Writing Craft

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 >

The Dangers of Mixing Politics and Writing

By: Ginger | Posted on January 20, 2023

If you were to judge solely by the backlash so often seen erupting in social media these days, whenever an author gets too political in their writings, you might think that voicing those opinions was a new phenomenon. But in fact, writers have always used their work as a soapbox for their political leanings, we’re simply paying more attention to it now, with everyday readers finally having a place to sound off from when they agree or disagree with what they’ve read.  That’s not to say that writers shouldn’t speak their mind or fill their work with messages about how they think the world should work, but it does mean that it should be done with care. There are many examples of big name authors that have alienated their fans and paid the price, but there are also those that have done it in a way that is embraced and… Read More >

What can Jack Carr teach us about writing?

By: Ginger | Posted on December 2, 2022

Despite following in the footsteps of Lee Child, there is still much to learn from the meteoric rise in popularity of former Navy Seal turned author Jack Carr. Carr is a relative newcomer to writing, with only about five books to his name so far, but he’s been a chart topper since his debut, and his first book has already been turned into a streaming series on Prime. That’s why it makes sense for Ginger to examine what it is that has led to Carr’s quick success and what it can teach us that can be applied to our own writing, in this latest installment of his informal writing lessons series. Right now, there are two deadly badasses on my Amazon Prime menu screen – Jack Reacher and James Reece. The former is played by Alan Ritchson, who takes the role of the eponymous star of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher… Read More >

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 >