Blog Profile / Writer Unboxed

Filed Under:Arts / Writing
Posts on Regator:2528
Posts / Week:4.9
Archived Since:April 2, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Give Your Hero a Hard Time

16 hours agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

“Be a sadist,” said Kurt Vonnegut. That’s number six on his list of eight creative writing 101 tips. He added, “No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them – in order that the reader may see what they are made of.” Vonnegut knew what he was talking about. […]

They Put Your Book Down, but Don’t Take it Personally

I’m a polygamist reader—I have at least three paperbacks going at any one time as well at least one audiobook in progress. It has something to do with my mood. Will it be a dystopian world or sixteenth century Amsterdam? Maybe I’ll get lost in the hallways of Rockvale High School. I have my favorite […]

The True Test of Character

I love survival stories. Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica, Uruguayan soccer players in the Andes, plane crash survivors in New Guinea—I’ve read and loved them all.  (The books about those stories are Alfred Lansing’s Endurance, Alive, by Piers Paul Read, and Lost in Shangri-La, by Mitchell Zuckoff.) Aside from the fact that survival stories are the […]

Editor’s Clinic: A Look at your Hook

I’ve written before about the dangers of working too hard to create your hook. That’s what I believe you’re doing here. The big shock of your opening scene is that your narrator was expected to eat a chicken that had become a pet. But I think the drive to hook your readers quickly led you […]

Tears on the Page—On Writing and Crying

Yesterday morning I cried over a book’s ending. I’m talking wet cheeks, sobs that were more like gasps for breath, and needing to blow my nose. Crying ugly, as it’s aptly called. While that sinks in, let me assert that I consider myself fairly open online, particularly in this forum. Here among my fellow WU […]


When Ernest Cline pitched his debut novel Ready Player One in 2011, it went to a bidding war, immediately sold novel and movie rights, rapidly advanced to bestseller lists, and ultimately signed Spielberg to direct the movie which releases next month. The novel is set in 2045, a dystopian world where the only escape is to a virtual reality […]

Our thanks to author DiAnn Mills for supporting WU this month!

Our thanks to author DiAnn Mills for supporting WU this month! As a thank you for her month-long ad buy, we’d like to tell you a bit about her new novel, HIGH TREASON: When Saudi Prince Omar bin Talal visits Houston to seek cancer treatment for his mother, an attempt on his life puts all […]

Top 8 Excuses for When You’re About to Blow a Deadline

Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Sometime in your writing career, you’re going to be faced with a deadline you can’t meet. The best advice for dealing with this, of course, is […]

Delhi and the Diversity of Diversity

Because Diversity Is So…Diverse If you’ve ever flown to New Delhi, you’ll have encountered one of the more peculiar time-zone anomalies in world travel: The mighty capital of India is not just 10 hours ahead of Eastern time, it’s 10 hours and 30 minutes ahead. Like Tehran, New Delhi has a half-hour time change atop […]

Behind Door Number Three

My son, a fourteen-year-old high school freshman (with a hyperactive amygdala and a sleepy frontal lobe) plays the viola. My daughter, a thirteen-year-old seventh grader (whose frontal lobe is only slightly less sleepy) plays the violin. The important information in those sentences is not that my children’s brains are akin to those of prehistoric reptiles, […]

Shakespeare in Space – with Lasers!

I recently stumbled onto an online discussion about animated films, where somebody referred to The Lion King as having been inspired by Shakespeare’s classic play Hamlet. That was news to me, and it made me think about other films that I had belatedly learned were inspired by Shakespeare plays, such as 10 Things I Hate […]

How to Write an Effective Hook (Plus: PITCH SHARE)

Please welcome literary agent with Trident Media Group Mark Gottlieb to WU today, speaking about something most writers need to understand: How to write (and even verbally deliver) an effective hook. More about Mark from his bio: Mark attended Emerson College and was President of its Publishing Club, establishing the Wilde Press. After graduating with a […]

Take Five: Jan O’Hara and Cold and Hottie

Today we have the distinction of welcoming resident wise (and witty) woman Jan O’Hara. Together we celebrate the release of her latest novel, Cold and Hottie, which was made available for your reading pleasure February 6, 2018. Thanks for joining us today, Jan! A former family physician and academic, Jan O’Hara left the world of medicine […]

Five Marketing Tools for Authors Who Hate Marketing

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

Disclaimer: Hating marketing is not required to use these tools. In fact, if you enjoy marketing, you’ll have a blast using them. I’m active in several online writing communities, and one of the most frequent things I read about is how much authors hate marketing. It’s usually accompanied by talk about art and creativity, and […]

All the King’s Editors—Kathryn Craft

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

Kathryn’s post today is part of the “All the King’s Editors” series, in which WU contributors will edit manuscript pages submitted by members of the larger WU community and discuss the proposed changes. This educational format is intended to generate useful comments on what changes work, which may not work as well, and in either […]

When Worlds Collide

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

Have you ever felt out of place?  I’m sure.  We all have.  Meeting the new in-laws.  An interfaith church service.  Asking the price of a necklace at Tiffany’s.  The ER.  CIA headquarters in Langley.  Strange environments where people are different. One summer day commuting to work on my bike, I stopped at Sander’s Bakery on […]

The Question Your Novel Answers

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

Please welcome Nancy Johnson back to WU today, this time as our newest WU contributor! We’re thrilled to have her with us! Race has colored every part of my life from the stories my parents told from the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement to my own experience of being called the n-word by […]

On Commitments, Participation and the Writing Community

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

On one hand, I should be breathing easy. My alter ego recently turned in the manuscript of her next book — not the first draft, and not the final final one that will appear between covers, but a very important one. She’s at the stage called Delivery and Acceptance, where you turn in your manuscript […]

Take Five: Heather Webb and The Phantom’s Apprentice

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

  Today we welcome resident WU oracle and Francophile Heather Webb to talk about her newest novel, The Phantom’s Apprentice. Her latest page turner will be available for your reading pleasure on February 6,2018. Heather Webb is the international bestselling author of historical novels Becoming Josephine, Rodin’s Lover, Last Christmas in Paris, and the anthology […]

Foreshadowing vs Callbacks

2 weeks agoArts / Writing : Writer Unboxed

A couple of months ago, I took my children to see the new Lego Ninjago movie at the cinema. For those people unfamiliar with the movie (like, perhaps, most people who don’t have a child under the age of 12), the plot revolves around five trainee-ninja teenagers who must learn the ways of Spinjitsu and […]

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