Books on Writing

For more than 20 years, Dancing on Coals Workshops have been a favorite among fiction writers, talking about conflict, motivation, goals, scene structure, plotting and more.

Scroll down to see which workshops are currently available in Kindle format, and check back each month for the newest addition.

The Dancing on Coals How-To Series

books for the fiction writer


Creating Characters with Character

From hero and heroine to protagonist and antagonist, main characters to sidekicks and walk-ons, you’ll learn the art and craft of breathing life into the characters in your story. Learn how to uncover what drives your characters emotionally, what they want from life and what they value. Explore the best uses of point-of-view and perspective, … Continue reading Creating Characters with Character

Mastering Story Conflict

For years, Mastering Story Conflict (by whatever name it was known at the time) was one of Dancing on Coals’ most popular workshops. Designed to help writers build strong, believable and realistic conflict in every book you write. this book focuses on the art and craft of conflict, both internal and external. You’ll learn how … Continue reading Mastering Story Conflict

Mastering Character Motivation

This book is focused on helping you create strong, realistic motivation for the characters in your novels. Motivation is one of the key elements of any novel. Strong, believable motivation can drive your story from page one to the final scene, while weak or unrealistic motivation can be the kiss of death. In this workshop, … Continue reading Mastering Character Motivation

Organic Plotting

This book is designed to work with plot, subplots, pacing, and turning points. This book focuses on creating the basic blueprint of your story, giving you a loose framework to follow as you write. This method can be as simple or as detailed as YOU choose to make it, leaving you free to have the best of both … Continue reading Organic Plotting

Mastering Scene & Sequel

You’ve heard about scene and sequel, and the idea of using it makes sense — but can you use scene and sequel and still maintain the fluid style of writing you prefer? Will using scene and sequel box you in, or can you still fly by the seat of your pants and see where the … Continue reading Mastering Scene & Sequel

Mastering Character Emotion

This book is designed to help authors get powerful character emotions out of their imaginations and onto the page. In this book you’ll learn how to get into your characters’ thoughts and feelings, how to identify common mistakes writers make with emotion, how to convey emotion using body language, and how to identify reader expectation and make … Continue reading Mastering Character Emotion

Avoiding Author Intrusion

Author intrusion jars readers, slows the pacing of your work, and puts a barrier between your reader and the story’s emotion. It often brings about contrived or impossible situations and breaks that magical connection between story-teller and reader. In this book, we’ll take a close look at author intrusion—one of fiction’s most deadly diseases. We’ll … Continue reading Avoiding Author Intrusion

Dodging the Dreaded Saggy Middle

Every writer has encountered at least one—the dreaded saggy middle of the novel-in-progress. It’s that place between set-up and climactic ending where conflict often droops, motivation wilts, and scenes begin to feel repetitive. You’ll learn how to work with your characters, their goals, conflicts, and motivation to keep the story fresh all the way through. … Continue reading Dodging the Dreaded Saggy Middle

Revising Your Novel

In this book, we focus on what to do once you’ve finished the first draft of your novel. We’ll take you from rough first-draft to polished finished product by putting all your skills at work together. Learn how to look at the whole landscape instead of just that cloud in the corner, how to revise in … Continue reading Revising Your Novel

Mastering the Mystery Novel

Clues and red herrings. Murder and mayhem. Suspects, victims, and protagonists. In this book we’re talking about writing the mystery novel. We’ll look at the various elements of the genre, talk about plotting, about building suspense and hiding clues in plain sight. We’ll discuss how to plant red herrings that don’t give themselves away, how … Continue reading Mastering the Mystery Novel