Tag Archives: writing methods

Beta Readers For Your Writing

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Diana Rowland, Moses Siregar, and Jordan Ellinger talk about beta readers.

For some writers, beta readers are an integral part of the writing process. But how do you know what advice to take and what do ignore?

Well the most obvious answer is that if you see a particular critique popping up over and over again, you can be pretty certain that it’s a point that needs to be looked at. If a particular point was only brought up by a single beta reader, there’s a good chance that it was just a detail that struck that particular person wrong, and does not need to be addressed.

That’s not always true — you have to keep in mind the levels of expertise and knowledge-bases you’re working with. If you have sexist Uncle Tito tell you he thinks it’s wrong where you have the female lead punch her boyfriend in the chops when he smacks her, maybe take that with a grain of salt. But if you have your history buff tell you that they didn’t use flintlocks in the 1500s, then you probably want to double-check that.

Listen on for more.


On Writing Names

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Moses Siregar, Jordan Ellinger, and Diana Rowland talk about naming things in your stories.

When it comes to naming characters or stories, trust your ear. In fact, it’s always a good idea to try your names aloud. Especially if you’re planning an audio book. What might look great on paper could sound awful or unclear or confusing or unintentionally funny when spoken.

Some ways you can come up with a title:
1. Copy out of your draft a sentence that could serve as a title.
2. Write a sentence that’s not in the draft to use as a title.
3. Write a title that is a question beginning with Who, What, When, Where, How or Why.
4. Write a title that is a question beginning with Is/Are, Do/Does, or Will.
5. Pick out some concrete image—something the reader can hear, see, taste, smell, or feel.
6. Write a title beginning with an -ing verb (like “Writing Names”).
7. Write a title beginning with On (like “On Writing Names”).
Write a title that is a lie about the story.
9. Write a one-word title—the most obvious one, and this may help stimulate creativity.
10. Draw inspiration from a familiar saying, song, or movie.
11. Take one of your titles and twist it with a pun (look at Piers Anthony’s Xanth series).
12. Using two you’ve written, see if you can combine the best elements for a single title.

Defending Our Writing Paths

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Jordan Ellinger, Jaye Wells, and Moses Siregar talk about why the path they took into publishing is the best.

When you decide to get become writer you should definitely start with tie-in writing. Or when you hit the path toward a  professional writing career, the best way to begin is to go through a traditional publisher with your original novel. Perhaps, what I mean to say is, if you want to make a living as a pro-author you have to go indie, cause it’s the best. Well, actually, what most don’t know is if you really want to break into the publishing industry the absolute best way is to first become an editor and get your chops working on both your own and others’ work.

There, the secret is out.

Creating Tension In Your Writing

This week on Hide And Create, Moses Siregar, Joshua Essoe, Jordan Ellinger, and Jaye Wells talk about creating tension.

Maybe it need not be said, but don’t use one of the tools we talked about in this episode, use a bunch of them and mash them together. Take a time-bomb, use short, punchy sentences, be unpredictable, and present lose-lose choices all in one story, and really drag your readers through the trenches before giving them the release of a satisfying conclusion.

A final note. If you fear that your tension is getting stale, the cause is probably that you’re hitting the same emotional beat too many times, and you and your readers are going deaf to it. When that’s happening you have to defeat your reader’s expectations and use an opposing emotional beat. If everything is haha-funny, and you think that your humor is flagging and things just aren’t as amusing, throw in something profound, like Jack Palance telling you the secret of life. If you’ve got action-action-action, sigh, action-action, change it up and throw in a romantic beat or a mystery beat. This is an emotional twist, like a plot twist except it doesn’t affect the story, it affects the mood.

As promised, here is the link to Margie Lawson and her workshops that Jaye gushed over. Also to David Farland who has marvelous things to teach about creating tension and all things writing related.


Writing the Hero’s Journey Part 2

This week on Hide and Create Moses Siregar, Jaye Wells, Jordan Ellinger and Joshua Essoe continue last week’s discussion on the monomyth.

Actually, we argue for a bit to finish up as we examine the trope of the Chosen One.

Writing the Hero’s Journey Part 1

This week on Hide and Create Joshua Essoe, Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar and Jaye Wells start talking about the Hero’s Journey.

The Hero’s Journey is a skeletal framework that should be fleshed out with the details and surprises of the individual story. The structure should not call attention to itself, nor should it be followed too precisely. The order of the stages given here is only one of many possible variations. The stages can be deleted, added to, and drastically shuffled without losing any of their power.

The Hero’s Journey is infinitely flexible, capable of endless variation without sacrificing any of its magic, and it will outlive us all.

Writing Awesome Endings

This week on Hide and Create,  Moses Siregar, Joshua Essoe, Diana Rowland and Jordan Ellinger talk about ending your stories.

The stronger you’ve emotionally invested your reader, the more impactful the ending will be. The more you make your readers feel your protagonist’s heroism, or pain, or both, the more effective your ending will be.

Your ending is where your protagonist really gets to show that he’s a hero, earns it — so make sure you’ve set your character up so that your readers can really feel that heroism.

Your climax is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, right? So you’ve got to make sure that the treasure at the end of the quest is worth it.

(And the answer to the end of the show is to keep them wanting more. See what we did there?)

Writing From the Dark Side

This week on Hide and Create, Diana Rowland, Joshua Essoe, Moses Siregar, and Jordan Ellinger talk about writing from the dark side.

Writing is therapy. And sometimes it’s alien abduction. You never know. Just as your writing can benefit from your life experience, your life experience can benefit from your writing.

Next time you’re stuck in line, waiting for groceries, waiting at the DMV, riding an elevator, let your mind wander. What would be the worst possible thing that could happen in that situation? What would be the most amazing thing? Or the most romantic? Everyday life is rife with writing prompts and stories, all you have to do is let your mind do the walking.

Lies Writers Tell Themselves

This week on Hide and Create, Joshua Essoe, Moses Siregar, Jordan Ellinger and Diana Rowland talk about the lies writers tell themselves.

We all do it. We are our own worst enemies sometimes. And sometimes our own worst advocates! The point is, don’t feel alone. We’re with you, and so is every other writer that ever was.

Inspiration to Write

Today on Hide and Create Jordan Ellinger, Moses Siregar, Diana Rowland and Joshua Essoe talk about inspiration.

Can you write while you’re not inspired? Some say writing is a job and you don’t have to be inspired to do it. You just do it. Because you have to. Some things in this writing life don’t need inspiration — if you can’t find your voice or can’t get the words flowing, you can edit, you can promote, you can work on a blog piece. There is always something to do.

But where does inspiration come from when you need it? Where can you find that spark to light the fire of your creativity?

All over.

Do me a favor. Next time you go out, keep your eyes open. Cast out your idea-net and go trawling. I guarantee that if you pay attention you’ll see or hear or taste things that will inspire plots, characters and wonderful, specific details.