Writing Craft

10 Essential Tips for Crafting Effective Horror Stories

By: Ginger | Posted on September 15, 2023

For authors, Halloween is the perfect time to unleash the darker recesses of their imagination by crafting tales that send shivers down readers’ spines.  The art of chilling storytelling has evolved over centuries, with authors like Edgar Allan Poe and Stephen King shaping the genre’s landscape while adhering to its core essence—a masterful mix of fear, suspense, and unease. Similar to his article last week which dove into Science Fiction world-building, this week Ginger is examining the ingredients that make up truly effective horror stories. By breaking down the core elements that help turn regular tales into spine-tingling literary nightmares, you too can write books that keep your readers up at night, long after they’ve reached the end of your book…  Some Starbucks stores have already unleashed their pumpkin spice products, which means summer is effectively over! For many of us writers, our attention turns next to Halloween – one… Read More >

Mastering the Craft of World-Building in Science Fiction

By: Ginger | Posted on September 8, 2023

One thing that separates genres like science fiction from others, is the idea that they usually take place in an unfamiliar setting. Whether it’s a completely alien world, the distant future, or simply a slightly different version of earth than our own, it is this unfamiliarity that allows a reader’s imagination to really soar. But world-building isn’t easy. For many authors, building a whole new world or reality can be intimidating, but it’s still the most important skill to master if you want to write engaging, provocative science fiction. Fortunately, many successful sci-fi authors have already paved the way, perfecting techniques at world-building to write truly groundbreaking and award winning novels. By studying what they’ve done, you can put together believable worlds of your own, which is why Ginger has broken down those techniques into a list of tips and strategies that are common to most science fiction novels.  World-building is… Read More >

Past Tense vs. Present Tense: Which should YOU choose?

By: Ginger | Posted on September 1, 2023

Past tense vs. present tense is less a debate about which is better, and more about which is a better choice for your particular book. While many authors default to past tense, that may not always be ideal for your story as both tenses have their own unique strengths and challenges.  Today, Ginger examines the advantages of both past and present tense so that you can have a better understanding of when they should be used, and even provides examples of each from popular works of fiction. Having a strong grasp of narrative tense is important because choosing the right one for your story will help leave an impact on your reader and keep them coming back for more. Recently, I was participating in a writing discussion when the topic of tenses came up. Other members of the group were surprised that a book we were discussing was written in… Read More >

Tell Don’t Show – a surprising writing lesson from Shakespeare and Star Wars

By: Ginger | Posted on August 18, 2023

Most authors have heard the standard “show don’t tell” rule for writing, which essentially means that writers should have their story unfold through actions and descriptive detail rather than explicitly telling the reader what is going on. This tenet of writing is so important that it’s often referred to as the Golden Rule, yet there are also times where it’s okay to break it.  That’s why this week, Ginger is providing some examples of telling rather than showing from a couple  of very recognizable, but also very disparate, sources: William Shakespeare and George Lucas.  For years, writers have been advised to “show, don’t tell.” But can we learn a contradictory lesson in exposition from two truly surprising sources? Namely the acclaimed plays of William Shakespeare, and the not-so-acclaimed prequels to the Star Wars saga? In 2005, actors Hayden Christensen and Ewan McGregor clashed lightsabers for what they thought might be… Read More >

Writing Therapy connects you with readers

By: Ginger | Posted on August 4, 2023

Throughout history, writers have found solace in expressing their pain and trauma through their work, as a type of writing therapy. However, the benefit isn’t just for the author. Writing about our deepest wounds can resonate deeply with others, validating their silent suffering and forging powerful connections through our shared struggles. That’s why finding the courage to write about our pain isn’t just about getting something off our chests. As Ginger explains in today’s blog, it’s also about adding a sense of honesty and authenticity to our work that will build stronger bonds with readers and be appreciated more than you might think. Expressionist painter Edvard Munch created the “Mona Lisa of modern art” when he painted The Scream in 1893. A truly haunting painting that depicted his panic attack after losing track of his friends during a walk, it served as a keyhole into the turmoil of trauma, depression,… Read More >

