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All posts in category Creative Writing Tips

The Process of Writing a New York Times Bestseller in One Month (Part 2 of 2)

  In my last post I told you the ingredients Mark Divine needed to cook up a New York Times Bestseller.  If you haven’t already, notice that none of those things have anything to do with actual writing.  Once he had hired me to be his writing coach, we had to produce an entire book […]

A 5-minute Video Narrative Writing Lesson

It’s only basketball commentary.  But watch this video from Henry Abbott and TruHoopTV.  It’s a 5-minute writing lesson that will make you look like a master.  Notice how the words and video dance over a melancholy music bed:     “Artistry”, “Showtime”, “…Magician with the ball”, “…Cast his Spell”.  These unexpected, vivid words lock your […]

Tell me How to Begin

What do I want to write about?  How do I begin??  Why won’t anything come into my mind???   Calm down.  Those are three thoughts that just popped into your mind.  Write them down on a piece of paper, or type them on your computer.   Which thoughts?    The “What do I…” “How do […]

Writing Dialogue for Dummies

  “Gimme yours.”   “No.”   “I said, give it to me.”   “Uh-uh.”   “I’m gonna tell your mom if you don’t.”   “Fine.”   “I WANT YOUR KIT KAT!!!  GIMME IT NOW, YOU…”   Dialogue.  Makes you feel characters.  Your imagination hostage to the writer’s will.  Sights, smells and scenery all beam vivid […]

The Details are Juicy…

“Kevin screeched out of his driveway and roared down Devers Avenue.  Her words still stung his ears.  “Why should I tell you my feelings?  You don’t care.  You can’t even remember to take the garbage out on Tuesdays.”  Shannon had been making accusations a lot since her sister’s divorce became final last Tuesday.  Living 3 […]

Writing Lame Introductions…

That’s what you usually do.  Of course, it’s not your fault (until now).  School trained you to start with mind-numbing generalities when you wrote essays.  Sentences like “Everyone in the world needs to breathe.”  Or “We all have to die sometime.”   This advice told you to start with a surprising fact, definition or a quote.  […]

Where Stories of Good Companies Begin

I’m standing on so many shoulders I can’t count them. My parents. My teachers. My brother and sisters. My pastors, youth leaders, bosses, wife, God, smart people like Roy Williams and Tim Miles, and everyone who’s come before them. So many have given the wisdom of their experience to me so that I don’t make […]

What Are You Against?

“Bieber-free, Gaga-free, and your no Nickelback guarantee.”   That’s the line that changed the fortunes of Live 88.5FM, an alternative radio station in Ottawa, Canada.  In one year their audience numbers shot up 29%, and their revenue increased 22%.  And all they changed was the message.  Saying what you won’t do makes a difference.  So why […]

Harnessing the Power of What You Don’t Say

They’re watching… It freaks me out when I see my face on a computer screen… in Sheffield, England… surrounded by attentive people… in the dark.   The realities of YouTube don’t really sink in until you find out that people across the ocean pay attention to what you have to say.  When they do what […]

A Cure for the Fear of Your Writing Students

She tiptoes to the edge of the cliff, breathing heavily.  Her friends watch in horror, shaking with the thought that they’ll be next.  Then she reads, words coming haltingly at first, but rushing out in torrents by the time she finishes.  She looks at the red-haired instructor, expecting his disapproval…   Every writing workshop I […]