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Pumping Up The Sagging Middle Part 2

Besides basic rules of good writing and strategic planning found in Part 1, other techniques to pump up the middle depends on the genre and book length, here are some of them. 1.  Replace Motivation Motivation is what influences a person to create a goal. What is their want or need? What causes the character […]


Don’t Make Their Lives Easy – by Gail Gaymer Martin

Too often authors make situations too easy for characters. They like the people they create, and just as they want happiness and success for their real life friends, they want the same for their characters. But a novel with easy to resolved problems is really a “why bother” story. Real life piles problems on people […]

Every Genre Needs. . .Suspense

There’s suspense, and then there’s suspense. We all expect it when we read a thriller, adventure or mystery, but what about family sagas, romance and coming of age? The truth is all novels need a form of suspense. Even romance, known for its happy ending, keeps readers turning pages to learn the heroine’s secret, understand […]

Conflict = Tension = Emotion – Part II

In Part I, I defined conflicts and described the kinds. As I said, conflict is the backbone of fiction, and understanding this important element helps the author become a better writer. Hopefully I have added a few new thoughts to this blog. Nature of Conflict 1. ComplexityConflict, especially internal conflict, is complex because it tests the […]

Conflict = Tension = Emotion – Part I

So many articles offer tips on creating conflict and talk about the kinds of conflict and why they’re important. The reason is simple. A novel is not a story when it lacks conflict because conflict breeds tension and tension is offers emotion in your novel which is a vital ingredient to a story that grabs […]

Part IV Suspense – Red Herrings

Red herring is a literary term to describe an author’s method of diverting the reader from the truth or a meaningful item. In suspense or mystery fiction, this is done by making an innocent character seem suspicious and thus drawing away attention from the true guilty party. This technique introduces one or more suspects or […]

Tension and Conflict Part 7 – Stretching Tension

You know how a rubber band works. You can pull it very taut so it will snap across a room if you let it go, or you can pull it only to stretch around an item. Tension in fiction is similar. It can be so taut the reader can’t stop reading, or it can be […]

Tension and Conflict Part 6 – Scene and Sequel Structure

Creating strong emotional tension is needed for conflict to be as effective as it can. As mentioned in a previous blog article on Tension and Conflict, conflict is the action and tension is the emotional response to that action. An author can enhance tension by creating effective pacing techniques. This has to do with a […]

Tension and Conflict Part 5 – Methods to Create Tension

Earlier I described the difference between conflict and tension. Conflict is the action of two opposing forces. It is the butting of heads between ideas, needs, desires and wants, or it can be a single individual wanting two opposing things. What makes conflict important is the tension it creates. Tension is the emotional response to […]

Tension and Conflict Part 4 – Mirco Tension

While conflict is action between people, ideas, or needs, tension is the response to that action. It is the emotion that drives the story. Tension shows urgency, requires choices, and leaves the reader with questions. Donald Maass in Fire In Fiction refers to Micro-Tension which is an inherent sense of tension built into the novel […]