The most critical question for any writer to ask

Susan DeFCreative Writing, fictionLeave a Comment

Recently I returned from teaching at the Writer UnBoxed conference in Salem, Mass.–and while I was there, I did something I’ve never done before with adults. I built a story with my audience, live. I did this because I figured after four full days of craft talks, the conference attendees needed another PowerPoint presentation like they needed a hole in … Read More

What is a character arc and why is it so important?

Susan DeFCreative Writing, fictionLeave a Comment

The following content was originally recorded for the Novel Kickoff Summit hosted by Sara Gentry. In this insightful conversation, we unravel the profound influence character arcs hold in storytelling. From healing brokenness to igniting emotional shifts in readers, character evolution is a potent tool. This is a transcript of my conversation with Sara. Enjoy! Sara Gentry  Welcome writers! In this … Read More

The Power of a Well Placed Inciting Incident

Susan DeFCreative Writing, fiction, Recommended ReadingLeave a Comment

Aspiring novelists are often bombarded with advice on how to create an effective opening for their novels. One common suggestion is to get the inciting incident on the page as quickly as possible. However, as a seasoned editor and book coach, I’m here to caution against this approach. Rushing into the inciting incident can lead to openings that are hard … Read More

The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction

Susan DeFfictionLeave a Comment

I recently finished Life Is Everywhere, a novel by Lucy Ives. Though to call it a novel is a bit of a stretch: it’s really more of a frame story with some stories-within-stories stuffed in the middle, the conceit being that these are the texts the protagonist just happens to have in her bag when she winds up unexpectedly spending … Read More