Careful what you read while you write (#IWSG Blog Hop)

At the beginning of this year, I was ready to write the last 60,000 words of a novel. Me, my laptop, and my research were tucked away in a tropical paradise, but the words I was writing, they were reading like they’d been spewed out of a meat grinder. I decided to take the day off and finish the book I was reading instead. A few pages in, I realized I had no interest in finishing the book in question. The prose was uninspired, as was I. Click the title above to continue reading.

How to beta your book for emotional responses of readers #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

Test screening is to film what beta reading is to authors. In film, studies are being done on technology that can gauge a test screen audience’s neuro and biometric responses. Suffice it to say, when this technology proves viable, I will not be able to afford it. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t want a way to know which parts of my books make people laugh, cry, or want to throw their e-reader against the wall. Click the title above to continue reading.

How to vary your syntactic use of metaphor #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

I noticed recently that Sylvia Plath, in her novel The Bell Jar, favored verbs as delivery vehicles for metaphor. Don’t get me wrong. The woman could work a metaphor along the syntactic spectrum, but the verbs really stuck out for me, and it occurred to me that in my own work, which contains a fair amount of metaphorical language, I hadn’t yet mastered Plath’s skill with verbal metaphors. Hence, this post in which I workshop one metaphorical image using different parts of speech and different phrase types. Click the title above to continue reading.

Authors, read for what irks you (#IWSG Blog Hop)

Easily avoidable misunderstandings as a device to create conflict, whether reading or watching it, I dislike this so much, it elicits an eye roll from me every time. The conflict just doesn’t feel logical. And because I’m aware that I don’t like this, I’m (hopefully) careful not to let this and other of my literary pet peeves happen in my own writing. Click the title above to continue reading.

3 techniques to reduce dialogue tags and cues in group scenes #AuthorToolboxBlogHop

With only two characters, we can get away with less dialogue tags and cues—also referred to as character, emotion or action beats—because if we know who’s speaking first, we can intuit that the next pair of quotes encloses dialogue from the only other character in the scene. But with groups of more than two speakers, scenes can become cluttered with dialogue tags and cues, which can make a passage more stilted than it needs to be. Here are three techniques that can help. Click the title above to continue reading.

9 factors to consider when trialing critique partners (#IWSG Blog Hop)

When on the lookout for critique partners, a genre match is important and you should have at least one, but it isn’t always the most important factor. Take a look at the nine criteria below, and the next time you’re scouting for a new CP, you may want to consider placing more emphasis on the eight that come after genre. Click the title above to continue reading.

On balancing and weighting writing advice (#IWSG Blog Hop)

You’re stuck on a question about how to use a writing device, and off to the Internet/library/bookstore you go. Perhaps you stop after article number one, thinking certainly this must be the definitive answer, because this publishing professional has game to spare. She may well, but still your search should continue. Why? Click the title above to continue reading.