Tag Archives: writing tools

Should You Write Over the Summer, or Take a Break?

Some writers may be looking to take the next few months off from writing or shift focus to other writerly tasks. Others have no such plans and will be full steam ahead as usual.

I want to make room to enjoy summer, but I’ll still be working, balancing writing and research with the other things on my plate, and frankly, I’m good with that. I’m the type of person who needs to know I’m furthering the ball when it comes to my goals, even if it’s at a slower pace.

Writing over the summer is glorious because…

We can move our office wherever we want. I love being able to take my laptop outside and work on the sun-dappled balcony in the morning, or pull a deck chair into the shade during the afternoon. Sometimes I decide it’s a take-your-adult-beverage-to-work-day, because why not? Summer!

We can tap into greater creativity. Writing outside, or even with just the windows open, brings us birdsong, the shush of leaves, and perfumed air of flowers and greenery. Color is everywhere, too, visual reminders that everything is growing, coming into its own, just as we are with each word we write.

We can take our stories on the road. Is there anything better than taking a notebook on a walk, finding a quiet park or place along the river, and just letting our imagination flow? Getting out from the desk is a powerful way to reconnect with creativity and spontaneity (and it keeps us from losing hours to scrolling tiktok videos).

We have more energy. Summer tends to mean less activities and a slower pace as schools close and people at work rotate through holidays and vacations. With less pressure in these areas, we have more time for ourselves, and more mental energy for our books.

A break from writing can be beneficial because…

Life can be stressful, and sometimes we just need a break. Between work, family, social commitments, and unexpected life hurdles, sometimes the last thing we need is to fill a gap of time with more of anything. It’s okay to take time for yourself, and you shouldn’t feel guilty about not writing, especially if you are a bit burned out.

You just wrapped up something big, and need rest. Last year, my life was nuts. In a span of three months, both my children were married, I moved, and my husband was admitted for major surgery. With so many big life events happening all at once, I needed some downtime in the worst way, so I took it without regret.

You’re struggling with Writer’s Block. When retrieving words seems impossible, sometimes you need to keep trying, but other times, stepping back is the better choice. The dreaded block often happens because the creative well is empty, meaning it needs to be refilled. Read, get out in nature, watch movies, do art, bake, and do all the things that tend to make you feel creative and feed your imagination. When you are itching to get back to writing, you’ll know.

Or…strike a balance!

Few things are all-or-nothing, including your summer writing (or not-writing) strategy. If you have visitors to prep for, weekend camping trips, or this is the year you renovate the yard, it might be difficult to work on your novel with regularity. But if you’re like me and get a bit squidgy when you feel as if you aren’t furthering your writing goals, look for middle ground. One way might be to choose bite-sized tasks over a steady word count.

Think about where you are now, and where you want to be. Make a list of things that you need to know to have a clearer picture of your path forward. Do you need to research publishing options? Get a query letter & list of agents ready to go? Do you need to find a course to help you market, or create a shortlist of reputable freelance editors? Whatever things you believe should be in your headlights, make a list. Order it so what you need to get started on first is at the top.

Do some research. Being a writer means there’s always more for us to learn. Maybe it’s time to research website hosting, play with design tools so you’ll be able to create promotional materials down the road, or find answers to your publishing questions. Summer is a great time to visit new sites, test tools, and find resources that can help you take the next step.

Plan a new story. Summer is the BEST time to dream up new characters, outline a story, or build a fictional world. These are writing bits that are fun, creative, and perfect for smaller pockets of time. Being able to mull everything over, and do some of the important planning, can put you in a great place when it’s time to start writing!

You even have the time and space to decide the best way for your story to start. Having that first scene clear in your mind can make it so much easier to get going when it’s time to write it.


Source: writershelpingwriters.net

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

What Are Your Protagonist’s Flaws?

The most relatable characters are ones who mirror real people, meaning they are complex individuals with a blend of strengths, failings, attributes, and flaws. Of these four, flaws are often the most difficult to figure out, because knowing which negative traits will emerge in someone means exploring their past to understand who negatively influenced them and what painful experiences they went through. It also means digging up unresolved emotional wounds which have left dysfunction and fear in their wake.

Flaws, or negative traits as they’re also called, are unusual in that the person who has them probably doesn’t view them as dysfunctional and instead believes these traits are helpful and necessary. Why? Because these traits are very good at creating space around your character. And when your character goes through life afraid of being hurt again, keeping people and experiences distant when they seem like they could lead somewhere painful is exactly what your character will want to do.

So, what does this look like?

Let’s take a character who dropped the ball in the past. He was babysitting his nephew, feeding him in the high chair, and the phone rings. He goes to retrieve the phone from his jacket pocket in the other room, and a scream sounds from behind him. His nephew wriggled free from the chair and fell, breaking his arm.

