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Find the perfect balance and give your libido a jolt with these yogasanas.
The ancient art of yoga has always taught us to take life one deep breath at a time. With the sheer chaos all of us face on a dailybasis, yoga can help strengthen your bond with your partner. Here are some fabulous poses to get your libido to wake up and smell the coffee.
Cat-cow fl ow

“The fl ow between the cat and cow pose is an
effective self-massage for the spinal column, and it also strengthens the mula bandha or the pelvic floor muscles,” says Delhi-based yoga instructor Mansi Mahajan. Get into it 1. Start on all fours on the floor with your arms shoulder-width apart and knees hip-width apart.

2. Arch the back, bringing your belly to the fl oor while pushing your head and tailbone towards the ceiling, making a curve (cow).

3. Then tuck your belly in while curving your back, doing the exact opposite by bringing your hips and neck closer to the fl oor while extending your spine towards the ceiling (cat).
Downward facing dog

Supreet Sapra, yoga instructor and founder of Yog’Aloha, Navi Mumbai, says not only does this pose tone the muscles, it is also sexy in itself and will leave you feeling strong, supple and relaxed. Get into it

1. Start on all fours, with your weight evenly distributed.

2. Slowly stretch your elbows and lift your knees off the fl oor as you straighten your legs.

3. Make sure your pelvis is tucked in, as your glutes stretch towards the ceiling. Keep your neck relaxed and drop your head towards the fl oor.

Rajshree Vora,
founder of Rajshree Yoga, Mumbai,[DONT FOLLOW THE IMAGE IT HAS SOME VARIATION TRY AS GIVEN BELOW]swears by this one. “We hold a lot of pent-up anger in our hip area, and if we don’t do any sort of physical activity to flush it out, we are stuck with a stagnant pelvis. That’sdefinitely no good for sex,” she says.

1. Sit on the floor with your back straight.
2. Place your feet together with the soles touching, making a diamond shape with your legs.
3. Now start pulling your heels towards your body while keeping your back straight and exhale.
The eagle

Holding this pose requires poise and steadiness. Your mind has to focus, says Mahajan. Also, when you release your legs, all the blood comes fl ooding pleasurably back through the cervix. Get into it

1. Find your balance on your left/right foot. Slowly wrap the other leg around the fl at leg and tuck the foot in on the calf, wherever you can reach.

2. Once you fi nd your comfortable balance zone, bring your pelvis lower as if you are taking a seat.

3. Inhale and cross the left arm over the right, fold forearms at elbow, wrap around each other to bring palms together. Slightly lift your elbows while keeping your palms together for that sweet stretch on your back.
Happy baby

Happy baby releases the lower back, sacrum and glutes, and stretches the hamstrings and spine. Get into it

1. Lie on your back, lift your legs off the fl oor in a split position. Slowly pull your knees towards your shoulders.

2. Use your hands to hold your legs in place; tuck your hands on the soles of your feet or hold behind your knee for better grip.

3. Once you fi nd stability, lengthen your spine and push your lower back flatter on the floor.


The Seychelles

Everyone dreams of telling their boss: “I’m not coming into work today, I’ve won the lottery.”This dream became a reality for these winners when they each scooped more than a million pounds on the National Lottery.The cash draw has just created its 4,000th millionaire.According to Camelot, the average winner buys FIVE cars and goes for THREE holidays every year.


Wales Online caught up with three winners to find out how winning the jackpot has changed their lives.

Denise and Paul Hardware

Paul Hardware had just found out he was going to be made redundant from his job as a chef when he discovered he had won nearly £5m.

The 51-year-old from Cardiff had been working opposite shifts to his wife Denise, a bakery supervisor, and the couple hardly saw each other.

“We’d been buying lottery tickets for 14 years and we’d won a couple of tenners, but that was it,” said Denise.

After discovering Paul was going to lose his job, the pair decided to add an extra line of lucky dip numbers to their ticket.

Kept checking the numbers

“I looked the numbers up on Teletext,” recalled Paul. “I checked them and checked them again. I refused to turn Teletext off in case the numbers changed!”

