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5 More Ways to “Save the Cat”

“Why is it called Save the Cat!?” A question I’ve been getting a lot since my novel-writing guide, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel, was first published back in 2018. It’s often a confusing title because the term, “Save the Cat!” actually has very little to do with the core of the book, which is  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery


How to Build a “Frankenstein” Revision

Revising can be messy. As someone who thrives on order and checklists and clean documents, unmarked documents, I’ve never liked how messy the revision process can feel. You’ve got tracked changes turning your pages into Jackson Pollack painting, comments cluttering up the margins, unfinished subplots dangling about, and torn-apart scenes strewn through your manuscript like  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery

Where Do Flashbacks and Backstory Belong in the Save the Cat! Beat Sheet?

Flashbacks and backstory can be extremely useful storytelling devices that give your reader important information about the history of the world, a character’s past, and why certain characters behave a certain way. When used sparingly and strategically, backstory can provide context and clarity and even create empathy for unlikeable characters. But where do you do  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery






What Every First Page Must Have

Your novel’s first page is like the first 5 minutes of a blind date. Be honest, you can usually tell within the first five minutes whether or not there’s going to be a second date. Just like readers can tell by the end of the first page whether or not they’re going to stick around  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery



NaNoWriMo Starter Beat Sheet

It’s officially NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where writers across the globe challenge themselves to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November.  To help you smash through that 50k word mark, I’m sharing with you my NaNoWriMo Starter Beat Sheet. What’s a “starter beat sheet?” Well, think of it as a foundation  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery



Brainstorm Dynamic Characters in a Flash

Sometimes a character will pop into your head fully formed, like you’ve been friends forever and you know everything about them and can finish each other’s sentences. But sometimes–most times, I’d say–you start with a glimpse of a character. A piece of dialogue. A specific reaction. Or another sliver of information that’s just one facet  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery

Make Your Dialogue Work For You

Dialogue can make or break a story. Strong dialogue can lift your story to new heights, while weak dialogue can turn a reader off. The key to writing strong dialogue is to think of it as another extension of your character development. Your dialogue is just another way you reveal your characters to the reader.  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery

How to Make Your Readers Feel Smart

  “Show, don’t tell” is one of those pieces of writing advice you hear over and over again without a lot of concrete guidance on what it is and how to implement it. Which is why, for this month’s writing tip, I thought I’d present a fun writing challenge that will not only help you understand what “show, don’t tell”  … Read more


Tips for Writers Writing Mastery