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.
From a marketing standpoint, we authors want to see our books mentioned and photographed by as many readers as possible, as many times as possible, across social media and the blogosphere. I, personally, am more likely to post about a book more often, if that book has one or more quotable passages. And by quotable passages, I mean passages that…Click the title above to continue reading.
I had the privilege recently of attending a Crime Writers of Canada webinar called Plots, Plants and Poisons led by Elaine Freedman. I enjoyed the webinar so much, I asked Elaine if she would share her resource list on the literary applications of poisons with my readers. She agreed (yea!) and her annotated list of books and websites follows. I’d like to stress that I’m posting this solely as a resource for writers who are or would like to write about poisons. Click the title above to continue reading.
There’s a scene in Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects that gave me goosebumps, except the action responsible for said goosebumps had nothing to do with the plot. Click the title above to continue reading.