Mom and dad are alerted, and they are not happy.

Moving forward, our character, once the brother who always helped out, stepped up, and volunteered, becomes the guy who shows up late, loses or breaks things, and is always “busy” when asked. What happened? What caused this change?

Easy, that situation with his nephew, and the fallout that came after for not being there when he should have been.

By becoming irresponsible, unreliable, and self-absorbed, what are the chances someone will ask him to take on a big responsibility again? Pretty low. And as long as he’s never the one who has to come through, he’ll never have a chance to fail and disappoint like he did when he was caring for his nephew.

Logically, he was only out of the kitchen for a moment, and whether it were him or the child’s parent, probably the same thing would have happened. But when a person fails, they often take it to heart, blame themselves, and don’t ever want to be put in that same situation (because they’re sure they’ll only screw up). Adopting a character flaw or two will ensure he’s never going to have to worry about dropping the ball again.

Well, heck, that’s great right? No, not at all. Because while his flaws will keep people from requesting he be responsible in some way, he’s also denying himself the chance to be responsible and have a better outcome, which leads to growth and being able to let go of the past. It may also cause friction in his relationship, and even for him to not be there for others when he really wants to be, all because he’s too scared of making a mistake again.

Flaws are normal and natural. We all have them, and so will a character. And in order for them to solve their big story problems and succeed, they will need to examine what’s holding them back…their flaws, and the fears that caused them. So don’t be afraid of giving your character some flaws. Remember, the most relatable characters are those who think, act, and behave just like real people…and that means they’ll be far from perfect.

Now, some writers tend to rush character development in their eagerness to get words on the page, and randomly assign certain flaws without thinking about why they might be there. Unless these aspects of a character’s personality are fleshed out down the road, a character can feel like they lack depth. So make sure you know the “why” behind a flaw…it will help you understand what’s holding them back in the story, how they need to grow, and will point you toward conflict that will trigger them in negatives ways so they become more self-aware. After all, your character won’t realize his negative traits are a problem until failure because of them is staring him in the face.

How do we decide which flaws are right for a character?

1) Make Friends with the Character’s Backstory
Backstory gets a bad rap, but the truth is, we need to know it. Understanding a character’s past and what events shaped them is critical to understanding who they are. So brainstorm your character’s backstory, thinking about who and what influenced them, and what difficult experiences they went through that soured their view in some way, damaged their self-esteem, and cause them to avoid certain people and situations. This isn’t so that you can dump a bunch of flashbacks and info-heavy passages into your story to “explain” the source of a flaw. Rather, this information is for you as the author so you better understand what motivates your character, what he fears, and how his goal will be impossible to achieve until he sheds his flawed thinking and behaviors.

2) Poke Your Character’s Wounds
Past hurts leave a mark. Characters who have experienced emotional pain are not eager to do so again, which is why flaws form to “protect” from future hurt. A man who loses his wife to an unfortunate infection picked up during a hospital stay is likely have biases toward the medical system. He may grow stubborn and mistrustful, refusing to see a doctor when he grows sick, or seek medical treatment when he knows something is deeply wrong.

This wounding event (his wife’s death) changed him, affected his judgement, and now is making him risk his own health. Had his wife survived, these changes would not have taken place. Knowing your character’s wounds will help you understand how flaws form in the hopes that the character can protect himself from being hurt again.

3) Undermine Your Character’s Efforts
In every story, there is a goal: the character wants to achieve something, and hopefully whatever it is will be an uphill battle. To ensure it is, think about what positive traits will help them achieve this goal, how you can position the character for success. Then brainstorm flaws that will work against them, making it harder. This will help them start to see how their own flaws are getting in the way and sabotaging their progress.

4) Look for Friction Opportunities
No character is an island, and so there will be others who interact with them or try to help in the story. Maybe your character has certain flaws that will irritate other people and cause friction. Relationships can become giant stumbling blocks, especially for a character who wants connection or really needs help but has a hard time admitting it. Make them see how the path to smooth out friendships and interactions is to let go of traits that harm, not help.

5) Mine from Real Life
We all have flaws based on our own experiences, as do all the people around us. Some are small, minor things, others are more major and create big stumbling blocks as we go through life. Flaws are often blind spots, because the person who has them doesn’t see them as a bad thing, just that they have reasons for acting or thinking a certain way, meaning it’s okay. But whenever things don’t go well and we’re frustrated, there’s a good chance one of our flaws is getting in the way.

So, if you’re feeling brave, look within and find the bits of yourself that may not cast you in the best light. Do you get impatient easily? Do you feel like you always have to be in control? Are you sometimes a bit rude, quick to judge, or you make excuses to get out of responsibilities? Thinking about situations where our own behaviors crop up and cause trouble can help us write our character’s flaws more authentically.


