A 12-year-old boy who can’t speak wrote a book with his eyes

(CNN) Twelve-year-old Jonathan Bryan can’t verbally speak or physically write. He was born with severe cerebral palsy, has limited motion in his limbs and is in a wheelchair. For most of his life, Jonathan’s parents used nonverbal cues like a smile or a frown to communicate with him. Educators determined he had profound learning difficulties and never taught him to read or […]

Practical Writing Tips

I don’t like to share promos or ads. But this advice from Writers Life is pretty good. It matches a lot of what I’ve been telling my writers at the Agile Writer Workshop. While I don’t necessarily endorse the Writers Life products, I do like their advice. Caveat emptor… Practical Writing Tips You Can Actually Use 1. Say something; Think about […]

Evoking Emotion in Fiction: 7 Pragmatic Ways to Make Readers Give a Damn

In Writer’s Digest, author Dustin Grimmel gives these 7 ways to engage readers. Do you agree? Evoking Emotion #1: Positive moral judgments about the protagonist Evoking Emotion #2: A protagonist who wants something really badly Evoking Emotion #3: A protagonist who pursues their desires Evoking Emotion #4: A protagonist who never gives up Evoking Emotion #5: Characters who do the […]

Hollywood comes calling for self-published authors

Film and TV production companies are increasingly turning to self-published authors to pick up potential screen blockbusters. The latest indie writer to get a call from Hollywood is best-selling thriller author Mark Dawson. Advanced negotiations are taking place with a leading TV production company that wants to snap up his Beatrix Rose series, according to a report in The Guardian. […]

The Science of the Plot Twist

“A major part of the pleasure of plot twists, too, comes not from the shock of surprise, but from looking back at the early bits of the narrative in light of the twist. The most satisfying surprises get their power from giving us a fresh, better way of making sense of the material that came before. This is another opportunity […]

When Action Isn’t a Good Thing

“For example, we need to write a scene with two characters talking, but something should be happening besides dialogue, right? Enter props. We put them at a kitchen table and give them tea to pour into cups. We put them in a car where they can fiddle with the radio dial and glance in the rear-view mirror. We get them to […]

The Bar is Set Low – Very Low

I am lucky to coach some very talented new writers. They all come to me with an idea for a story and their main question is always the same: “Is this story any good?” The fact is that any story can use improvement. What I offer is structure: both in the form of the story and in getting it done. […]

The Art of Incubation

At Agile Writers we’ve been reading Sage Cohen’s book “Fierce on the Page.” Each week one of the writers will take the book home and read a chapter and digest it down to one page. Then, they return the next week and share what they learned and we talk about how it applies to our writing in general and what […]

Avatars: Your Ideal Reader

Recently at Agile Writers the topic of what is “allowed” in certain genres came up. In particular, a couple writers are working on Christian Inspirational fiction and wondered what words or topics were taboo. In that genre, readers are very sensitive to words that are perceived as “swear” words. Our own Cat Brennan related a story of how a Christian […]

Query Tips from an Agent

  Very few, if any, authors look forward to writing the dreaded query letter. And honestly, who can blame them? After spending countless hours alone and staring at a computer screen crafting what will eventually become your novel, your baby, you have to condense all of that hard work into just 3-5 paragraphs. You have just ONE PAGE to get […]