Designing books from the outside in

By: Ginger | Posted on July 28, 2023

One of the greatest pieces of writing advice authors rarely follow is: “Write the blurb before the book.” Why should we do that? Because blurbs condense the concept of a novel into a few short paragraphs – and focusing on the killer hook is what can deliver a book that leaves a lasting impression. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as it sounds which is why the advice is rarely followed, but this week Ginger is diving into the subject to help explain the concept and why it’s important that even if you don’t follow it to the letter, you can still benefit from the idea. Blurbs sell books. That little three-or-four paragraph “details” section on your Amazon Product Page is ultimately one of the most influential factors in whether or not a potential reader clicks Buy Now when they land on your book page. Your blurb can make all the… Read More >

What can writers learn from Cormac McCarthy?

By: Ginger | Posted on July 14, 2023

When Cormac McCarthy died last month, the world lost a literary icon. Although only leaving behind a dozen novels, McCarthy made his mark on the world of literature, and authors everywhere can learn a lot from his work.  Today, Ginger takes a dive into who McCarthy was and why his books have such a strong impact on those that read them. By dissecting what it was that McCarthy did so well, writers can learn lessons that could potentially be applied to their own writing. Both as a way to make them stronger, and as a way to increase the chance that their books are remembered long after they’re gone by creating a legacy of their own. This June, the world lost American author Cormac McCarthy. An American literary icon, McCarthy was 89 years old and left behind a legacy of 12 books that altered the shape of American literature forever…. Read More >

What can writers learn from Brandon Sanderson?

By: Ginger | Posted on June 23, 2023

Brandon Sanderson was a big deal before he blew everyone away with the largest Kickstarter fundraiser ever. He’s been successfully writing fantasy and science fiction novels for the last 20 years, building up a loyal fanbase that, in hindsight, largely explains the successful of his Kickstarter project. But what is it that makes him so popular amongst readers and, more importantly, is there something we can learn from him that can be applied to our own writing or careers? Those are exactly the questions that Ginger is attempting to answer in today’s blog, as he examines who Sanderson is and what elements of his writing lead to his incredible popularity.  Recently we published an episode of the Fully Booked podcast in which we spoke to Oriana Leckert, Head of Publishing for Kickstarter. As she outlined what opportunities Kickstarter offers self-published and independent authors, we repeatedly referenced the most famous Kickstarter success… Read More >

Should Authors Embrace the AI Revolution?

By: Ginger | Posted on February 17, 2023

ChatGPT exploded onto the scene a few months ago, and I honestly don’t feel like I’m overstating things when I say that it literally changed almost everything overnight. There’s a reason why it set a record for the fastest user growth ever, hitting 100 million active users within 2 months of launch. People are finding new uses for it almost daily, and one of the most interesting (to us) is in how it can help authors.  Sure, there are negative stories about how students are using it to write essays or pass their tests, or the sky is falling type articles warning how everyone is about to lose their jobs to AI, but we can either fear change, or embrace it. The reality is, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The cat is out of the bag on this, and it’s NOT going back in.  AI is here… Read More >

Discover a Fresh Perspective with the POV Challenge

By: Ginger | Posted on February 10, 2023

This week’s podcast with Courtney Brandt explores the intricacies of writing in first and third person perspectives, which is an excellent reference to listen to before (or after) reading this blog. In many cases, whether due to genre norms or story requirements, one perspective is more suited than another for a particular story, but there are also plenty of occasions where either POV could work (although the results would likely be two very different versions of the same tale.) Yet despite this, many authors favor one POV over another, even when the alternative may be a better fit.  Both perspectives have their unique strengths, which is why experimenting with them can be an incredibly valuable exercise. By switching things up, authors can gain a fresh perspective on their plot and characters, which in turn may result in a their ability to write a much stronger and engaging story.  But don’t… Read More >