Source: writershelpingwriters.net

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to write a crime story?

Writing a crime story is a challenging task that requires a lot of research, planning, and creativity. Whether you are an aspiring writer or a seasoned author, crafting a compelling and suspenseful crime story is no easy feat. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and tricks on how to write a crime story that will captivate your readers and keep them on the edge of their seats.

  1. Choose a compelling premise

The first step in writing a crime story is to come up with a compelling premise. This premise should be intriguing enough to make your readers want to keep reading. Consider starting with a “what if” scenario. For example, what if a wealthy businessman is found dead in his office, and all of his employees have a motive for murder? Or, what if a serial killer is on the loose, and the only person who can catch them is a detective with a troubled past?

  1. Develop your characters

Your characters are the heart and soul of your crime story. To make your readers care about what happens to them, you need to develop them into three-dimensional, relatable characters. Each character should have their own backstory, motivation, and personality. Consider giving your protagonist a flaw or weakness that they must overcome to solve the crime.

  1. Research, research, research

Crime stories are often based on real-life events, so it’s important to do your research. Make sure you understand the legal and procedural aspects of the crime you are writing about. This includes police procedure, forensic science, and legal terminology. You want your crime story to be as accurate as possible to add to its credibility.

  1. Create a compelling plot

A crime story needs to have a well-crafted plot that keeps the reader engaged. This means that you need to have a clear beginning, middle, and end. The beginning should establish the crime and introduce the characters. The middle should focus on the investigation and the twists and turns that come with it. The end should reveal the culprit and tie up any loose ends.

  1. Build suspense and tension

A good crime story needs to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. To do this, you need to build suspense and tension throughout the story. You can do this by adding twists and turns, creating cliffhangers at the end of chapters, and making your readers question the motives of your characters.

  1. Edit and revise

Once you have finished your first draft, it’s important to edit and revise your work. Look for inconsistencies in your plot and characters, and make sure everything ties together in a logical and satisfying way. Consider seeking feedback from beta readers or hiring an editor to help you polish your work.

In conclusion, writing a crime story takes time, effort, and dedication. By following these tips, you can create a compelling and suspenseful crime story that will keep your readers engaged until the very end. Remember to choose a compelling premise, develop your characters, research your subject matter, create a well-crafted plot, build suspense and tension, and edit and revise your work. With these tools at your disposal, you can write a crime story that will leave your readers wanting more.

By Rima

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to write a perfect love story?

Love stories have been around for centuries and have captivated readers of all ages. They are stories that evoke strong emotions, and if written well, can leave a lasting impact on the reader. If you have ever thought about writing a love story, then you are in the right place. In this blog, I will provide you with some tips on how to write a perfect love story that will leave your readers swooning.

  1. Develop your characters

Before you start writing your love story, you need to have well-developed characters. This means creating characters with unique personalities, backgrounds, and motivations. Your characters should be relatable, flawed, and have something that makes them stand out. Give them depth and complexity so that your readers can connect with them on a deeper level.

  1. Create a compelling plot

Your plot is the backbone of your love story. It should be compelling and keep the readers engaged from beginning to end. A good love story should have ups and downs, obstacles, and conflicts. These obstacles and conflicts can come in many forms such as misunderstandings, cultural differences, societal pressure, or even external events such as war or natural disasters. These conflicts can create tension and add depth to your story.

  1. Show, don’t tell

One of the most common mistakes writers make when writing love stories is telling the reader how the characters feel instead of showing it. It’s important to remember that love is an emotion, and emotions are best shown through actions, dialogue, and body language. Don’t tell the reader that the character is in love, show it through their actions and interactions with the other characters.

  1. Dialogue

Dialogue is an important part of any story, but it is especially important in a love story. Dialogue can reveal a lot about the characters, their thoughts, and their emotions. It’s important to make your dialogue sound natural and authentic to the characters. Avoid using cliches and cheesy lines that can make the dialogue feel forced and unrealistic.

  1. Use sensory details

Sensory details can bring your story to life and create a more immersive experience for the reader. Use sensory details to describe the setting, the characters, and the emotions. This will allow the reader to imagine the scene in their mind and feel like they are a part of the story.

  1. Avoid cliches

Love stories are notorious for being full of cliches. While some cliches can be effective when used sparingly, it’s important to avoid relying on them too heavily. Be original and try to come up with unique and creative ways to tell your story.

  1. Have a satisfying ending

Your love story should have a satisfying ending. This doesn’t necessarily mean a happy ending, but it should be an ending that feels earned and believable. Your characters should have gone through a journey, and their growth and development should be reflected in the ending.

