The Challenges of Writing Historical Fiction

Writing historical fiction is tough. You have to do the research on the historical facts, and then you have to “make it real.” (A few months ago I wrote a blog post about some of the craft challenges in writing historical fiction. You can read it here.) But, even after succeeding in writing a readable […]

Fictional Characters | Shhh! Secrets Revealed!

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Beginning Writers

Know your fictional characters before you start your novel, and you’ll have a much easier time figuring out your plot. That’s because plot (which is action) arises from character, and not the other way around. If you can get your characters to share their hopes, dreams, fears, and secrets, you’ll know which obstacles to place […]

Meet Matthew Peters | Thriller Author Shares Words of Wisdom

by Marylee MacDonald in For Writers Ready to Publish

Matthew Peters writes page-turning fiction, and he’s the author of a new novel, The Brothers’ Keepers. Early reviewers have compared The Brothers’ Keepers to Dan Brown’s De Vinci Code, but Matthew Peters’s novel is actually better written. It’s the kind of novel that a few years back, might have been snapped up by an agent and found wide distribution in […]

Anton Chekhov | How Many Characters Should A Story Have?

by Marylee MacDonald in Characters, For Readers

Anton Chekhov’s vivid characters live in our imaginations to this day. One of my favorites is “Lady With the Pet Dog,” also translated as “Lady With the Little Dog.” If you’ve never read his stories, or haven’t read them in a long time, here’s a site with audio recordings of them. Sit with the characters, as […]

How To Set Up A Critique Group | 5 Cardinal Rules

All writers get butterflies when they submit works-in-progress to a critique group. No matter how experienced or professional we might pretend to be, we writers have thin skins. A critique group can do a lot of good. It can help a writer identify one-dimensional characters and boring plots. But, writing groups can also do a […]

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