Author Archives: hjw-admin

Masterplots Theater – Week 3 of the #AtoZChallenge

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It’s week 3 of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. Here are my MASTERPLOTS THEATER contributions at WriteOnSisters.com… N is for Nemesis Even if you’re not writing a full-fledged rivalry story, mastering the details of the Nemesis plot will strengthen any hero-villain relationship. P is for Pursuit Commonly called the Chase Plot, we examine how to base an entire story […]


Masterplots Theater – Week 2 of the #AtoZChallenge

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It’s week 2 of the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. Here are my MASTERPLOTS THEATER contributions at WriteOnSisters.com… H is for Happily-Ever-After This masterplot isn’t necessarily a Love Story; it just means the ending is happy! Check out this post to see what I mean. J is for Journal  Think your teen diaries would make a great novel? […]


Masterplots Theater – Week 1 of the #AtoZChallenge

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Hi all! So I’m super busy over at WriteOnSisters.com writing three posts a week for the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. Here are my contributions thus far: B is for Buddy Love Perhaps you’ve been contemplating a story idea that has two compelling lead characters and can’t decide which is the true hero. Well, I […]


#AtoZChallenge : Productivity + Theme Reveal

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The April Blogging From A to Z Challenge is upon us, and for the third consecutive year, the Write On Sisters are doing it! In 2014 we didn’t have a theme; it was kind of a free-for-all about writing between four bloggers. In 2015 Robin and I focused our efforts on writing craft with the “3, […]


A Screenwriter Gets Schooled in Novel Writing

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Today I’m guest posting on fellow writer Sara Letourneau’s blog about the similarities and differences between screenwriting and novel writing… I started my writing career as a television screenwriter, but my first love has always been books. So, after screenwriting for what seemed like an eternity to my young self (though I’d only been making […]


1 Key Question for Worldbuilding (+ A Handy Checklist)

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I’m a newbie to hardcore worldbuilding. Up until recently, I’d only developed stories that took place in the real world. I may have put fantastical creatures in the stories, but the setting was Earth as we know it. Now I’m writing a novel that takes place 100 years in the future, still on Earth, but it […]


Character Development: The Reaction Chart

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Creating characters to populate your novel or screenplay is a lot of fun. You get to devise different backgrounds and opinions and alliances and secrets and all kinds of interesting stuff that brings the cast to life. But you can have the most detailed character sketches and richly drawn cast ever, and your story could […]


The Influence of Books on YAs

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Have you heard of The Unslut Project? It began with Emily Linden sharing her middle school diaries online in a Tumblr page. It’s now a memoir and a documentary. Unslut is the all-too-common story of a preteen girl who was slut shamed and bullied. Lindin shared her story to reassure other girls suffering from sexual bullying that they’re not alone […]


Writers: Should You Quit Your Day Job?

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This question has been on my mind a lot considering that over the past year I’ve gone from no day job to two concurrent part-time jobs. How much to work while pursuing a creative dream is a common dilemma. There’s no easy answer and the approach you take depends on your writing habits and where you’re […]


Resolutions & Goals: 5 Tips to Make Them Stick

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Writers are notorious for setting ambitious new year’s resolutions and goals, then beating themselves up for not achieving them. At least that’s what I’ve done the last few years. The result? Around this calendar milestone I always feel like a failure, despite the things I managed to accomplish. But no more! I’ve come up with 5 tips […]


Accidental Outdated Slang in YA

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When it comes to writing for teenagers, the general rule regarding language is this: Don’t use slang in your YA novel. I abide by this rule, yet it’s come to my attention that I may be using slang accidentally! WTF? Read the post on WriteOnSisters.com to find out what happened.


How To Handle Feedback: 6 Do’s & Don’ts

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It’s another Archive Revive because I just got a new writing gig and am super busy! Currently, I’m sifting through feedback from the clients, so this re-post is appropriate… Over the last 15 years, I’ve had lots of opportunities to learn how to deal with script notes, whether from friends, teachers, screenwriters, broadcasters, producers or […]


Results of a Slow Writer’s First NaNoWriMo

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This year was my first participating in the legendary National Novel Writing Month. I’m a slow writer and never felt up for the challenge, but 2015 is apparently “The Year Heather Faces Intimidating Challenges,” so I gave it a go. I even made a plan: A Slow Writer’s Scheme to Win NaNoWriMo. So how’d I fare? […]


Mushy Middle Writing Tips For NaNoWriMo

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Hey NaNaWriMo writers! How’s it going? It’s mid-November and that means you’re deep in Act II and might be encountering some mushy middle difficulties. So here are some tips to get you through… Click here to read the full post on WriteOnSisters.com


Character Development: The Interaction Chart

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Last week I shared Ten Questions To Ask Your Characters to make sure the supporting cast is as well-rounded as the protagonist. But that’s just step one to developing a novel’s cast. Now that we know who everyone is, what they want, and what their role is in the story, it’s time to figure out how they […]


Top Ten Things Writers Should Ask Their Characters

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A week before NaNoWriMo began, I realized I didn’t know my supporting characters. Whoops! I had spent so much time figuring out my plot based on my heroine’s goal that I had neglected all the other characters, of which there are many because I’m writing a horror and a body count is required! But I […]


Reading for Writers 101: Resolving a Disconnect Between Show & Tell

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Sometimes when I’m reading a book, a scene takes me right out of the story because I don’t “buy” it. It’s not that what is taking place is completely implausible, it’s that the writer has not convinced me of its truth. I have faith that a skilled writer can make a reader believe anything. The […]


A Slow Writer’s Scheme to Win NaNoWriMo

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I’ve just signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time EVER. As a hardcore plotter, I’ve never felt ready to participate. I can’t even fathom writing 50,000 words of prose without a solid outline. Plus, I’m not a fast writer. My inner editor and I are a team, not enemies, and I like it that […]


The Inciting Incident: Problem vs Opportunity

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I confess I’m having trouble with my Act I. This is unusual for me. Typically I find setting up the story the easy part compared to Act II & III. So what’s wrong? After picking my first half dozen scenes apart and rewriting them multiple times, the problem finally became clear: The Inciting Incident lacks […]


What Gymnastics Taught Me About Writing

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It’s Archive Revive Day! I’m swamped with gymnastics coach training this month, so this re-post is appropriate… I had two childhood dreams – be a novelist and be a gymnast. I was a strange juxtaposition of sedentary nerd kid lying on the couch reading for hours, and spastic athletic kid jumping around the backyard practicing […]