In conclusion, writing a perfect love story is not an easy task, but it is possible. By developing your characters, creating a compelling plot, showing instead of telling, using authentic dialogue, using sensory details, avoiding cliches, and having a satisfying ending, you can create a love story that will leave your readers feeling fulfilled and happy. Good luck with your writing!

By Rima

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

Does Your Story Need a Hit of Organic Conflict? Look to Your Setting.

Every writer’s mission is to pen a story that draws readers in, offering familiarity when it comes to certain genre expectations while also delivering something fresh so to be distinctive and memorable. This is how to cultivate a loyal–and, fingers crossed, rabidly obsessed–reading audience.

But heck, there’s a lot of stories out there. And didn’t someone say there’s only so many plot forms to choose from? Is “fresh” even possible?


When you know where to look, you can find a kaleidoscope of unique ideas and apply them to any type of story to transform it.

 A Story’s Secret Weapon: Conflict

One of the easiest ways to offer that thrill of “newness” for readers is to activate the power of conflict. In fiction, it is the crucible that tests, bruises, and shapes our characters. Externally, it pushes the plot onward by supplying the resistance needed to force characters to scrutinize their world, make choices, and take action to get what they want. Internally, conflict generates a tug-of-war between the character’s fears, beliefs, needs, values, and desires. Ultimately, it forces them to choose between an old, antiquated way of thinking and doing, or a new, evolved way of being, because only one will help them get what they want.

Conflict touches everything: plot, characters, arc, pacing, tension, emotion, etc. 

No matter the genre or the type of plot, conflict allows you to make a storyline fresh. The scenarios you choose can be adapted to your character, their circumstances, and the world where everything is taking place, personalizing the experience for readers and drawing them in closer to the characters they care about.  

The other beautiful thing about conflict is how you can find it anywhere: the character’s career, relationships, duties, etc., or it can come from adversaries, nature, the supernatural, or even from within themselves. And that’s just to start.

But no matter where your character is and what is happening, there’s one eternal source for conflict that can always lead you to a complication, obstacle, or blocker to clash with your character’s goals: the setting. 

Maximize a Scene’s ‘Where’

The location of each scene contains inherent dangers and risks, meaning you can mine those to create problems and remind the character of the cost of failure. Drawing conflict from your setting also gives it a greater role in the story. Rather than be a “stage” for action to unfold, your setting becomes a participant.

Here are some things to keep in mind to draw the very best conflict from your setting, making important story moments more intense, and offering that fresh gauntlet of challenges for your character to navigate.

Choose Settings Thoughtfully

Some setting choices are obvious. If you need your character’s car to break down in an isolated area, then a country road, campsite, or quarry might do the trick. But conflict very often happens in an ordinary setting, like a retail store or at home. In cases like these, when the story has dictated where events will occur, up the ante by choosing a specific location that holds emotional value for your character. Instead of choosing just any store, pick one with an emotional association—such as the place the character was caught shoplifting as a teenager. Good or bad, any setting that plays upon their emotional volatility will increase their chances of saying or doing something they’ll regret.

And while we’re talking about emotional value, don’t underestimate the symbolic weight of the objects within the scene. The backyard may be a generic place to have a difficult conversation but put the characters next to the treehouse their son used to play in before he got critically sick, and you’ve already heightened their emotions, potentially adding additional conflict to the scene.

Use Natural Obstacles

It’s also important to think about which settings contain infrastructure that will make the character’s goal harder to reach. Maybe it’s a ravine the protagonist will need to cross, a locked door to get through, or a security guard to evade. Remember that the character’s journey to achieve their goal shouldn’t be a walk in the park. Conflict is necessary in every scene, so choose settings that contain obstacles or provide poignant emotional roadblocks.

Think about how conflict naturally evolves. The character has an objective. They put together a plan and start pursuing that goal. Then complications come along and make things interesting. Luckily, there are lots of ways we can manipulate the setting to create additional conflict scenarios.

Level-Up Setting Conflict

Mess with the Weather. Unexpected showers, a heat wave, an icy driveway, the threat of a tornado—how can small and large weather considerations create problems for your character?

Take Away Transportation. No matter what setting you choose, your character will need to move from one place to another. What kind of transportation disruptions will make it harder for them to get where they need to go?

Add an Audience. Falling down in private is totally different than doing it in a crowd of people. Both may be physically painful, but the latter adds an element of emotional hardship. Who could you put in the environment as a witness to the character’s missteps or misfortune?

Trigger Sensitive Emotions. Conflict is easier to handle for an even-keeled, emotionally cool character. So use the setting to throw them off balance. If they’re struggling to put food on the table, place them in a locale where wealthy characters are eating lavishly and throwing away leftovers. Likewise, a character with daddy issues can be triggered in an environment that highlights healthy and loving father-daughter relationships. So when you’re planning the setting for a scene, ask yourself: What could I add specifically for my character in this situation that will elevate their emotions?  

