Writing Craft

What Can George R. R. Martin Teach Us About Writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on November 4, 2022

Once again, Ginger is looking at another great writer for inspiration and lessons, boiling down what makes them so popular into little tidbits we can use and apply to our own writing.  This time the author is George R. R. Martin, best known for his ongoing series of books and the hit HBO show based on them, Game of Thrones. Even though his world is made up of countless characters and each novel is hundreds of pages long, there are key elements that Martin sticks to in his books. His enormous and ever-growing fanbase is proof that his formula is popular among readers, which is why it’s worth digging into what it is he does so that we can determine if his techniques could work for us, as well. But be warned, for anyone that hasn’t yet read the books or watched the show, there are some minor spoilers ahead…. Read More >

Use Tropes to Your Advantage

By: Ginger | Posted on October 28, 2022

What’s a James Bond movie without 007 using his high-tech gadgets? What’s the point of a western unless there’s a quick-draw showdown beneath the noonday sun? One highly overlooked attribute of successful books, shows, and movies is a reliance on tried-and-tested tropes that audiences like to eat up time after time. As Ginger points out below, learning and using the tropes of your genre can work in your favor by scoring an instant connection to your ideal readers. The word ‘trope’ is used a lot when people dissect popular culture, and its generally not in a flattering way. The dictionary defines a trope as “a figurative or metaphorical use of a word or expression” but fans of science fiction movies, horror films, or any other popular genre will more generally think of them as repeated scenarios that have become part of the furniture for their favorite books and TV shows…. Read More >

Lee Child on the Flexibility of Point-of-View

By: Ginger | Posted on October 21, 2022

One of the first decisions you have to make before starting to write a novel is which perspective, or point-of-view (POV), will be most effective in telling your story. The most common ones are first person and third person, and while I think most authors prefer one perspective over another, there are occasions where you at least want to consider the alternative. Most readers have a preference as well, and traditionally authors tend to respect this when writing series by keeping the whole series in the same perspective. But that doesn’t mean switching it up can’t be done.  Lee Child is one example of an author that not only switches POV between books in his Jack Reacher series, but has even gone as far as to switch from first to third person within the same book!  This week, Ginger delves into POVs to try and explain not only which one… Read More >

What can Stephen King teach us about writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on October 7, 2022

Many authors have probably already read Stephen King’s own words about writing from his book on the subject, but that doesn’t mean you’re done learning from him. King is a very prolific writer, and although he’s known for his horror, he’s actually written in a number of genres over the years. You can never know too much about any of the writing greats, and as Ginger points out, there are still things we can learn from King outside of what he put into his book on writing. There are common elements in his stories that draw readers in and make his novels so engaging, and those are the things that really deserve our attention. Recently, somebody mentioned to me that they enjoyed our blog series on what famous writers can teach us about the craft of storytelling. We’ve covered Agatha Christie, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Lee Child, Taika Waititi, and Ian… Read More >

What can Agatha Christie teach us about writing?

By: Hidden Gems | Posted on September 16, 2022

As he’s done in previous blogs, Ginger is breaking down the lessons we authors can take away from some of the greatest and most prolific writers in history. And there isn’t anyone more prolific or successful than Agatha Christie, having sold more copies of her books than any other modern author has ever done by a longshot. So what was the secret to her success, and how can you emulate it in your own way?  Read on for Ginger’s breakdown to find out. When it comes to best-selling authors of the modern age, there’s one clear winner: Agatha Christie. Over the course of her storied life, Christie wrote and published 85 books which have sold over 4 billion copies (and that’s not a typo – that’s billion spelt with a b.) She’s sold two billion more books than any author of the modern age – and they’re books that have… Read More >

What can F. Scott Fitzgerald teach us about writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 26, 2022

Many people consider F. Scott Fitzgerald one of the greatest authors of all time, and his work is used as required reading in many U.S. schools. But even if you read The Great Gatsby as a child, the writing lessons you could have taken from it may have been lost on you then, or simply forgotten over the years. But with the staying power and impact that Fitzgerald’s books have had, authors would be smart to study what it was that he did right as a way to improve their own writing. That’s why Ginger is here with another breakdown on the lessons we can learn from a writing icon such as F. Scott Fitzgerald. The United States has produced some of the greatest authors of the modern age, but few are as well known or highly regarded as Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, who wrote under the name F. Scott… Read More >

What can Taika Waititi teach us about Storytelling?

By: Ginger | Posted on August 12, 2022

There are plenty of places to look for inspiration when it comes to writing, and it’s not always from the famous authors that we grew up with. In an informal series of articles, Ginger has been delving into writing greats such as Lee Child and Ian Fleming, breaking down the lessons he thinks we can all take from their work. This week, however, Ginger is mixing it up just a bit, by looking at moviemaker Taika Waititi. After all, writing comes in all forms, as do authors, and the more well rounded the group you learn from, the stronger your own writing arsenal will be. Thor: Love & Thunder recently hit the cinema screens, and while it hasn’t achieved the same critical success that its predecessor, Thor: Ragnarök did, the movie has nevertheless passed $600 million at the global box office and once again established director and screenwriter Taika Waititi… Read More >

The Essentials of Speechwriting

By: Matthew Hughes | Posted on August 5, 2022

Novel writing isn’t the only way to make money as an author. At the beginning of this year we discussed a few non-traditional writing paths, but today we have a guest blogger bringing you an idea we didn’t cover during that podcast discussion.  Not everyone is aware that while politicians and business leaders are great at delivering speeches, they’re often just reading the words that someone else has written for them. Before he was a multiple award-winning novelist, Matthew Hughes spent decades as a freelance speechwriter, putting words into the mouths of many talented orators. Speechwriting can be a well-paying gig, but if you’re thinking about trying to break into the industry, it helps to have an understanding of the essential components that make up a good speech. And that’s exactly what Matt is here to go over with us all today. These days, I write science fiction, fantasy, and… Read More >

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 >