Author: Brandon Miller

Five Overused Clichés about Family in Writing (and How to Avoid Them)

Name a Disney film. Name both of the hero’s parents. Not easy, right? Usually at least one of the parents is dead. Although Disney has other reasons for doing this, the main one is to develop sympathy in the audience for the hero. Sometimes it works. But it also comes at a price. People, especially young adults, are surrounded by family. Whether they want to be or not, they are stuck with their family and have to interact with them every day. Though some might not admit it, familial relationships are the strongest relationships anyone can possess. Why aren’t...

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Set Your Novel Up for Success by Sharing Your Outline

It’s January, the month of new beginnings. You’ve made your New Year’s resolutions, and maybe, just maybe, one of them involves writing. Maybe you resolved to write a novel. An entire novel. And maybe this time you’re actually going to do it. So you sit down in front of a word processor with your fantastic new idea and start tallying up the word count. Not so fast. Before you get carried away, you should take a minute to set yourself up for success in your novel-writing endeavor. First, you need an outline. If you don’t have one yet, check...

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The Secret to Writing a Unique Conversion Scene

Sometimes it’s not just the secular market that has problems with conversion scenes. Many conversions in Christian fiction are skipped over, viewed as boring, or actively avoided, because when someone attempts to write an “original” conversion story, it ends up being one that people have already heard. The fact that Jesus died for our sins isn’t a major revelation in modern Christian fiction. It’s not strange, or clever, or unexpected. What are we supposed to do when the greatest story in the world becomes cliché? Writing Unique Conversions If you are writing for the Christian market, chances are that anyone...

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Three Ways to Write Christian Fiction for a Secular Audience

An enduring problem faces Christian writers who want to share their faith through their novels: if they include their faith in their books, it becomes “Christian” fiction. Christians read Christian fiction. Christians don’t need saved. Unsaved people read secular fiction, and they won’t ever end up touching an outspoken Christian’s book. Does that mean that no outspoken Christian will ever be able to lead someone to Christ through a novel? How in the world are we to use fiction to glorify God and bring people to Christ? Is the deck stacked against us and that’s that? No. God is...

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Creating a NaNo Outline When It’s Already November

Early October came and went and you said you had a month to prepare. Mid-October came and went and you said you had two weeks to write a short outline. The end of October came and went, and now you’re here in November with no outline, no plot line, and a looming deadline. Take heart! Not all is lost. Most stories are about someone trying to gain or accomplish an objective that someone else doesn’t want to happen. That means your story only needs three elements to be a success: a hero, a villain, and a goal. All right,...

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