Writing Craft

Building Believable Love Between Characters

By: Ginger | Posted on July 1, 2022

Strong characters are at the foundation of any successful novel, and making sure that readers can see the emotions and feelings that your characters are experiencing about themselves, or for each other, will ensure that your story stays with them long after they finish the book. That’s why so many stories include some aspect of love between characters. With love being such a strong and universal feeling, including it is rarely a bad idea, regardless of your genre.  That means even if you aren’t writing a romance, or if romantic sub-plots just aren’t your thing, you can still include other types of love between characters, such as the love between family or very close friends. Regardless of the type you include, for it to work it has to feel real, which means that – just like in life – it’s not enough to just say the words. Luckily, there are… Read More >

Speak Directly to your Readers by using Avatars

By: Ginger | Posted on June 24, 2022

Having a small group of fans willing to read early drafts of your work (or even Beta Readers) can sometimes be helpful towards making sure you’re hitting your mark, because you’re not just writing for yourself, you want to have your story appeal to a wide variety of other people as well. So what do you do if you can’t (or don’t want to) share an early version of your story with others? It may seem like a radical or strange idea at first, but Ginger is here to propose his own alternative, taken from his personal experience working with user experience designers. By imagining a small group of readers that represent the audience he wants to connect with, he uses these personalities as a sort of focus group of Avatars that help him ensure his story is connecting with the types of people that he thinks will be reading… Read More >

What can Lee Child teach us about writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on June 17, 2022

With each new book we publish, our writing improves and we become better authors. But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from others, as well. By standing on the shoulders of giants, we might even be able to speed up that process, not to mention learn a new trick or two. And when it comes to thriller writing, Lee Child towers above all the rest, which means he might be the best person to teach us a few things. That’s why this week, Ginger is digging in to what makes Lee Child so successful and breaking it down for us in a way that makes it easy for us to use in improving our own writing. Amazon Prime has a hit on their hands. The first season of their streaming series Reacher, based on the character and books by Lee Child, became the first Amazon production to ever win the… Read More >

Emotions vs Feelings – the difference is character depth!

By: Ginger | Posted on June 3, 2022

A couple of weeks ago we featured visionary fiction author Stefan Edmunds on our podcast, and he outlined a really interesting concept in storytelling – the difference between feelings and emotions. Stefan argued that characters can only reach the triumphant conclusion of their story arc if they allow one to conquer over the other. But is that true? Ginger has done a deep dive into this subject to find out, and he’s here to take us through what he’s found. He even lays out a few examples that are a big help, because when it comes to emotions vs feelings, the differences can be hard to see at first.   To many of us (myself included, until recently) the meaning of the words ‘feelings’ and ’emotions’ have been synonymous. They’re both the same thing, right? Wrong. Or, at least, that’s what I’m here to argue. In one of our recent… Read More >

Using Dialogue to Drive Your Story

By: Ginger | Posted on May 27, 2022

Using dialogue properly in your novel is one of the most important things you need to get right, yet is one of the things that so many authors get wrong, or at least struggle with. Back when I first started writing seriously, I read a couple of books on dialogue specifically, and they helped me immensely. But you can gain just as much by simply studying some of the greats, and how they structure the conversations between their characters. That’s exactly what Ginger is looking at today, with a few examples from timeless classics. In a large part, these authors and books are still widely read because they were able to nail their own dialogue so effectively.   Some of the most timeless writers of our age remain that way because of their dynamic use of dialogue. Certain writers remain as relevant today as they did when their books were… Read More >

Approaching Your Book from the Inside Out

By: Ginger | Posted on May 20, 2022

There are many paths along the self-publishing journey, but many of the most successful authors pick the well-worn route over diving into the unknown, because they know that the readers are already following that path and returning to it, again and again. It’s familiar, they like the scenery and feel comfortable knowing where it will lead them. The danger of venturing out into the thicket, swinging your literary machete to forge a brand-new path, is that you might end up at a dead end and have to retrace your steps, sometimes starting your journey almost from the beginning. And even then, will anyone want to risk following you into that darkness? You can do both, though. It’s possible to follow the road often traveled, but veer off here and there to make your route more unique. Comfortable, yet different. Today, Ginger is here to lead you through the darkness, and… Read More >

Using Fictional and Real-Life Brands in your stories

By: Ginger | Posted on May 13, 2022

Regardless of your genre, if you’re telling a fictional story then you have some sort of world occupied by characters that use a variety of products and interact with various businesses.  If your story takes place on earth, or at least a planet that could be earth, then you have a choice to make. Do you use real products and companies, or do you make them up? It might not be something you’ve ever given much thought to, and if I were to guess, I’d say many authors just subconsciously decided to go one way or the other in their books and rarely waver (their characters typically stop by McDonalds on their way home for drive through, or something like Burgers R Us.) But there are actually a variety of factors to consider when deciding to use real brands over fictional ones in your novels, and so Ginger is here… Read More >

Key questions to help you structure your Story

By: Ginger | Posted on April 29, 2022

Whenever I’m faced with a new idea or concept, especially one that involves multiple steps or any sort of complexity, I find that I can grasp it far more readily if a real world example is used to explain or break it down. Dan Harmon’s story circle is a great plotting tool, and can absolutely help structure your story, but only if you really understand how to use it.  Ginger first talked about that tool on this blog a couple of years ago, and since then he’s come up with a list of his own questions that drill into the concept even further. Today, he’s not only sharing those questions with us, but also applying them to a very familiar and popular example as a way to make the entire thing much easier to understand.    A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the Story Circle – a… Read More >

How to Tell a Story

By: Ginger | Posted on March 11, 2022

Knowing how to tell a story is one of the key elements to being an author, but effective storytelling is more than just having a strong grasp of the language and a story you want to tell. If two writers were given the same story to write, told the same key details and given the same list of characters, they would both end up with very different books. And regardless of how great the actual story they were given was, there is no guarantee that both, or even one, of the resulting books would be bestsellers. Whether you’re writing a short story or a novel, you need to weave an engaging tale that takes your readers on a journey, keeping them hooked right through until the very last page. How you do that is the tricky part, but Ginger is here with the secret of how to do just that…. Read More >

What can Ian Fleming teach us about writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 19, 2021

I don’t think it’s possible to be a great author without also being an avid reader, first. In fact, while it’s often said that writing daily is the most essential habit an author should develop in order to improve their craft, I think just as important is reading as much and as often as possible. Both of those things are essential ingredients to being a successful storyteller, and there’s no better example of that than Ian Fleming, creator of the iconic character James Bond. There is a lot of benefit in studying authors like Fleming, and as someone who has done just that, Ginger is happy to share what he’s learned.   The 25th James Bond movie, No Time To Die, has hit theaters across the world. Some have hailed it as the “savior of cinema” for finally getting people to return to the movie theater after over a year… Read More >