A Great Post on Writing by Mette Harrison

Author Mette Harrison writes a column on writing for Orson Card’s Intergalactic Medicine Show. I think you can read them without a subscription. This month’s column had some great insights. Here’s one fab example.

I also recommend that if you want to write a book that readers will not be able to put down, focus on one really good story (more on this next month). I am not saying that you can’t have sub plots or minor characters. You can. But I urge you to make sure that your page count does not obscure which characters are the main ones or what their main goal is. If you have lots of different characters who are in different parts of your world, that is fine. But make sure that they are all working at different ends of the same thread, that they all end up being part of the same story. If you cannot figure out which character is the one you want your readers to care the most about, to root for most desperately, you may have too many characters.

Good advice. There’s more.

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2 Responses to A Great Post on Writing by Mette Harrison

  1. diane says:

    Hello John, I really enjoyed the 12 of 12 series of writing tips you and Larry did on Youtube. I stayed awake until 1 am watching them all, they were great. Can you let me know if your doing any seminars in Ontario at any time? I would travel just to get advice from you. I am a fourty-five year old female paralegic. There are not many jobs out there for us, but I work at Home Depot as Greeter, but my passion is writing. I’m looking forward to a day I can publish a book. Congrats on work well done.

  2. John Brown says:


    So sorry to be tardy on approving your comment. And thank you for your kind words. I’m so happy you found the presentation useful. Alas, Ontario is not on the schedule in the foreseeable future. Of course, there are many resources in the On Writing section of this site. Hopefully, some of those will help you on your way. If you can travel, I highly recommend Orson Card’s Literary Bootcamp. If you can’t, you might want to check out some of the online workshops that Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Rusch put on. What genres are you writing in at the moment?