The pair had to wait for two hours before the Camelot office opened at 9am and in the meantime, Denise had to go into work.

When Paul made the phone call, he was told they had all six numbers and had won a total of £4,986,272.

Quit jobs immediately

The couple, who are dedicated rugby fans, chose to have their cheque presentation at the Millennium Stadium, where they were met by scrum-half legend Gareth Edwards.

Paul and Denise both left their jobs straight away and decided to go on a cruise to the Mediterranean to let the news sink in.The Royal Princess cruise ship

When they returned home, they paid off their mortgage and bought their dream home in Somerset.

They also bought a second-hand Vauxhall Astra for their son Matthew, who was 20 at the time and had just written off his old car.

Since then, they have bought three more properties for Matthew and other family members, as well as a caravan for themselves in Trecco Bay, Porthcawl.

“We’d both been staying there since we were children and it’s a great base for visiting the family,” said Denise.Trecco Bay, Porthcawl, Caravan Park

Helped fund son’s degree

The couple have also been able to help Matthew, 28, to fund his degree in animal biology and conservation from Oxford Brookes University.

“I trained him up as a chef, but it’s great that we’ve been able to help him fulfil what he always wanted to do,” said Paul.

The couple have set up savings accounts for their three grandchildren – seven-year-old Francesca, four-year-old Logan and two-year-old James.

“Life has changed so much since we won,” said Denise. “It’s lovely to be able to spoil the grandchildren.”Welsh Lottery winners Denise and Paul Hardware

Paul and Denise’s win in numbers

August 18, 2007 : The date of their win

£5m: The amount they won

£44,000: What it cost to pay off their mortgage

£3,000: Cost of a cruise in the Mediterranean

£450,000: Cost of a house in Somerset

£31,000: Price of a caravan in Trecco Bay

£1m: Amount spent on property (that’s four houses in total)

£40,000 : The price of helping their son through university

Welsh Lottery winner Nigel Willetts

Nigel Willetts

Pub landlord Nigel Willetts, 49, accidentally pulled a £20 note out of his pocket when he was buying lottery tickets.

“It was a bit of an accident,” he recalled. “I used to do the lottery as and when. If I was in the shop, I’d buy £10 worth of tickets, but on this occasion, I pulled a £20 note out of my wallet.

“It was a rollover, so I decided to spend the £20 and did a lucky dip.”

Nigel, who had been running the Bridgend Inn at Bedwas for seven years, discovered he had won on the Saturday evening.

“I just didn’t believe it,” he said. “I got my sister Wendy to check the ticket for me. She thought I was joking!

“I was scared to give it to the girl behind the counter. She told me to ring Camelot, but I was worried about making a fool of myself. Then they told me I’d won a million pounds.”

Celebrated with pub lock-in

Nigel chose to have his cheque presentation in the pub with his regulars and had an all-night lock-in to celebrate.

“I wanted everyone to be able to enjoy it, they were all so excited,” he said.

“The money was in the bank by the Tuesday – I was amazed. I thought it would take much longer.”

Nigel had met his fiancé Karen the week before his win and phoned her to tell her the good news.

He later proposed in Venice and the pair will tie the knot next year, before heading for a honeymoon in the Seychelles.Range Rover Sport

Took 13 family members to Florida

Nigel’s sister has taken over the day-to-day running of the pub and he has paid off the mortgage, as well as buying a new house and a Range Rover Sport.

He treated 13 family members to a holiday in Florida and has also travelled to Mexico and Dubai and is planning to visit Las Vegas for his 50th birthday.

Nigel has also invested in a trampoline centre called Go Air and hopes to expand the business across Europe.

“It really does change your life,” he said. “Although I haven’t changed as a person. It’s nice to be able to relax a bit and to help your family out.”

Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Nigel’s win in numbers:

Friday, June 13, 2014: Date he bought his ticket

£20: Amount he spent on lottery tickets

13,000,000 to one: The odds of winning

£96,000: Price of his Range Rover Sport

£1m: What he won

£375,000: The cost of his house

£50,000: What he spent on holidays (to Mexico, Venice, Benidorm, Dubai, Spain, Florida)

£200,000: What he spent on property (that’s three properties)

Welsh Lottery winner Matthew Evans

Matthew Evans

Former postman Matthew Evans left his winning ticket scrunched up in his pocket for three days before realising he had won £2.6m.

The 35-year-old from Barry, who won in July this year, only checked his lottery ticket when he went to buy another ticket for the following week.

“The girl behind the counter said she couldn’t give me the money and told me I’d have to ring Camelot,” he said.

“I assumed there was a problem with the ticket, then I realised I must have won quite a lot of money.

“I went home to my parents and said: ‘I think I’ve won the lottery’. We checked and I had all six numbers. My dad had a safe, so we put the ticket straight in there.”

Bought breakfast for pals – then went to The Ashes

When he phoned Camelot, Matthew discovered he was the only winner and would receive £2.6m.

The next day, he went for breakfast with friends before going to watch The Ashes in Cardiff.

“I bought the breakfasts and that’s when I told them,” he said. “They didn’t believe me at first.”

Matthew, who has had a Cardiff City season ticket for the last 18 years, had his cheque presentation at Cardiff City Stadium.

Cardiff City Stadium and the Fred Keenor statue

Bought his sister a new kitchen

As soon as his winnings were in the bank, Matthew took his sister Michelle, a mum-of-eight, shopping for a new kitchen and bought his dad a car.

He is now taking a “career break” while he decides what to do. After saving for a house deposit for years, he has bought a home in the Vale of Glamorgan.

Matthew has been to the US for the National Football League, to Cyprus to watch Wales play football and paid for a box at Cardiff City Stadium.

Next year, he plans to take his mum to the Wimbledon final and his dad to the Monaco Grand Prix.Properties for sale

In numbers: The National Lottery

4,000: Number of millionaires and multi-millionaires created since November 1994

70%: Proportion of adults in the UK play the National Lottery on a regular basis

69%: Proportion of millionaire winners who move house

4.5: Number of cars bought by the average winner for themselves or immediate family

20: Number of cars bought by one winner

52%: Proportion hand in their notice after winning

7%: Percentage who set up their own business

3.4: Number of holidays a year taken by average winner

4%: Percentage who go for eight or more holidays a year

27%: Percentage who buy a dog after their win

Video thumbnail, Find out how these teens blew their Lottery winnings


With the wide sweep of their talent and the unfallingly photogenic quality of their beauty, these B-town divas have charmed millions of film buffs. They’re bankable stars, enduring brand and role models for young people in India and everywhere. Join  us in raising a toast to the reigning queens of Bollywood..


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How to have twins

How to have twins

The idea of having twins tends to polarise people. Some couples say they’d love the chance to parent two babies and others react in an entirely different way. If you are a twin or have twin siblings then your concept of the reality is likely to be very different to someone who’s never had anything to do with more than one baby at a time.

Are twins common?

Many reproductive experts believe that as humans we probably have more twin pregnancies than any of us are aware of. Technological advances have found that it is reasonably common for there to be more than one embryo conceived and implanted, but of these, only one is viable and survives.

How do twins happen?

If you are keen to increase your chances of conceiving two babies then it’s important to understand how twins are made.

There are two types of twins; identical and non-identical. Identical or monozygotic twins are formed when one egg is fertilized by one sperm which then divides into two separate embryos. Each shares exactly the same genetic components and identical genetic structures. Identical twins also share a placenta.

Non-identical or dizygotic twins form from two separate eggs being fertilised by two separate sperm. These twins are their own unique little individuals and share no more genetic composition than siblings with the same parents. Each baby in a non-identical twin pair will have its own placenta.

Another name for non-identical twins is fraternal; the other name for identical twins is non-fraternal.

What about twins in families?

Twins do run in families. But the genetic predisposition for having twins only applies to the mother. It is her family history which influences the chances of her having hyper ovulation.

Any woman can have identical twins and family history does not play a role with these.

What are the odds of having twins?