Exploit What They Don’t Have. If your character doesn’t have a light source, place them in a dark place, like a cave or deserted subway tunnel. No weapon? Surround them with physical threats. If they’re lacking something vital, capitalize on that.

Make Them Uncomfortable. Vulnerability sets the character on edge and elevates their emotional state. So whenever you can, put the character in a location where they have no experience, don’t know the rules, or aren’t really suited to navigate it. This can work for small- or large-scale settings, from a character who has to traverse an alien planet to someone who’s averse to kids having to host a child’s party.

Use Symbolism. Nothing impedes progress like fear and self-doubt. Think about which symbols can be added to the environment to remind the character of an area of weakness, a past failure, a debilitating fear, or an unresolved wound.

Add a Ticking Clock. One sure-fire way to up the ante is to give the character a deadline. Instead of them having unlimited time to complete the goal, make them dependent upon elements within their environment, such as having to avoid rush-hour traffic, reach the bank by four p.m., or get home before sunset.

Setting-related conflict is fantastic in that it can be endlessly adapted, helping you keep the tension going in every scene no matter where your character is.


Source: writershelpingwriters.net

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

Creative Ways to Brainstorm Story Ideas

Inspiration is a fickle beast. She strikes at inopportune times (3 AM, anyone?) then disappears for months on end. She doesn’t call, she doesn’t write. Or maybe she treats you differently, pouring on so many ideas that you can’t tell the golden nuggets from the stinky ones.

Finding and prioritizing story options can be a frustrating process, but it’s easier if you approach it from the right angle. Here are a few possible starting points.

Start with Genre

What do you like to write? What do you like to read? Which kinds of stories are you passionate about? We know that emotions are transferable, from author to page to reader, so writing something that gets you excited pays off in dividends. 

Do you like fantasy? Which elements? Think dragons, portals, evil wizards, shapeshifters—then consider how those elements might be reimagined. 

Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonriders of Pern series gave us a whole new take on dragons, turning them from marauding villains into loving creatures that impress upon humans at birth and use their fiery powers for good. 

Then, twenty years after the first book was published, she released the dragons’ origin story and how humans first came to Pern. While the previous books were straight fantasy, this one was also science fiction, showing the settlers traveling to the new world and using their technology to establish communities and bioengineer full-blown dragons from foot-long fire lizards. Dragonsdawn is an innovative blending of the sci-fi and fantasy genres in a way that was new and entirely fresh.

So think of the genre you want to write, then tweak the standard conventions to create something new. Or blend your preferred genre with another one and see what ideas come to mind.

Start with Character

Everyone’s process is different. It’s one of the things I love about the writing community—the vast diversity of thought and method that can birth uncountable stories. Maybe you’re the kind of writer who’s drawn to characters. They come to you fully-formed, or you have an inkling of who they are before you have any idea what the story’s about.

If this is you, start by getting to know that character. If you have a good idea of their personality, dig into their backstory to see what could have happened to make them the way they are. If you already know about their troubled past, use that to figure out which positive attributes, flaws, fears, quirks, and habits they now exhibit. What inner need do they have (and why)? Which story goal might they embrace as a way of filling that void? 

Characters drive the story, so they can be a good jumping-off point for finding your next big idea.

Start with a Story Seed

But maybe it’s not characters that rev your engine. When I’m exploring a new project, I have no idea about the people involved. Instead, my stories typically start with a What if? question. What if a man abandoned his family to strike it rich in the California Gold Rush—what would happen to them? What if all the children under the age of 16 abruptly disappeared? What if someone’s sneezes transported them to weird new worlds?

If story elements, plotlines, and unusual events get your wheels turning, brainstorm those areas. If inspiration strikes when you’re neck-deep in research for your current story, write down those potential nuggets. Use generators to explore concepts you wouldn’t come up with on your own. Keep a journal of any possible seeds for future stories so you have options.

Start with a Logline

If you’ve got a vague idea of something you might want to write about, a great way to explore it is to create a logline—a one- or two-sentence pitch that explains what your story is about. Here’s an example you might recognize:

A small time boxer gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to fight the heavyweight champ in a bout in which he strives to go the distance for his self-respect.

Writing a logline for a story idea enables you to flesh it out and experiment with its basic elements. The process of test-driving your idea with different protagonists, goals, conflicts, and stakes can turn a boring or already-done concept into an entirely new one that you can’t wait to write.

BONUS TIP: For more information on how to write a logline, see these posts at Writers Helping Writers and Screencraft.

