How Do You Come Up With Story Ideas?

Nat Russo Basics, How-To, Idea Net, Story Ideas, Writing 27 Comments

Perhaps another way to phrase this question is “where do story ideas come from?” The answer is simple: story ideas are all around us.  Everything we see, touch, smell, hear, and taste has the potential to be a story seed that blossoms into a full-fledged story if nurtured properly. For some of us, this nurturing process is intangible, defying attempts to be described or squeezed into a bullet list. But for most, full story ideas aren’t something that spring up like eureka moments. Instead, the full story only emerges after idea “seeds” are watered and nurtured. I’m one of the latter. Rather than waiting for the mysterious process by which a story miraculously springs into existence in the rusty innards …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

Revision Checklist – Part 2 of 2

Nat Russo Checklists, Dialogue Attributions, Editing, Filter Words, How-To, Misused Phrases, Misused Words, Passive Voice, Present Continuous, Revision 10 Comments

[Updated 5/09/2014] Welcome to part two of my two-part series on Revision. If you haven’t read part one yet, I recommend it, and not in an entirely self-serving way. In this post I’m going to dig into the second half of my Common Revision Checklist, and I’m going to assume you’re already familiar with the first half. Today we’re going to take a look at the following topics: Commonly misused words/expressions Filter words “Something of Something” constructions Superfluous Movement Verbs Passive voice Dialog attributions Superfluous “That” usage Confusing “ing” constructions About Nat RussoNat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

Revision Checklist – Part 1 of 2

Nat Russo Adverbs, Capitalization, Checklists, Editing, How-To, Qualifiers, Revision, Word Count 22 Comments

[Updated 5/09/2014] In an earlier post titled Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through I teased you all with mention of a Revision Checklist and going into a deeper dive of my own revision process. Before I go there, I want to caution you: if you are still in the middle of writing your first draft, you do not want to read this post. You heard me. If you’re still producing your first draft, close this browser tab and back away from the blog. Better still, bookmark this post for later review…then step away from the blog. Ok. We should be alone now. If any of those “first drafters” come back, someone nudge me or something. We can’t have them poking around here …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

How Do You Find a Character’s Voice?

Nat Russo Characterization, How-To, Voice, Writing 39 Comments

Finding a character’s voice and personality comes easily to some, and with difficulty to others. In fact, even for those of us who don’t struggle with this issue, some characters are just more enigmatic than others. So what can you do? In a couple of #writetip auto-tweets that I send out periodically (we’ll debate the merits of auto-tweeting later) I mention a process of interviewing your characters to get at the heart of that person’s character traits. I’ve received an enormous response to those tweets asking me to go into some detail, so I decided to write today’s blog entry on that subject. In the past, I’ve taken a number of approaches to this problem that usually wind up being …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

Merry Christmas

Nat Russo Holiday Leave a Comment

I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! I probably won’t be able to blog until closer to New Year’s. I’ll be spending the holidays with my extended family in Texas. It’s our first Christmas without my mother-in-law, Arnette. She passed away this summer, far too soon, and we all miss her dearly. If any of you are the praying kind, please keep my family in your prayers this holiday season. God Bless!Nat About Nat RussoNat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

The Basics: So You Want To Write A Novel

Nat Russo Basics, Characterization, How-To, Plot and Structure, Reference Books, World Creation, Writing 10 Comments

Where Do I Begin? If you’ve landed here, you’ve got a good head start. I’m going to make a couple of assumptions about you, if that’s ok: You’re an avid reader. You want to write a book-length work of fiction (i.e. you want to write a novel). You’ve never done this before, or you’ve had a lot of starts/stops in your past. You’re willing to dedicate the next several months…perhaps years…of your life to telling a single story. You have no idea where to begin.   You may think I’m a mind reader now. But the simple truth is that I’ve just described most of us. And by “us” I’m referring to pretty much anyone who has ever taken the first …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.

Revising Your First Draft: The First Read-Through

Nat Russo Basics, Editing, How-To, Revision, Writing 37 Comments

[Revised 02/10/2015] What have I gotten myself into? If you’re in the middle of your first draft, you’ve probably asked yourself that question several times by now. Writing that first draft can feel like running a sprint at times. Your head is full of ideas for setting, characterization, dialog, plot, and interesting scenes. Thoughts are flowing so fast that your fingers can’t keep up. Putting the words on paper is like a mental dump of information. Did you capture it all? Did you get that last thought translated from brain signals to keyboard strokes? You’re not certain, but if you stop to look back you just might miss that next thought that’s bubbling to the surface. About Nat RussoNat Russo …

About Nat Russo

Nat Russo is the Amazon #1 Bestselling Fantasy author of Necromancer Awakening and Necromancer Falling. Nat was born in New York, raised in Arizona, and has lived just about everywhere in-between. He’s gone from pizza maker, to radio DJ, to Catholic seminarian (in a Benedictine monastery, of all places), to police officer, to software engineer. His career has taken him from central Texas to central Germany, where he worked as a defense contractor for Northrop Grumman. He's spent most of his adult life developing software, playing video games, running a Cub Scout den, gaining/losing weight, and listening to every kind of music under the sun. Along the way he managed to earn a degree in Philosophy and a black belt in Tang Soo Do. He currently makes his home in central Texas with his wife, teenager, mischievous beagle, and goofy boxador.