Currently in Australia 1.6% of all pregnancies result in multiple births and of these, 98% are twins. Naturally conceived twins occur once in around every eighty nine births. The majority of twins who are born are non identical and a result of two eggs being fertilised.

Some fraternal twins look very similar; others share some resemblance whilst the remainder may not even look the slightest bit related.

What will help boost my chances of having twins?

  • Being older rather than younger helps. It seems to be a twist of nature that just before a woman enters peri-menopause, her ovaries start releasing more than one egg each month. This “fertility spike” is also influenced by a surge of oestrogen. Fertility research has proven that twin pregnancies are much more common in women who are over 35 years. But this only applies to non-identical twins.
  • Have fertility assistance such as in vitro fertilisation or take fertility drugs. These stimulate the ovaries to support more than one ovarian follicle each month towards maturity. The result is that more than one egg is released.
  • Pick your own genetics carefully! Though we all know this is impossible. But if you come from a family where non-identical twins are common then your family history and genetic endowment means that you’ve got a greater chance of having them yourself. But identical twins can occur in any family.
  • Be of African/American heritage. Women from this ethnic background have a distinctly higher rate of twin pregnancies.
  • Having been pregnant before. Women who have previously had a baby or two have a higher chance of conceiving with twins.
  • Have a big family. This theory is based on pure maths; the more times you conceive the greater the likelihood of conceiving more than one baby.
  • Get pregnant while you are on the pill. Difficult as this can be overall, there is a higher incidence of women conceiving with twins when they are on oral contraceptives.
  • Try to conceive straight after you have stopped taking the pill. The theory is that for the first couple of cycles the woman’s body is going through a hormonal readjustment phase.
  • Already have a set of twins. Because the likelihood of conceiving with twins again is higher in women who’ve already had them.
  • Be heavier rather than lighter so that you’ve got a higher body mass index (BMI). Some researchers claim that a woman with a BMI of greater than 30 boosts her chances. But considering a healthy range during the fertile years is 20-25 and 30 would put you into the overweight/obese category then this is not a healthy recommendation.
  • Taller women tend to conceive more twins. But there is nothing you can do about your height, other than blame your parents!
  • Take a folic acid supplement before you conceive. The general recommendation for women who are planning to conceive is to start taking folic acid supplements one month before conception.
  • Encourage your partner to eat some oysters. The urban myth about oysters being an aphrodisiac is not entirely without basis. Oysters are high in zinc and this helps with sperm production. The more healthy and mobile his sperm are, the greater the likelihood of being able to fertilise an egg or two. If he’s keen to take supplements, the recommendation for men in their fertile years is 14mg/day. Green leafy vegetables, cereals, bread, seeds and wheat germ are all excellent sources of zinc.
  • Be a twin yourself. Mothers who are twins are more likely to have twin babies. There is no influence on the male partner’s side, only the mother’s. But it does seem that fathers may pass the twin gene onto their daughters for their future conception possibilities.
  • Eat more yams/sweet potatoes. It is a fact that more women conceive with twins who live in areas where yams are a major component of their diet. It seems that a naturally occurring chemical component of the yams helps to support ovarian function.
  • Keep breastfeeding your older baby or toddler. Women who are producing prolactin and breastfeeding are more likely to conceive with twins. Though some women do not resume regular ovulation and menstrual cycles for the entire time they are breastfeeding; this is very individual.

What’s fact and what’s fiction when having twins?

  • The idea that conceiving twins skips a generation is not true. Although there can appear to be a pattern in some families of this happening, the odds of having identical twins is the same for every woman.
  • Eating a diet which is high in dairy foods, milk and meat is said to help, especially at the time of ovulation. But there is no scientific evidence to support this.
  • Alternative therapies do not increase the likelihood. There is no scientific evidence to support the theory that accupuncture, naturopathy, aromatherapy, chiropractic or flower essences increase the likelihood of having twins.


As the weather warms up, so do most smokers. There is something about the spring and summer months that brings out the toker in all of us. And, sometimes, it brings out our green thumbs, too!

