Category Archives: General Tips

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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Using Index Cards for Your Story

Excerpted from: 50 Sure-Fire Storytelling Tricks! By Melanie Anne Phillips Available in Paperback and for Kindle   Index cards (3×5 or 5×7 in size) are often used by screenwriters to plan out the sequence of events in their stories. Usually, a … Continue reading

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Writing Tip: Keep a Creative Log!

One of the biggest differences between a pedestrian novel and a riveting one are the clever little quips, concepts, snippets of dialog, and fresh metaphors. But coming up with this material on the fly is a difficult chore, and sometimes … Continue reading

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Step Back

Although it is important to work on the particulars of your story you can lose track of the big picture in doing so exclusively. Step back from time to time to take in your story as a whole.  See it … Continue reading

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Overcoming Habits

Useful for characters, writers and anyone: It is extremely difficult to overcome a habit in one’s mind before one acts upon it. Those who try to change engage in a terrible inner fight in the internal realm. Further, whenever one … Continue reading

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