Start with GMC

Debra Dixon’s Goal, Motivation, and Conflict (affiliate link) teaches authors how to use these foundational elements to plan and enhance a story. But the same principles apply to fleshing out a story idea. If you’re thinking about a certain goal (it’s a story about someone who has to stop a killer/find their purpose/plan a wedding), play with various conflicts and motivations. Throw ideas into the hopper and see what pops out. Keep turning the handle to produce concept after concept until one of them strikes your fancy.

Listen, we all know the importance of writing what we’re excited about. Without that passion, writing becomes a slog and our stories end up partially finished on a back-up hard drive instead of filling people’s bookshelves. So when it comes to story ideas, let your imagination run riot. Consider all the options, no matter how far out they are or uncomfortable they make you feel. Don’t stop ’til you find the one that gets you going.

Then get going.


Source: writershelpingwriters.net

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

How to write a romantic thriller novel

Romantic thrillers are a popular genre in the world of literature, combining elements of suspense, danger, and romance to create a gripping and thrilling narrative. Writing a successful romantic thriller requires careful planning and a deep understanding of the genre. In this blog, we will explore some tips on how to write a romantic thriller novel.

  1. Develop your characters

The key to a successful romantic thriller is to create characters that readers care about. Develop your protagonist and love interest carefully, and make sure that their relationship is authentic and believable. Give them distinct personalities, strengths, and weaknesses that will help them face the challenges of the story.

  1. Create a compelling plot

A romantic thriller needs to have a gripping plot that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The plot should be full of twists and turns, with a balance between romance and suspense. Use foreshadowing to create tension and keep the reader engaged.

  1. Use the setting to enhance the story

The setting of a romantic thriller can add depth and dimension to the story. Whether it’s a bustling city or a remote wilderness, the setting can create a sense of danger and urgency. Use vivid descriptions to bring the setting to life and help readers feel like they are there.

  1. Balance romance and suspense

The balance between romance and suspense is crucial in a romantic thriller. Too much romance can detract from the suspense, while too much suspense can make the romance feel forced. Use pacing to balance the two elements, and make sure that the romance and suspense are interwoven.

  1. Add a twist

A good romantic thriller should have a twist that catches readers off guard. This could be a plot twist or a character twist, but it should be unexpected and add another layer of complexity to the story.

  1. Edit and revise

Once you have finished your first draft, it’s important to edit and revise your work. Look for areas where the pacing is off, where the characters need more depth, and where the plot needs to be tightened. Get feedback from beta readers and make changes accordingly.

In conclusion, writing a romantic thriller novel requires careful planning, a deep understanding of the genre, and attention to detail. By developing your characters, creating a compelling plot, using the setting to enhance the story, balancing romance and suspense, adding a twist, and editing and revising your work, you can create a gripping and thrilling romantic thriller that will keep readers turning the pages.

By Rima

Visit us at First Edition Design Publishing

Fear Thesaurus Entry: Hope

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. 

In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both character arc and the overall story.

This thesaurus explores the various fears that might be plaguing your character. Use it to understand and utilize fears to fully develop your characters and steer them through their story arc. Please note that this isn’t a self-diagnosis tool. Fears are common in the real world, and while we may at times share similar tendencies as characters, the entry below is for fiction writing purposes only.

Fear of Hope

Hope encourages people and characters to try new things, take on challenges, and believe that things will get better. But multiple disappointments and experiences can create a fear of hope, with the character being reluctant to look forward to anything. This fear can make it difficult for them to work toward improving their situation and could make optimism a thing of the past.

What It Looks Like
Being reconciled to the status quo
Not expecting circumstances to improve
Expressing skepticism when positive things happen: It’ll never last, etc.
Living for the moment; not planning for the future
Not having dreams or goals
Believing there is nothing to live or strive for
Avoiding challenges or risks that could improve the character’s life
Being cynical when others express hopefulness
Always expecting the worst
Downplaying their own abilities (since they haven’t helped in overcoming difficulties)
Speaking of the future with skepticism
Being skeptical of other people’s promises
Scorning people who are optimistic and upbeat

Common Internal Struggles
Wanting certain circumstances to be better but truly believing there’s nothing the character can do to change them
Being unable to move beyond past disappointments, no matter how much they want to
The mind always jumping to worst-case scenarios
Feeling helpless 
Sinking into apathy and depression
The character wanting to be honest about their feelings but knowing their pessimism and negativity are bringing other people down
Burying certain emotions as they arise (anticipation, excitement, etc.)