For the more enthusiastic cannabis lover, their attention often turns from rolling joints to another facet of the plant—cultivation. Around this time every year we get flooded with questions from the home hobbyist asking about growing “just one little pot plant” in their own home.

Well, that’s music to our ears here at HIGH TIMES! After all, we’ve been doing this for 40 years, and now it is 2015 and marijuana is (mostly) legal in over half the country. And to be sure, no law enforcement is going to harass you over just one plant, even on their slowest day.

How to Begin

First, let’s remove any fear you may have that this is going to be difficult. It is not.

We call it “weed” for a reason—because it grows easily and anywhere, like a weed. That being said, there is one central aspect to growing a pot plant that everyone needs to understand, and that is that cannabis is a flowering plant, meaning that in nature it bears its fruits only once a year, during the fall season when the daylight hours grow shorter.

This is important for the home indoor grower because the light period, or photoperiod, of the plant must be controlled. What this simply means is that a pot plant must be placed in 12+ hours of light every day in order to keep the plant from flowering.

You might ask, “Why not just let the plant flower immediately and harvest some nice buds and get to the smoking?”

Well, in truth, you could do that. But if an immature plant flowers too early, there won’t be much harvest to be had. Ideally, a pot plant need to grow, or “vegetate,” for at least a few weeks before flowering. Otherwise, the harvesting of it’s fruit will be extremely disappointing.

In order to keep a plant in vegetation and to garner a healthy, well-developed specimen, a young seedling should be grown for four to six weeks before flowering is induced. During this time, the plant should get a minimum of 16 hours of light, but 18-20 hours is a safer bet. To do this indoors—even near a window with good sunlight—a lamp will be needed to ensure the proper length of its photoperiod.

Horticultural Lighting

Your lamp is going to be the most expensive part of the process, but there are relatively inexpensive lamps available that will do the job. Serious growers use more specialized and expensive lamps, but to grow just one plant at home, many lights will work. A 250-watt HID (high-intensity discharge) bulb—either an HPS (high-pressure sodium) or MH (metal halide)—can be found in hardware stores such as Lowe’s or Home Depot for as little as $25. However, these bulbs do require a specialized HID fixture and/or ballast, as they do not screw into any standard home fixture safely. (These fixtures may run as much as $200.)

Alternatively, if you do have a window with very good light and the power of the sun for a good portion of the day, you can also use fluorescent bulbs to supplement the sunlight after sunset. Fluorescent bulbs such as T5’s, T8’s or even CFL’s can provide enough light to keep your plant in a vegetative state.

However, remember that the less intense the light, the less the plant will develop. The option of fluorescent bulbs should only be used as supplemental light for plants that receive strong sunlight during the day. If the light provided during the day is too weak, a plant will stretch wildly and not develop well enough for a harvest. If this is the case, consider using the 250-watt HID option for the full 12-hour photoperiod during flowering, away from a window in it’s own enclosed location.

Triggering the Flowering Cycle

Once your plant has developed enough and reached a point that she can produce enough flowers for a decent harvest, it is time to bring her light cycle to an even 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark each day. This does not mean that you will no longer need your lamp though. During the 12-hour photoperiod of flowering, the plant will need the strongest light possible to help her produce energy for her fruit.

If your plant could be in direct sunlight for these 12 hours, you would not need strong supplemental lighting. However, even outdoors this is usually not possible. Your best option for flowering is to move your plant into an enclosed location such as a closet or cabinet where you can hang your lamp overhead and control the light cycle exactly as needed. To do this, use a standard outlet timer and set it to a 12-hour cycle.

During the dark cycle, it is extremely important that no light enters the plant space. Any light leaks can disrupt the plant’s flowering and cause stress or confuse the plant, forcing her to hermaphrodite (creating seeded flowers) or severely weaken yield and quality.

Other Tips & Tricks

Aside from your light and the possible need for an enclosed space, other considerations for your plant include container types, mediums and nutrients. Because this discussion pertains to a single plant, there are many viable options for these aspects of cultivation.

