Monday, March 31, 2014

Crafting Your Best Story - Writing Tip #1

Crafting Your Own Story is a book of writing tips that I contributed to Wattpad a while ago, but I thought I'd like to post the tips on this blog as well. I'll post a new one every Monday until I get to the end of the series.


Crafting a good story is hard.
You need a hooky idea, a cast of characters, and a plot. You need three acts, an inciting incident, and a terrific climax. Also character arc and story arc. Setting, conflict, tension.
And the list goes on.
The whole thing could be overwhelming to a beginning writer, and even for those of us who have been writing for a long time. We are all constantly learning how to keep getting better.
Good thing writing stories is so much fun!!

Tip #1:

Finding a Great Idea

Every great story begins with an idea.
Not just an idea, but a hooky idea. A hooky idea is something you can sum up in one line.

ie: Girl falls in love with a vampire who’s committed to not killing her.
Girl grows a blossom out of her back and finds out she’s a fairy just in time to fight the trolls and save her fairy kingdom.
Girl has uncontrollable time travel adventures and accidentally takes her secret crush back in time.
Germany boy growing up in WW2 stops believing the propaganda fed to him by his peers.

So, you have a hooky idea, now what?

You need to develop the idea. Take some time to “think write”. Sit in the sun, put your feet up and mull it over. Who is this story about? You don’t need to know everything about this person, but gender, age and situation are important. What plot ideas that support your hook come to you? Jot them down. A few new ideas, variables, crazy possibilities will come to you—write them all down. How about a title? Pick a title. It may change but you need something to work with.

Once you have a story starting to form, open a file on your computer and call it Hooky Book (whatever your working title is) notes.

You’ll find that as you go about your day and your week, more ideas will come to you. Enter them in your note file. These don’t all have to make sense. They’re just ideas you may or may not use, but you don’t want to forget them.

Don’t rush this process. Give yourself time to let the creative juices flow. Consider it similar to baking a loaf of bread (only in the book writing case, you can do it in any order and you don’t need to follow a recipe). Take time to knead your ideas together. Give it more time to sit and rise. And well, the baking….that takes much, much longer. :D

At some point you will have an idea of what the beginning, the middle and the end will look like (though these, of course, are subject to change). Now you’re ready for the next stepStructure.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Structure Lesson Video by Elle Strauss - under 10 min

Here's a video I did a few years back. I don't have that messy office anymore and sadly, not the cat either, but the information is still worth reviewing!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

300 Reviews on Amazon for Clockwise!

Three hundred reviews on one book is a big number -  at least for me and I'm excited to have recently crossed this threshold with my debut book, CLOCKWISE!

Casey Donovan has issues: hair, height and uncontrollable trips to the 19th century! And now this-she's accidentally taken Nate Mackenzie, the cutest boy in the school, back in time. Awkward.

It's the eve of the American Civil war and protocol pressures Casey to tell their hosts that Nate is her brother. No one more surprised than she is when they are forced to share a one room worker's cabin. Super awkward. 

Nate's slow to accept their new reality but when he does, he realizes he needs Casey to get back. His nearness is intoxicating to Casey, but she keeps her cool by hanging a privacy blanket and staying aloof. Knowing Nate has an evil girlfriend waiting for him at home helps.

Over time Casey gains the attention of a handsome, wealthy (and unwanted) suitor, and something changes in Nate. Are those romantic sparks or is it just "brotherly" protectiveness?

When they return to the present, things go back to the way they were before: Casey parked on the bottom rung of their school's social ladder and Nate perched high on the very the top. Except this time her heart is broken. Plus, her best friend is mad, her parents are split up, and her younger brother gets escorted home by the police.The only thing that could make life worse is if, by some strange twist of fate, she took Nate back to the past again.

Which of course, she does.

CLOCKWISE is free in ebook form everywhere, so if you haven't read it yet, help yourself to a copy!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

New Look for Elle Strauss

Spring is almost here and I figured it was time for a little blog clean up. My dual lives as Elle Strauss and Lee Strauss were getting too big and complex to keep everything together on one blog, so now there is two!

All my Elle Strauss books and news will still be featured here at

If you're looking for Lee Strauss books and news, check out my new site at

You can still reach me at

Love my birdie pic!