Author Archives: kevintjohns@gmail.com

Active Voice: The Easiest Way to Improve Your Writing

Using “active voice” is one of the easiest ways to improve the quality of your writing. Sentences written in active voice organize words so that the subject of the sentence is doing the action, not the object. For example, here’s a sentence written in active voice: Kevin ate the bananas. In this example, our protagonist…

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The Secret to Getting Fit, Writing a Novel, and Achieving All Your Life’s Goals … FAST!

Recently, a client of mine grew frustrated. Her novel writing wasn’t moving along as swiftly as she would have liked. She’s a mom with a full-time job who just moved into a new home. She’s currently focusing on getting fit and healthy in addition to writing a novel, prepping a short story for a competition submission, and participating…

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Your Book is Not Your Legacy

When the aspiring authors I work with are faced with a bout of writer’s block, I find it’s often the result of an intense stress they’re experiencing related to writing. Where does this stress come from? NOT from contractually obligated deadlines – most of the writers I work with are first-time authors who have not yet signed a…

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FAQs for Aspiring Authors

Writing a novel requires authors to make thousands of decisions on a daily basis. Every time a writer sits down to draft, they have to make choices about what’s going to happen, the words they’re going to use, and a dozen other factors that will impact how the story is told. Unfortunately, many aspiring authors never get around to making…

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4 Ways to Track Your Writing Progress

How’s your work-in-progress coming along? Is your current approach to writing getting you the best results possible? Are you writing quicker these days, or are you slowing down? When will the book be done? Let’s face it . . . Answering these questions will be next to impossible if you aren’t tracking progress in some…

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If You Have a Day Job, You’re Not a Real Writer

I’d like to think you weren’t fooled for a moment by this article’s utterly ridiculous headline. Unfortunately, through my work as a writing coach, I’ve learned many aspiring authors actually believe they’ll never be “real” writers until they can quit their day jobs. This is a complete falsehood. Your day job has nothing to do…

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3 Brilliant Methods for Writing Extraordinary Scenes

It’s vitally important that authors know how to craft great scenes because scenes are the basic building block of narrative fiction. As I discussed in my article, The Difference between Scenes, Sequences, and Chapters, a scene is a continuous piece of action within a linear timeframe and (generally) contained to a single location. A leap…

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Yes, you DO have to suffer for your art

A friend of mine recently passed away. Losing her was extremely painful. So I wrote about it. Because I’m a writer and that’s the process: life kicks you in the gut and then you write. We’ll come back to that concept in a moment, but first let’s talk about Jack Kerouac’s seminal book On the Road. It…

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Theme and Controlling Idea are NOT the Same Thing

Many authors, literary critics, and High School English teachers conflate a book’s “theme” and “controlling idea” into the same concept, implying both terms mean the message of the book. I prefer to differentiate the two concepts. I see theme as something that can emerge (often unconsciously) in the drafting of a manuscript, whereas a controlling idea is…

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How to Create Charismatic Characters — Part 5: Supporting and Minor Characters

In the first four parts of this series, we’ve explored character creation largely in the context of main characters, i.e. protagonists and antagonists. But our novels are, of course, filled with many other types characters. In this article, the final article in our series, we’ll look at the role supporting characters and minor characters play…

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