Flaws That May Emerge
Abrasive, Apathetic, Cynical, Defensive, Foolish, Impatient, Impulsive, Indecisive, Insecure, Martyr, Melodramatic, Nervous, Paranoid, Pessimistic, Timid, Withdrawn

Hindrances and Disruptions to the Character’s Life
Missing out on career opportunities because it would have been pointless to reach for them
Staying stuck in a dead-end, toxic, or unsafe situation because the character doesn’t believe there’s anything better for them
Being unable to pursue a dream that would provide fulfillment 
Building emotional walls in relationships to keep from experiencing disappointment
Never moving past their current state of disillusionment and cynicism
Other people pigeon-holing the character as negative or gloom-and-doom

Scenarios That Might Awaken This Fear
Wanting to take a step towards a dream, but there’s a risk of failure involved (submitting a manuscript to an editor, asking someone out, etc.)
A situation with high stakes being forced on the character (being sued, being falsely accused of a crime, etc.)
Working towards a goal and getting knocked down (trying to reconcile with someone who refused to forgive the character, having another miscarriage, etc.)
Hearing about a promising job opening or promotion opportunity
A friend or loved one breaking a promise
A promising relationship ending unexpectedly
Seeing world events go from bad to worse.


Source: writershelpingwriters.net

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Fear Thesaurus Entry: Being Labeled

Debilitating fears are a problem for everyone, an unfortunate part of the human experience. Whether they’re a result of learned behavior as a child, are related to a mental health condition, or stem from a past wounding event, these fears influence a character’s behaviors, habits, beliefs, and personality traits. The compulsion to avoid what they fear will drive characters away from certain people, events, and situations and hold them back in life. 

In your story, this primary fear (or group of fears) will constantly challenge the goal the character is pursuing, tempting them to retreat, settle, and give up on what they want most. Because this fear must be addressed for them to achieve success, balance, and fulfillment, it plays a pivotal part in both character arc and the overall story.

This thesaurus explores the various fears that might be plaguing your character. Use it to understand and utilize fears to fully develop your characters and steer them through their story arc. Please note that this isn’t a self-diagnosis tool. Fears are common in the real world, and while we may at times share similar tendencies as characters, the entry below is for fiction writing purposes only.

Fear of Being Labeled

The world is a confusing and uncertain place that’s easier to navigate when things make sense. This is one reason it’s natural for human beings to label the people around them. But no one wants to be labeled—told that they are a certain way or have to fit into a mold. This can be especially painful when the character doesn’t believe the label fits (whether it does or not). When this happens enough, it can create frustration, insecurity, and a fear that could go a number of directions: the character may hide the aspects of their identity that fit the label, act out against the accusation, or surround themselves with people like themselves to avoid anyone who might put them in a certain box.

What It Looks Like
The character mimicking their peers so they won’t appear to be different
Being extremely private
Giving vague answers when asked about themselves
Embracing hobbies or activities that don’t fit the stereotype
Changing personality traits or values that would put the character in that box
The character becoming what they’re accused of being (self-fulfilling prophecy)
Advocating for inclusion and against typecasting
Working very hard to disprove the stereotype
The character surrounding themselves with others who are just like them
Avoiding people who have attempted to label the character in the past
Avoiding situations where the label would be obvious—e.g., a student with a learning disability skipping or dropping out of school
Rejecting any medical or psychological testing that could result in a diagnosis 
Rebelling when someone tells the character they can’t or shouldn’t do something
Become defensive when someone suggests the character may be a certain way
Being aggressive or confrontational with someone who suggests the character might be a certain way
Being overly sensitive to even constructive or well-intentioned criticism

Common Internal Struggles
Keeping a learning disability, an illness, etc. secret despite knowing help is needed
Struggling with shame or guilt over the label
The character struggling to accept who they are
The character wanting to be true to themselves but feeling the need to change so they’ll fit in with others
Resenting what makes the character different, then feeling guilty about it
Feeling targeted 
Feeling misunderstood (if the character believes the label is unwarranted)
Suspecting the label is true but refusing to accept it
The character feeling isolated, as if they have no one they can be themselves with or talk to

Flaws That May Emerge
Abrasive, Childish, Confrontational, Defensive, Dishonest, Disrespectful, Evasive, Hostile, Hypocritical, Insecure, Jealous, Judgmental, Prejudiced, Reckless, Stubborn, Timid, Weak-Willed

Hindrances and Disruptions to the Character’s Life
Living with shame because of who or what they are
Changing to live up to others’ expectations 
The character living well below their full potential
Becoming prejudiced against the people who putting labels on the character
Living in denial about an accurate label and being unable to manage it or cope with it in a healthy way
Struggling in silence because the character is hiding certain aspects of who they are
Personal growth being stymied because of defensiveness and an inability to receive feedback
Living a double-life because certain aspects have to be kept private (practice a religion, pursue a relationship, etc.)

