Author Archives: hjw-admin

Watching For Writers 101: Flash Forwards

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I began the “Reading For Writers 101” blog series (for a full summary of posts, click here) because I believe writers can learn so much from reading books. Well, the same goes for watching television shows or films. Hence, this new series: Watching For Writers 101. Welcome! Today we’re going to learn how to effectively use […]


#WeekendCoffeeShare – The Month of New Beginnings

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If we were having coffee, I might actually be drinking coffee instead of tea because I need the extra boost after a hectic week! You sip your hot beverage of choice and look at me quizzically. What happened? You thought I was pretty much done the video game script and I’d be focusing on my […]


Deadlines: Helpful or Harmful?

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September is always a time for self-reflection. In a way, the start of the school year makes it feel like the end of the year, though not quite. I find myself thinking of the goals and deadlines I set for 2015. Back in January I wrote a post called The 7 Deadly Do’s and Don’ts of […]


5 Excuses to Protect Your Writing Time

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One of the benefits of being a freelance writer is making my own schedule, and having the flexibility to change that schedule if I want to. For instance, I am not a morning person, and in fact joked that I’m part vampire in this post here because I write best after sunset and terribly at sunrise. Luckily, as a freelancer, I […]


Audiobook Pitfall: Scene Breaks

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Since I’ve begun listening to audiobooks, I’ve noticed that not all books convert well to the audible format. So I started this little series: Audiobook Pitfalls. The sale of audiobooks is on the rise, and most new releases (not just bestsellers) are now made into audiobooks as well as e-books and print books, so it’s important […]


5 Reasons to Track Questions & Answers in Your Novel

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This week while flushing out my novel’s outline, I decided to track where I raised and answered questions in the story. Why? Because questions are crucial to a good story; they ensure it has enough intrigue and suspense to keep readers reading. Have you ever set down a book and not been compelled to pick […]


Audiobook Pitfall: Lack of Dialogue Tags + 1st Person POV

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I began listening to audiobooks a few months ago. Though if I’m honest, it all started with the SERIAL podcast. Unable to resist the hype, I jumped on that bandwagon and was not disappointed – great storytelling! After it was over, I was in the habit of listening to something while I did dishes every […]


Weekend Coffee Share – Bike Raving

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If we were having coffee, I’d lament that it is already August. How is that possible? Didn’t the summer just start? I seriously do not understand how time passes so fast. My mom used to say that time passes faster the older you get, but I didn’t really believe her until I hit my 30s. […]


How To Get Work as a Writer

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I have worked as a television screenwriter for most of my adult life, and currently I’m working as a video game writer. Some of WOS’s readers have asked me how to get work as a writer, and I was reluctant to write a post about that because it’s such an individual question. My story is […]


How To Write Unpredictable Stories

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When I read a book or watch a movie, I always try to figure out what is going to happen. For me, the most enjoyable stories keep me guessing right up to the end. The least enjoyable stories are the ones where I can predict the ending long before the finale. Now, you’re probably expecting […]


The Key to Writing 3-Dimensional Characters

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The most common advice I’ve heard for writing three-dimensional characters is to delve into their backstory, develop their personality profiles, and get to know them as if they are alive and kicking right beside you. Common wisdom seems to support that if the author knows their characters inside and out, then said characters will be […]


5 Tests for Writing Multiple POVs

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Stories with multiple POVs are difficult to write. I’ve read more books that attempted this technique and failed than books where multiple POVs not only worked but improved the story. But recently I began reading Neal Shusterman’s Unwind series and OH MY GOSH GUYS the first two books blew my mind with how well the […]


Screenplays vs Game Scripts: 5 Differences

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Recently I was hired to write a video game script. I’ve never written for games, but both the producer and I thought my screenwriting skills would translate well since each medium uses dialogue as a key storytelling device. However, except for dialogue skills, I found out that game writing is pretty much the opposite of […]


Test Those Scene Connections – But, Therefore & Then

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As I build my outline, I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes a good scene, and that led to these posts: Test That Scene – Is It Essential or Filler? and Test That Scene – Cut or Revise? But what about stringing those scenes together? Is there a test for that? Good news: there is! Click here to […]


Test That Scene – Cut or Revise?

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A month ago I wrote a post called Test That Scene – Is It Essential or Filler? The basics of it are this: No Filler Test Question #1 – If deleted, will the reader still be able to follow the story? If yes, you’ve got filler! Question #2 – What is different by the end of this scene? If nothing, it’s […]


Reading for Writers 101 Roundup

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I created the Reading for Writers 101 series because I believe reading critically is an essential component of learning writing craft. Plus the series gives me an outlet to not only express my frustration when I’m disappointed with books (which I never name because, you know, niceness), but to learn from them. And if I’m […]


Two Components of a Great Opening Sentence

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Writers put a lot of pressure on themselves regarding the first line of a story. I don’t know if it was always this way, but in our fast-paced world there is this expectation that writers must hook readers with just one sentence. Otherwise, they will pick up the next book on the shelf! Whether this […]


Test That Scene – Is it Essential or Filler?

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When I plot a story, I tend to think in terms of action. This is probably due to my screenwriter training. In a screenplay all you have to work with is action and dialogue. And in an outline, where you don’t write dialogue, all you have is action. So naturally, when I outline, I follow […]


Is Your Idea a Short Story or Novel?

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Not counting my childhood Young Authors books (for a hilarious selection of those click here), I have written only one short story: a grim ghost tale featured in Pen & Muse’s Haunted House showcase. However, I’ve written many television episodes, which resemble short stories in length and substance. Writing a novel, by comparison, is like crafting a […]


Prime Inner Conflict (aka Conflicting Wants)

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Earlier this year I wrote a post about Internal Conflict based on a character’s flaws, fears and morality. Like External Conflict, Internal Conflict can be numerous and varied. The only rule is it all must get in the way of the hero achieving his/her goal. If it doesn’t, you don’t have conflict, just baggage. Then there is what […]