since page one.
    [05:45] Five Part Finale Part 1: Gathering the Team.
    [07:00] Five Part Finale Part 2: Executing the Plan.
    [08:35] Five Part Finale Part 3: High Tower Surprise.
    [10:15] Five Part Finale Part 4: Dig Deep Down.
    [12:15] Five Part Finale Part 5: Execution of the New Plan.
    [15:00] Beat #15 is the final image. And this is a single scene beat that shows how much your protagonist has changed since the opening image.
    [18:25] Key points and episode recap.

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Episode Freebie: Scene Planning Roadmap PDFEp. 47 - Save the Cat! The Beginning Beats (article)Ep. 48 - Save the Cat! The Middle Beats (Part 1) (article)Ep. 49 - Save the Cat! The Middle Beats (Part 2) (article)Ep. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured Scene (article)Book: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica BrodyBook: Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
  • In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beats that make up the second half of the middle section of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:55] A recap of last week's episode that focused on the first half of the middle beats in the STC! method. Click here to listen to episode #48 first!
    [03:05] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section (the middle, part two) is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
    [03:45] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats. I will tell you which is which!
    [04:15] Beat #10 is the Bad Guys Close in beat, which is a multi-scene beat where the external and/or internal bad guys put pressure on your protagonist so that they're ultimately set up for change in the upcoming beats.
    [09:55 Beat #11 is the All is Lost beat, which is a single scene beat and the worst moment of the story so far for your protagonist where everything feels horrible.
    [24:25] Beat #12 is the Dark Night of the Soul beat which is a multi-scene beat where the protagonist evaluates, analyzes, and thinks about everything (especially whatever happened in the All is Lost moment) and has an epiphany regarding what to do next.
    [19:00] Beat #13 is the Break Into Three beat which is a single scene beat where the protagonist takes their first step or action to execute their new plan.
    [22:15] Key points and episode recap.

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Episode Freebie: Scene Planning Roadmap PDFEp. 47 - Save the Cat! The Beginning Beats (article)Ep. 48 - Save the Cat! The Middle Beats (Part 1) (article)Ep. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured Scene (article)Book: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica BrodyBook: Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
  • In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beats that make up the first half of the middle section of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:55] A recap of last week's episode that focused on the beginning beats in the STC! method. Click here to listen to episode #47 first!
    [02:30] Act two is all about your character changing. In act one, the protagonist starts out one way, then they go on a journey in act two, and come out the other side in act three a new and improved person.
    [04:15] In act two, the protagonist needs to have agency over what they’re doing. They need to take active steps toward getting or accomplishing the thing they want (aka the thing they think will bring them happiness or fulfillment).
    [05:00] As we go through these beats, pay attention to how they put pressure on the protagonist until he or she changes.
    [05:25] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section (the middle, part one) is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
    [06:25] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats. I will tell you which is which!
    [07:00] Beat #7 is the B-Story beat which is a single scene beat that introduces a new character (or characters depending on your story) who will ultimately help the hero learn the lesson of the story.
    [10:30] Beat #8 is the fun and games beat which is a multi-scene beat where we see the protagonist really sinking into their new world, and they’re either loving it or they’re hating it.
    [18:30] Beat #9 is the midpoint beat which is a single scene beat that ups the stakes, and this is where the protagonist starts to shift from chasing their wants to letting go of the thing they want in order to figure out what they need.
    [24:45] Key points and episode recap.

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Episode Freebie: Scene Planning Roadmap PDFEp. 47 - Save the Cat! The Beginning Beats (article)Ep. 5 - 3 Ways to Figure Out the Theme of Your Story (article)Ep. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured Scene (article)Book: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica BrodyBook: Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder
  • In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the beginning beats of Blake Snyder's Save the Cat! (STC!) beat sheet so that you can efficiently outline (or write) your novel. Here's a preview of what's included:

    [01:05] The STC! method highlights 15 “beats” or plot points that each has a specific purpose and serves a particular function within your global story.
    [02:25] The average novel is about 80k words, and this section is about 20k of them. If you write 1,500-word scenes, you're looking at about 14 scenes here.
    [03:15] Some of the beats are single scene beats while others are multi-scene beats.
    [03:55] Beat #1 is the opening image which is a single scene beat that shows a “before” snapshot of the protagonist’s life and the flawed world that he or she lives in.
    [06:10] Beat #2 is the theme stated which is another single scene beat where someone hints at the theme or what the protagonist will learn by the end of the story.
    [08:15] Beat #3 is the setup which is a multi-scene beat where readers get to see what the protagonist’s life and world are like–flaws and all. It’s also where important supporting characters and the protagonist’s initial goal are introduced.
    [011:30] Beat #4 is the catalyst which is a single scene beat where a life-changing event happens to the protagonist and catapults him or her into a new world or a new way of thinking.
    [13:50] Beat #5 is the debate which is a multi-scene beat where the protagonist debates what he or she will do next. This will take up the second half of the beginning section of your story.
    [16:40] Beat #6 is the break into two which is a single scene beat that acts as the bridge between act one and act two. Here, the protagonist decides to accept the call to adventure and leave their comfort zone, or adopt a new way of thinking.
    [18:15] Key points and episode recap.

    Subscribe & Review in Apple Podcasts

    Are you subscribed to my podcast? If you’re not, I want to encourage you to do that today. I don’t want you to miss an episode! Especially because I’m adding a bunch of bonus episodes to the mix and if you’re not subscribed there’s a good chance you’ll miss out on those. So, click here to subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts!

    If you're already a subscriber, and if you enjoy the show, I would be really grateful if you left a review over on Apple Podcasts, too. Those reviews help other writers find my podcast and they’re also super fun for me to go in and read. Just click here to review, select “Ratings and Reviews” and “Write a Review” and let me know what your favorite part of the show is. Thanks in advance!

    Links mentioned in this episode:

    Episode Freebie: Scene Planning Roadmap PDFEp. 2 - How to Choose the Best Genre for Your Story (article)Ep. 7 - 5 Questions to Help You Write Better Characters (article)Ep. 40 - How to Write a Well-Structured Scene (article)Ep. 5 - 3 Ways to Figure Out the Theme of Your Story (article)Book: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica BrodyBook: Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder