On Writing

How Stressful Events Make Great Books

Conflict always drives fiction. In real life, we may wish for things to fall into place easily, days go by smoothly, and relationships unfold effortlessly. But in fiction, nothing can be easy—because easy equates to boring. Watch the video below or skip to the text...

Closure and the Hero

One major way in which fiction differs from reality is with closure. Readers need to have most of their questions answered by the end of the book or they feel dissatisfied. In reality, a lack of closure is commonplace and often leads to a great deal of angst.   A...

The Hero: Confronting the Inner Saboteur

Our heroes often feel larger than life: Ian Fleming’s James Bond, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Daisy Buchanan, Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta or Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone.   But in reality, most heroes are filled with self-doubt at one...

The Hero’s Trauma and Life-Transforming Journey

We’re continuing with the hero’s journey, and today I want to tell you about the trauma that awakens the hero and catapults him or her along their journey. The trauma can be a death (especially one that is unexpected or sudden), a divorce or split, job loss, illness...

The Antidote for Suicide

I know why a person commits suicide. Regardless of their situation or their circumstance, there is a single thread that runs through them all. The Centers for Disease Control released a study that concluded suicide rates have risen nearly 30% in the United States...

When Reality Isn’t

Watch the video at the bottom of this blog or visit https://youtu.be/Csrn0wd5Ky8.   We often consider memories to be solid facts; framed within a moment of time, we remember actions and people as if we are watching a movie in which the scene has been filmed and...

Slaying Dragons

If you’d prefer to watch a video version of this blog, visit my YouTube Channel: https://youtu.be/uJBkk6BjE6U or watch at the bottom of this blog.   Heroes in real life as well as in fiction encounter a variety of dragons they must slay. Some are internal, some...

When the Hero Moves

If you'd prefer to watch the video blog, skip to the bottom or visit https://youtu.be/32-7WgA8cqI.   Moving to a new location is a theme encountered from the classics to contemporary genre. In a physical move, the hero leaves behind all that he or she has known....

The Actions of our Heroes

The most common response to encountering something unexpected or potentially traumatic is to freeze. This has always been my default response to spiders. And once when I was gardening, I stood up to find myself face to face with the largest snake I’d ever seen. It had...

Change and the Hero

“In AD 1, it took 1,500 years for the amount of information in the world to double. It is now doubling at the rate of once every two years.” This quote came from How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For by M.J.Ryan (Conari Press, 2014). Read the entire article below,...