Category Archives: General Tips

The First Step In Writing ANY Novel…

Before you write your first chapter, ponder your opening sentence, or jot down a single word, there’s one step you should always do first, no matter your genre or style. First, the problem, then the solution: When you first come … Continue reading

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A Word About Inspiration for Writers

Inspiration can come from many sources: a conversation overheard at a coffee shop, a newspaper article, or a personal experience to name a few. And, inspiration can also take many forms: a snippet of dialogue, a bit of action, a … Continue reading

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Your Story as a Person

All too often, authors get mired in the details of a story, trying to cram everything in and make all the pieces fit.  Characters are then seen only as individuals, so they often unintentionally overlap each other’s dramatic functions. The … Continue reading

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Writing From Your Passionate Self

We all know that a story needs a sound structure. But no one reads a book or goes to a movie to enjoy a good structure. And no author writes because he or she is driven to create a great … Continue reading

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Finding Your Creative Time

By Melanie Anne Phillips You sit in your favorite writing chair, by the window, on the porch, or in the study. You wear your favorite tweed jacket with the leather elbow patches, or your blue jeans, or your “creative shoes.” … Continue reading

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The Creativity Two-Step

By Melanie Anne Phillips It is easier to come up with many ideas than it is to come up with one idea. Now that may sound counter-intuitive, but consider this… When you are working on a particular story and you … Continue reading

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Novelists: Don’t Hold Back!

By Melanie Anne Phillips Unlike screenplays, there are no budget constraints in a book. You can write, “The entire solar system exploded, planet at a time,” as easily as you can write, “a leaf fell from the tree.” Let you … Continue reading

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Back to Work, Writers!

BACK TO WORK, WRITERS! Yes, writing is work. Though sometimes in the thrill of inspiration the process can be an amusement park of experiences, more often it is frustration, drudgery and stress. Over the years I’ve found that most of … Continue reading

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Never Be Stuck for a Plot Again!

A writer asked today: Dear Melanie, Could you please tell me where can I find some material on western genre plot building. Let me make it much clearer. I have a character Marshal, A saloon girl, Rancher, Preacher, Blacksmith and … Continue reading

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Writing with Red Herrings

Excerpted from: 50 Sure-Fire Storytelling Tricks! By Melanie Anne Phillips Available in Paperback and for Kindle   The old expression, “A Red Herring,” means something that is intentionally misleading. In storytelling, a red herring is a scene, which is set up … Continue reading

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