Six impossible things


Basics: Plot, part 1

By popular demand, I’m starting the “basics” posts with plot. Plot, in its most basic version, goes like this: A character (or characters) have a problem Where something important is at stake That the character(s) care deeply about. They try to solve the problem, and Eventually succeed […]

Read more

Back to basics

Every skill, including writing, starts with a bunch of things that are really basic. If you want to be a carpenter, you learn to hammer nails and saw wood; if you want to be a writer, you learn how to write clear, coherent sentences. After a while […]

Read more

Experimenting early

Over the past few months I’ve had a number of writing questions that superficially are all very different, but that, if you back off a bit and look at them, boil down to “Ms. Wrede, why do people keep telling me that I can’t/shouldn’t use XYZ non-standard […]

Read more

Getting it in

There are three basic ways to get multiple plot points and payoffs into a story: you can do it on purpose in the first draft, you can do it by accident in the first draft, or you can do it in the rewrite. Putting in plot points […]

Read more

Descriptive details

When I was in grade school, one of the first writing assignments we got was to write a paragraph describing something, usually a single object. As I progressed in school, the assignments increased in length and complexity, from a single object to a room, from a room […]

Read more

Narrative drive and Harry Potter

  Narrative drive is the thing about a story that makes it a compulsive read. It what creates the just-one-more-page/scene/chapter syndrome, the I-stayed-up-til-three-a.m.-to-finish condition, the thing that makes certain series like eating potato chips. And it has absolutely nothing to do with action, and very little to […]

Read more

Mostly About Time

Everybody gets 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. That’s 168 hours, total. Nobody gets any more; nobody gets any less. Yet somehow one of the first things that gets asked when I talk to a bunch of would-be writers is “How do you make time […]

Read more

Making it up in the rewrite

Rewriting is inevitable. Most of us are well aware that our manuscripts are not perfect the first time around. Many of us depend on beta readers and critique groups and various other pre-submission review-and-refurbish processes to whip our rough drafts into shape. Those who for one reason […]

Read more

Making it up in the middle

No writer I know can get through an entire novel without stopping at some point to make up more stuff, not even the most organized and linear of planners. The pantsers who make it up as they go along are a whole different kettle of fish, but […]

Read more

Making stuff up: Putting it all Together

Looking at the story development process the way I have been in these last few posts makes it seem logical and straightforward, but that’s only because I was looking at one angle at a time. In actual fact, when one is making stuff up for a real […]

Read more
Page 5 of 70« First...34567...102030...Last »
Questions regarding foreign rights, film/tv subrights, and other business matters should be directed to Pat’s agent Ginger Clark, Curtis-Brown, Ltd., 10 Astor Place, 3rd Floor New York, NY 10003,



  • Minicon 52
    Pat plans to attend Minicon 52, April 14 – 16, 2017, in Minneapolis, MN....