Learn to distill story ideas like a moonshiner

Moonshine books copy Ok, so let’s suppose you’ve read every weekly Nickel’s Worth On Writing I’ve posted here during the last two years. And let’s also suppose you aren’t my mother. That means you understand the importance of developing a voice, know the tools you need to establish that voice, are prepared to send your work to potential publishers, have established a writing routine and are now sitting at the keyboard ready to write!


…um, but about what?

As a writer, recognizing and developing story ideas is your bread and butter. Or biscuits and gravy, depending on your proximity to the Mason-Dixon line. The point is, whether you are a romance novelist, sci-fi short story writer or weekly columnist, generating ideas — and recognizing the difference between good ones and not-so-good ones (There are no bad ideas in my opinion, and I’ll explain that in a bit) — is the most important skill you must develop. Continue reading

If you want to be a writer, you really need to talk to someone

image Yes, it’s true: Friday is finally here! And so is Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, both of which are awaited for with equal amounts of anticipation! Just like French toast and mustard; your favorite TV show and a power outage; or a great hair day and tornado warning. Why so much anticipation? Because this weekly feature on writing, culled from my 15 years as a columnist and presented to readers for a mere nickel, has been referred to by Consumer Reports as “worth every penny, unless it’s Canadian.” That’s right. Many of today’s most influential writers got their start right HERE. Or at least in this general vicinity, most definitely somewhere on the planet. Here’s what some of them have to say… (and by “them,” I mean some of the greatest fictitious writers of our time):

“I set my clock by his post. Without it, I wouldn’t know when my Matlock reruns come on…”

“Each week, he offers an oyster with a pearl inside. And each week I say to myself, ‘shuck it.'”

“If you have writing questions, Ned’s Nickel’s Worth has answers. Just not about writing…”

The accolades go on, but enough of that! Let’s get to this week’s edition of Ned’s NWOW, brought to you by this yesterday’s coffee, today’s deadline and my friends at Gliterary Girl, where my NWOW also appears each week. At least until they change the passcode… Continue reading