Once upon a time, I decided to write fiction. I consumed as many sources of craft advice (agent blogs, how-to-write books, author Twitter threads, etc.) as I could find. That advice often came in absolutes, as in, always write a certain genre in a certain tense, never start a story with a character waking up, and definitely don’t ever use -ly adverbs. Click the title above to continue reading.
I have a hard time reconciling actions when characters don’t know why they’re doing them. One or two instances of this in a story isn’t so bad, but more than that, and I start considering whether I should DNR the book. Click the title above to continue reading.
Writers write words to express, entertain, inspire, escape, empathize, honor, inform, persuade, profit, debate, overcome trauma, and more. But when we write words for readers, whatever our purposes or intentions, the effect is influence. We have the power to influence those who read our words, and with great power comes you know what. Click the title above to continue reading.
As in real life, our characters sometimes need to pause and reflect on something before responding. This silent beat is often indicated with an ellipsis or the word finally, as in, “Yes,” she said finally. Nothing wrong with marking a beat this way, but here are some alternatives you can use to invigorate some of the beats in your dialogue.
Below is a list of ways you can de-emphasize or delete some of the smaller characters in your manuscript. Click the title above to continue reading.
A couple of years ago, my critique partner, with respect to the first chapter of one of my books, asked me why I had only described my setting according to its non-human characteristics. The scene was outside a palliative care facility during the day, so wouldn’t folks be visiting relatives? Click the title above to continue reading.
While reading The Trouble with Goats and Sheep, I noticed that the author Joanna Cannon is a bit of a genius when it comes to lending physical traits to abstract concepts. To recap, metaphors are comparisons between two things, whether abstract or concrete, that share at least one commonality, whether abstract or concrete. Click the title above to continue reading.