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The Anatomy of a Bestselling Novel [Infographic]

Is it really possible to write a bestselling novel to order? To break down its constituent parts and use them as a kind of writing-a-blockbuster-by-numbers? After all, literature isn’t Lego, is it? Despite this, many people have tried. On the bookshelves, physical and digital, you’ll find endless books and courses on how to write a

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The Key to Writing Your Hero Meeting the Mentor

Great stories are filled with great characters. One of the most common characters in any story is the Mentor, a must-include character if you’re writing a Hero’s Journey story. In fact, the fourth step of the Hero’s Journey is Meeting the Mentor. Who is your hero’s Mentor, and how do they challenge them? As you

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Every Novel Scene Should Contain a Death

I hope that catchy title intrigues you. I’ll explain. I’ve launched my new online course Emotional Mastery for Fiction Writers, and it goes deep into both character and reader emotion. One very important emotional aspect of a novel is character change. But I bet you haven’t thought of change as a kind of death. Author

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Learning to Love the Edit

My name is Nicole Scarano, and I am an indie author with one novel published and the sequel due later this year. This fact is incredible to me, because eight years ago having a published book with my name on it was nothing more than a fantasy. I never thought it would happen, yet here I am

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Critique: 4 Ways to Write Gripping Internal Narrative

The old joke about how “the book was better than the movie” is a reflection of several attributes written fiction offers over visual fiction. One of the main ones is the ability to get inside characters’ heads via internal narrative. Narrative, by its very nature, is narrated by someone. Usually, that someone is the protagonist.

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Why Do So Many Bad Books Sell on Amazon?

Why do so many bad books sell on Amazon? This is the question many authors are asking these days. There are far more bad books than good books (which is always true of any entertainment field), but what’s different this time is that low-quality stories often seem to sell better than good stuff. “Low-quality” isn’t

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How to Make Your Plot a Powerful Thematic Metaphor

Your thematic metaphor is the unifying idea that emerges as the meaning behind your characters’ adventures in their story world. Once you have identified your story’s thematic principle, the real work begins. How will you seamlessly join theme to plot? Masterful authors create stories that, on their surfaces, may seem to be entirely plot—and yet

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Learn 5 Types of Character Arc at a Glance: The 2 Heroic Arcs (Part 1 of 2)

There are only two or three human stories, but they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they never happened.–Willa Cather The many different approaches to story theory break down the number of “human stories” into different categories. Perhaps there are just two—comedy and tragedy. Perhaps there are Vonnegut’s eight “shapes.” Today, I’m going

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