Scenarios That Might Awaken This Fear
A secret they’ve been hiding (about their gender identity, personal beliefs, mental health, etc.) being revealed
A tragedy occurring that could result in a new label for the character (losing a limb, developing a chronic illness, etc.)
Experiencing discrimination
The character’s child being labeled
A safe place or group of people being infiltrated by someone who would label the character
Seeing someone who shares a label with the character being misjudged, mistreated, or limited


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Where to Start a Story Edit

By Kristina Stanley and Lucy Cooke

Do you have a draft written but aren’t sure if there is a strong story in that draft?

In our book, Secrets to Editing Success, we go into great depth on how to perform a story edit—a structural edit—on any novel. We take the theory and show you the process to story edit.

We’re going to share some of our secrets here. And the first secret is how you know if there is a story in the draft.

The Most Important Question

Does the draft contain a story?

That’s a big one, and how do you answer it if you’ve just written that draft? And to go deeper, how do you answer it objectively?

First, You Perform a Story Test

What do we mean when we talk about having proof that there is a story? We are asking if you can write a synopsis.

We define a synopsis as a blurb plus the five story arc scenes plus the ending. A synopsis is a cinch when you know that’s all it boils down to.

When authors find it tough to write a synopsis, it’s normally because either they don’t have an understanding of what goes into the synopsis or there isn’t a full story yet.

A story synopsis is a tool you can use to determine if there is a story in the draft manuscript. We’re not asking you to write a polished synopsis. We’re asking you to write a skeleton synopsis.

Skeleton Synopsis = Skeleton Blurb + 5 Story Arc Scenes + Resolution

The first part of the story test is to create a skeleton blurb.

Skeleton Blurb

A skeleton blurb answers three simple questions.

  1. Who is the protagonist?
  2. What is the story goal?
  3. What is at stake?

The answers to these questions are found in every story. If you cannot answer them from the draft, then we can tell you the story promised is not there yet. And the draft is not ready to be edited.

With your skeleton blurb, you found the protagonist, the story goal, and the story stakes. With your skeleton synopsis, you will find the story.

The Skeleton Synopsis is Your Next Tool

A skeleton synopsis is a short description of the story.

Here is an outline for the skeleton synopsis:

The protagonist _________________ finds out the story goal __________________ (Inciting Incident). Then _______________________ happens, and the protagonist must go forward toward the story goal, (Plot Point 1). In the new “world,” ________________ happens, and the protagonist becomes proactive to the Story Goal (Middle Plot Point). But _______________________________ happens, and the protagonist’s hope is destroyed, they realize they must change to achieve the story goal (Plot Point 2). But the protagonist ______________________, and the world changes, they finally address the story goal (Climax).

To fill in the blanks, read the draft and find the inciting incident, plot point 1, the middle plot point, plot point 2, and the climax. Use the action in each of these scenes to fill in the blanks.

You can find out more about the story arc and how to find your story arc scenes at The Story Arc: Definitions & Examples.

Listing the Story Arc Scenes Shows You Whether There Is a Story.

  • Does the protagonist find out the story goal,
  • then something happens that propels the protagonist onto chasing the story goal,
  • so that they can learn to be proactive,
  • change themselves after all hope is lost,
  • and use what they have learned on their journey to answer the story goal that they found at the start of their journey?

What you just read is the most basic form of a story. And all great stories are structurally similar.

How to Create a Skeleton Synopsis

Step 1: Perform a Hands-Off Read-Through

A hands-off read-through means you read the story without making any changes.

Step 2: Name Every Scene

You can do this when you’re performing a hands-off read-through. A hands-off read-through means you read the story without making any changes, but you can and should make notes and name every scene.

When naming the scenes, find and label the inciting incident, plot point 1, the middle plot point, plot point 2, and the climax.

Step 3: Dig Deeper into the Story Arc Scenes

To write a skeleton synopsis at this stage, the following story elements for each story arc scene will help you set it up.

  1. Scene Name
  2. Point of View Character
  3. Point of View Character’s Goal
  4. Scene Middle
  5. Scene Climax
  6. Scene Impact on Point of View Character

Step 4: Create the Skeleton Synopsis

Now there are four clear steps to getting that skeleton synopsis done:

  1. Reference the skeleton blurb.
  2. Find the five Fictionary Story Arc scenes on the story arc.
  3. List scene name, scene middle, scene climax and impact on point of view character for each of these scenes.
  4. Summarize the ending showing the story’s resolution.

Step 5: Does the Draft Contain a Story?

The synopsis will help you determine if there is a story or not. You’ll find that if you can’t write the synopsis at this stage, then most likely the story is not finished. The attempt at writing a synopsis will highlight which portions of the story still need to be written.

If one of the 5 story arc scenes is missing, is in the wrong place, or doesn’t satisfy the requirements of a story scene, then there isn’t a story in the draft, yet.

It’s time to start revising the draft until the skeleton synopsis shows you there is a story. Once there is a story, you can move on to a full story edit.

Source: writershelpingwriters.net

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