Writing Advice That Saves You in 5 Years

Janis Hubschman

I just discovered this wonderful article, “Steal This List,” by Janis Hubschman (featured in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin). It features advice that’s worth saving over a period of years—the kind of advice that’s critical to planning, writing, and revision. Here’s a taste:

When the story stalls, ask: what is the character thinking now? Is she thinking anything? If not, why not? Characters need to learn something about themselves, about their values and assumptions.

To gain insight into a character, consider her history: Think about what happened before the story, what tortuous path led the character to this particular moment?

Allow the character to misinterpret another character’s words or actions. In life, we often misread a situation, jump to conclusions. Interesting things can happen when characters make presumptions or project their own hang-ups onto others.

Read more wonderful gems from Hubschman right here. Or go browse other articles in the latest Glimmer Train bulletin.

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Jane Friedman has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. From 2001–2010 she worked at Writer's Digest, where she ultimately became publisher; more recently, she was an editor at the Virginia Quarterly Review, where she led digital strategy. Jane currently teaches writing and publishing at the University of Virginia and is a columnist for Publishers Weekly. The Great Courses just released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. She also has a book forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press, The Business of Being a Writer (2017). Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.
Posted in Writing Advice.


  1. Thanks for sharing the Hubschman Blog containing writing gems,  I’ll be spending some time there.  Wishing you a great weekend!

  2. This can be a tricky area in writing but something I love doing.  It’s easy to overdo it but, if done right, can really enrich characters.  

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