The best options for plant containers are those that offer breathability, such as fabric pots. Other considerations for plant pots include drainage holes and saucers to catch run-off. Remember not to let your plants sit in stagnant water for long periods of time as the pH will change and eventually be redrawn by the medium and the plant. Siting water also attracts bugs and molds.

In terms of medium, a small bag of organic potting soil usually will do the trick just fine. Peat-, coco-, or sphagnum-based mediums are also excellent choices. Remember to choose an airy medium that will allow air to penetrate the root zone. Roots breath in oxygen, while the plant above ground breathes in CO2.

Some mediums, especially organic soils, may come with mild organic nutrients such as guano or sea kelp already mixed in. This will lessen the amount of nutrients you will need to give your plant and may not require any feedings at all until you begin flowering. Recommendations for nutrients also tend towards the organic side whenever possible. Steer clear of salt-heavy synthetics such as Miracle Gro and other artificial nutrients, as they will cause more problems than they are worth.

Other than those points, remember that growing a pot plant—or any plant for that matter—is an exercise that connects you with nature. The goal is to enjoy the process, to learn and to have fun!

Thanks for reading everyone and remember: Grow… And help the world grow, too!


I have a one-hundred-and-five-page book. It weighs four ounces. The Boston Globe thinks that “No book in shorter space, with fewer words, will help any writer more than this persistent little volume.” The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White, a treasure trove of wisdom about writing style, is as elemental to a writer as practicing scales is to a pianist.

10 Essential Principles of Style

Strunk and White gave us several principles of composition and style. These are my top tips, counting down from ten.

10. Use The Active Voice

The active voice is more direct and forceful.

9. Put Statements in Positive Form

Do not write what is not happening. Write definite assertions.

8. Use Definite, Specific Concrete Language

Words that are general, vague or abstract are unlikely to hold the reader’s attention.

7. Write With Nouns and Verbs

Nouns and verbs are preferable to adverbs and adjectives.

6. Avoid The Use of Qualifiers

Rather, very, little, pretty—these are the leeches that infest the pond of prose, sucking the blood of words. —Strunk and White

5. Do Not Explain Too Much

The use of adverbs after he said, or she said, is cluttered and annoying. “He said sadly” or “she said triumphantly” is not advisable.

4. Do Not Construct Awkward Adverbs

3. Be Clear

When you write make sure your intent is clear.

2. Revise and Rewrite

Save the original and what you have rewritten. Write, and revise, and be brave to experiment with what you have written.

1. Omit Needless Words

One Elemental Writing Guide

The Elements of Style, in addition to advising on composition and style, has a section on grammar, “Elementary Rules of Usage,” and a chapter on “Misused Words and Expressions.” The book is an excellent reference for writers who want to understand the basic elements of writing. I keep a copy of the 4 oz book in my bag and read it when I am waiting in line at the doctor’s office, or waiting for my peas to cook.

Do you have a copy of The Elements of Style? We will be giving away a copy to five randomly selected writers who comment by next Tuesday, January 24.

What is your best advice about writing style? Let us know in the comments.


For today’s practice, you have two choices:

  • Take a section from something you have already written and edit it using one or more of the tips above.
  • Or, write something new using the suggestions listed above. Perhaps your story will be about someone waiting for their peas to cook.

Whichever practice you choose, write for fifteen minutes. When you’re done, please share your writing in the comments section and give your fellow writers feedback and encouragement.


Writing isn’t easy, and writing a good story is even harder.

I used to wonder how Pixar came out with such great movies, year after year. Then, I found out a normal Pixar film takes six years to develop, and most of that time is spent on the story.

In this article, you’ll learn ten secrets about how to write a story, and more importantly, how to write a story that’s good.

Everything I Know About How to Write a Better Story

Since I started The Write Practice a few years ago, I’ve been trying to wrap my head around this question, how to write a good story. I’ve read books and blog posts on writing, taken classes, asked dozens of authors, and, of course, written stories myself.

The following ten steps are a distillation of everything I’ve learned about writing a good story. I hope it makes writing your story a little easier, but more than that, I hope it challenges you to step deeper into your own exploration of how to write a story.

