You don’t have to be a side-splitting funny person to be able to add humor to your writing. You don’t even need to be funny at all. You just need to understand the techniques needed to add humor to your writing and you’ll be golden. There are a lot of ways you can approach humor. Scott Sedita’s Eight Characters of Comedy is one way to create characters with that sole intention. His Eight Characters of Comedy are the comedic archetypes and are the basis for myriad sitcom characters on TV.  They translate just as well to fiction writing, which is all about character. Think about your favorite comedies (TV, movies, or in books and comics). Can you identify characters who fit into these roles: The Logical Smart One The Lovable Loser The Neurotic The Dumb One smart The Bitch/Bastard The Materialistic One The Womanizer/Manizer The In Their Own Universe? I had the opportunity to talk with bestselling mystery and romance …

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WriterSpark Academy is very excited and proud to present our new podcast, Tips, Tricks, and the Craft of Writing. Listen and learn from real conversations with established authors, as well as episodes about writing craft topics. Follow on your preferred player to never miss an episode!   For more Podcast platforms, click here!

Learning about creating systems for your book-writing business is one of the most important things you can do for time-management. And, if you’re like me, you know that time-management is a huge issue because all the administrivia can feel truly overwhelming at time. How do you manage social media, create effective marketing materials, cover art, ads, and everything else that comes with being a writer…all the while keeping your creativity flowing and making sure you still make writing itself your number one priority? USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has it figured out. She has elevated her career to a true business, which operates under the umbrella of Tonya Kappes Books.  Watch my YouTube Craft Chat with her. I guarantee you will come away inspired to create some systems for yourself! In case you missed it, check out Part One with Tonya. There are a variety of other Craft Chats for you to enjoy, as well. Why you should research …

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Writing excellent back cover copy doesn’t happen by accident. Using a formula of sorts can help you. There are five parts to really excellent back cover copy (plus one extra for cozy mysteries). Back cover copy is an incredibly important marketing tool for your book. It includes a hook to grab the reader’s attention. It then hits the core elements of the plot in the most enticing manner possible. This copy is the second thing a potential reader will use to judge whether or not the book is for them (first is the cover). Just like a teaser from a television show or a movie trailer, the back cover copy in a book gives the potential audience enough about the story to pique their interest. It is what draws them in and gets them to commit to reading the first page (which is the third step in a reader’s decision-making process). Here are the five steps for writing really excellent …

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Creating compelling characters is, in great part, contingent on how those characters engage with the plot. Do things happen TO them? Or do things happen BECAUSE of them? A character to whom things happen is not nearly as interesting as a character who makes things happen. Keep reading for three tips to writing compelling characters who are active participants in their stories. Character Study Let’s look at a character study, first: Ivy Culpepper is the amateur sleuth from my Bread Shop mysteries in Kneaded to Death. Scenario One Ivy’s mother has just died. She returns home to be with her father and brother. She starts taking a bread making class for no particular reason. One of the classmates dies. The bread shop owner, Olaya, is a suspect. Although Ivy likes Olaya, she doesn’t want to get involved and chooses not to. A few clues happen to appear in her path. The police find the clues, too, and the case is …

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As a teacher, I’m always looking for inspiration, particularly when it comes to the memoir classes I teach (both online with Teachable and in person with the Carrboro Arts Center near where I live). Using Theme to Focus a Memoir like Stanley Tucci’s Taste, is my latest inspiration. How it Started A few months ago, my good friend, artist Theresa Pastoriza-Tan, invited me to a very cool bookclub at a wine bar in Raleigh called Vita Vite. This past month, the book choice was Stanley Tucci’s memoir, Taste. At the Vita Vite gathering in Raleigh last night, Theresa, another good artist friend, Amy Jane Whitney, and I spent the evening chatting about life stories and the lens they can be told through.  Tucci wove all the stories in his memoir around food. Turns out that many of his movies also center around food. He is a foodie, through and through, so it makes perfect sense that this is the theme he …

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Extraordinary Attorney Woo, ENA/Netflix Summary (from Netflix): Attorney Woo (Woo Young-Woo) is an extraordinary attorney who has Autistic Spectrum Disorder. This fact offers her unique perspectives on her cases, but is also limiting.  This Hero’s Journey breakdown is for the first episode of this awesome series. Hero– Woo Young-Woo, the first autistic attorney in the Republic of Korea, a graduate of Seoul, South Korea. She did not speak until she was 5 years old, and when she did speak, it was citing law and criminal code from the mountains of books her father has.  Ordinary World— Woo Young-Woo is hired as brand new rookie attorney at Hanbada law firm. Things about her: She struggles to look people in the eye She must count to three before walking into a room/new space She only eats gimbap (it’s predictable in look and taste) She is passionate about whales Call to Adventure– Young-Woo enters the law firm ready to begin her career, but knowing she …

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PART 1: There are many, many steps in writing a book. Understanding Back Cover Copy and how to write it is one of these steps.  What is Back Cover Copy: Simply put, back cover copy is an incredibly important marketing tool for your book. It includes a hook to grab the reader’s attention. It then hits the core elements of the plot in the most enticing manner possible. This copy is the second thing a potential reader will use to judge whether or not the book is for them (first is the cover). Just like a teaser from a television show or a movie trailer, the back cover copy in a book gives the potential audience enough about the story to pique their interest. It is what draws them in and gets them to commit to reading the first page (which is the third step in a reader’s decision-making process). What should Back Cover Copy Include? Your back cover copy …

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One person’s thoughts on what causes creativity are probably very different from the next person’s. Maybe for you, what causes creativity is time to unplug. Maybe it comes from being in nature. Maybe it’s time doing something else you love, like baking, gardening, hiking, sewing, woodworking, or some other activity unrelated to writing. When you think of replenishing your creative well, what comes to mind? What works for you?

Do you understand the building blocks of a scene? Have you heard of scene and sequel? The concept and terms (confusing because there is both Scene and scene) were coined by Dwight Swain in his book, Techniques of the Selling Writer. At its core, scene and sequel are ways to control the pace of your story, and keep your plot moving forward.   Scene allows tension to build; Sequel allows the reader time to process, and the Point of View character’s actions drive the plot forward.  Looking at the big picture of your story, your ultimate goal is to create an emotional experience for your reader. Readers have to have a character they can relate to or with whom they can identify. To make the emotional response powerful, you need to amp up the emotional experience. The reader needs to feel as if they are the heroine of the romance, the sleuth in the mystery, the captain fighting a killer whale, the man …

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