Fiction Writing Made Easy

Fiction Writing Made Easy

How do I write a book? How do I create compelling characters that readers will love? How do I build a believable world for my story? What does it even mean to write a story that works? Do you have any writing tips? These are just some of the big questions that developmental editor and book coach, Savannah Gilbo, digs into on the Fiction Writing Made Easy Podcast. Each week, Savannah shares actionable tools, tips, and strategies that will help you write, edit, and publish your book. So, whether you're brand new to writing, or a seasoned author looking to improve your craft, this podcast is for you!

Episodes

November 29, 2022 19 min

In today's episode, I’m covering the difference between writing in scene versus writing in summary. Here’s a preview of what’s included:

[01:45] Scenes are concrete moments that unfold in real time. Readers “watch” the characters move across the setting, interact with other characters or the setting, and speak as if everything’s taking place in the real world, in real time.

[02:55] Summaries happen over a condensed period of time...

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In today's episode, we’re going to talk about how to edit your messy first draft without slipping into overwhelm. Here’s a preview of what’s included: 

[01:50] The very first thing you should do when you finish a first draft 

[04:15] A quick overview of the four editing phases, and how breaking your edits down into these phases will help you reduce overwhelm.

[05:45] Phase 1: The “Story Level” edit

[09:25] Phase 2: The “Scene Level...

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November 15, 2022 15 min

In today's episode, I’m covering the key scenes that every morality story needs. I’ve also included examples of how they show up in the movie Flight. Here’s a preview of what’s included: 

[01:45] Morality stories center around a protagonist with a moral compass that’s about to change, for better or for worse. They’re either seeking redemption from past mistakes or they want to silence their inner conscience so they can keep doin...

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In today's episode, I’m sitting down with Stefanie Medrek to talk through her incredibly inspiring story of how she went from having an idea for a story to landing an agent. Here’s a preview of what’s included: 

[05:00] The exact moment Stefanie had the idea for her story—and how she just knew it wouldn’t let her go until she put pen to paper

[08:00] A quick description of Stefanie’s story

[09:35] Stefanie’s initial reaction to my...

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October 31, 2022 17 min

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the status genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Devil Wears Prada. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:45] Status stories center around the protagonist’s inner need for respect that manifests as a specific desire to achieve or accomplish something in the external world.

[02:55] Readers of status st...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the seventh book in the Harry Potter series.

Here’s a preview of what we talk about:

[07:45] A very quick summary of the first chapter

[11:40] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the sixth book in the Harry Potter series–here’s a preview of what we talk about:

[05:45] A very quick summary of the first chapter

[07:15] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The...

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In today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through the pros and cons of indie publishing. Here’s a preview of what you’ll hear in the episode:

[01:30] Indie publishing is the pure do-it-yourself publishing path. It's where you, the author, take on ALL the roles of and basically become the publisher of your own book.

[02:30] The pros of indie publishing

[08:20] The cons of indie publishing

[13:20] Final thoughts and episode recap

Rate...

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In today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through the pros and cons of traditional publishing. Here’s a preview of what you’ll hear in the episode:

[01:35] Traditional publishing refers to the established system of submitting a finished manuscript to agents with the goal of getting a book deal with one of the Big Five publishers.

[03:00] The pros of traditional publishing

[08:45] The cons of traditional publishing

[15:20] Final thought...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the fifth book in the Harry Potter series!

[03:40] A very quick summary of the first chapter

[06:25] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings

[25:00]...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the fourth book in the Harry Potter series:

[03:05] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[05:50] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[20:30] A mi...

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In this episode, I'm sharing the three contextual elements you'll want to include at the beginning of each one of your scenes. We'll also look at how these three elements show up in the opening of a scene from the novel An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. Here's a preview of the key points:

[03:10] Key element #1: Where and when is this scene taking place?
[04:35] Key element #2: What is your POV character's men...

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In today's episode, we're going to talk about the key scenes that every crime story needs to have in order to work and to satisfy fans of the genre. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:15] Crime stories are all about the quest to either solve or commit a crime. So, these stories start with a crime, build with an investigation (or a completion of the crime), and end with identifying and bringing the criminal to j...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the third book in the Harry Potter series:

[03:00] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[04:50] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[21:00]...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the second book in the Harry Potter series:

[03:30] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[05:30] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[25:00]...

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In this episode, we're taking a deep dive into the first chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling. Join me and fellow developmental editor, Abigail Perry, as we nerd out about the first book in the Harry Potter series:

[04:30] A very quick summary of the first chapter
[07:00] A macro analysis of the first chapter using 7 key questions from Paula Munier's book The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings
[38:00...

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In this episode, I'm sharing the 10 most common querying mistakes I see writers make and how to avoid them. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[02:45] Mistake #1: Your story isn't 100% ready to send out just yet.
[04:25] Mistake #2: Sending your query to the wrong person.
[06:15] Mistake #3: Not following the submission guidelines.
[08:45] Mistake #4: You forgot to include your metadata.
[09:50] Mistak...

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In today’s extra special bonus episode, I'm sharing an interview I did earlier this year with Emma Dhesi for her Be A Bestseller Summit.

We talked about genre and how your story’s genre can help you write a story that works. And specifically, we dove into the thriller genre and talked about how the key scenes and conventions of the thriller genre show up in The Silence of the Lambs.

This was such a fun event to be a part of bec...

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February 15, 2022 20 min

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through the conventions of the action genre. I'm also going to show you how these conventions show up in the movie The Hunger Games. Here's a preview of what's included:

[01:25] Action stories are about life and death, and good versus evil. They’re about a character who has to rise up, overcome great obstacles, defeat forces of evil, and maybe even save the world. But tha...

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February 3, 2022 18 min

In this episode, I'm exploring 5 reasons why readers might stop reading a novel. Here's a preview of what you'll hear in the episode:

[01:50] Reason #1: Nothing meaningful happens in the opening pages.
[04:15] Reason #2: It’s hard to connect with the point of view characters.
[06:30] Reason #3: Readers don’t know what kind of story they’re reading.
[09:40] Reason #4: Readers have seen the same thing before.
[12:30] Reason #...

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