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Writing a book is like spinning plates. Lots and lots of plates, at a big family wedding in front of your new in-laws. Plates of all different sizes going at different speeds and set at different heights, all of which must be kept aloft to create the seamless final eff...

Autobiography and memoir are often lumped together, both commercially and as art forms, to the point that sometimes the lines between them blur. They’re both books by and about you, written in the first-person ("I") point of view. But they have separate aims, and the r...

When you develop the seed of an idea for a book, it’s hard to keep it from growing bigger and bigger, its roots taking hold deep in your brain and excitement spindling up and out in all directions. Research uncovers fascinating new bits of evidence to support the narra...

I once had a great writing teacher who thought novels are so engrossing because, when done well, they give you a glimpse into the secret, inner lives of other people better than any medium can—and there’s no more direct way into a character’s psyche than good dialogue....

A big deficiency that plagues too many otherwise promising manuscripts is short enough to fit on a tattoo:

Too much story, not enough plot.

The terms are often used interchangeably, but being able to distinguish between a story and a plot can make the difference betw...

John Gardner once described writing a novel as “a sustained psychological battle with yourself”—and he might’ve been underselling it. Rendering an entire imagined world on the page—the characters, the dialogue, the settings, the machinations of the plot—with the right...

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