1. Write In One Sitting

Write the first draft of your story in as short a time as possible. If you’re writing a short story, try to write it in one sitting. If you’re writing a novel, try to write it in one season (three months).

Don’t worry too much about plotting or outlining beforehand. You can do that once you know you have a story to tell in the first place. Your first draft is a discovery process. You are like an archeologist digging an ancient city out of the clay. You might have a few clues about where your city is buried beforehand, but you don’t know what it will look like until it’s unearthed.

All that’s to say, get digging!

2. Develop Your Protagonist

Stories are about protagonists, and if you don’t have a good protagonist, you won’t have a good story. The essential ingredient for every protagonist is that they must make decisions. Victor Frankl said, “A human being is a deciding being.” Your protagonist m3ust make a decision to get herself into whatever mess she gets into in your story, and likewise, she must decide to get herself out of the mess.

To further develop your protagonist, use other character archetypes like the villain, the protagonist’s opposite, or the fool, a sidekick character that reveals the protagonist’s softer side.

3. Create Suspense and Drama

To create suspense, set up a dramatic question. A dramatic question is something like, “Is he going to make it?” or, “Is she going to get the man of her dreams?” By putting your protagonist’s fate in doubt, you make the reader ask, What happens next?

Note: To do this well, you need to carefully restrict the flow of information to the reader. Nothing destroys drama like over-sharing.

4.  Show, Don’t Tell

Honestly, the saying “show, don’t tell” is overused. However, when placed next to the step above, it becomes very effective.

When something interesting happens in your story that changes the fate of your character, don’t tell us about it. Show the scene! Your readers have a right ro see the best parts of the story play out in front of them. Show the interesting parts of your story, and tell the rest.

5. Write Good Dialogue

Good dialogue comes from two things: intimate knowledge of your characters and lots of rewriting.

Each character must have a unique voice, and to make sure your characters all sound different, read each character’s dialogue and ask yourself, “Does this sound like my character?” If your answer is no, then you have some rewriting to do.

Also, with your speaker tags, try not to use anything but “he said” and “she said.” Speaker tags like “he exclaimed,” “she announced,” and “he spoke vehemently” are distracting and unnecessary. The occasional “he asked” is fine, though.

6. Write About Death

Think about the last five novels you read. In how many of them did a character die? Good stories often involve death. Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, Charlotte’s WebThe Lord of the Rings, and more all had main characters who died. Death is the universal theme because every person who lives will one day die. Tap the power of death in your storytelling.

7. Edit Like a Pro

Most professional writers write three drafts or more. The first draft is often called the “vomit draft” or the “shitty first draft.” Don’t share it with anyone! Your first draft is your chance to explore your story and figure out what it’s about.

Your second draft isn’t for polishing, although many new writers will try to polish as soon as they can to clean up their embarrassing first draft. Instead, the second draft is meant for major structural changes and for clarifying the plot and characters of your novel or the key ideas of your non-fiction book.

The third draft is for deep polishing. Now is when everything starts to gel. This is the fun part! But until you write the first two drafts, polishing is probably a waste of your time.

8. Know the Rules, Then Break Them

Good writers know all the rules and follow them. Great writers know all the rules and break them. However, the best writers don’t break the rules arbitrarily. They break them because their stories require a whole new set of rules. Respect the rules, but remember that you don’t serve the rules. You serve your stories.

9. Defeat Writer’s Block

The best way to defeat writers block is to write. If you’re stuck, don’t try to write well. Don’t try to be perfect. Just write.

Sometimes, to write better stories, you have to start by taking the pressure off and just writing.

10. Share Your Work

You write better when you know someone will soon be reading what you’ve written. If you write in the dark, no one will know if you aren’t giving your writing everything you have. But when you share your writing, you face the possibility of failure. This will force you to write the best story  you possibly can.

What are your best tips on how to write a story?


Do you have a story to tell?

Write the first draft in one sitting using the tips above. Then, share a few paragraphs of your practice here in the comments section. And if you share your practice, be sure to leave feedback on a few practices by other writers, too.

Good luck!download