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.
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.
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.
In Jessica Strawser’s debut Almost Missed You, two characters have a life-changing date at Cincinnati’s Lumenocity, an orchestra-curated light-show. Anyone remember the scene when Harrison Ford’s Richard Kimble slips into Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade to evade pursuers? How much more exciting does Pride and Prejudice become once the Bennett sisters have a ball to look forward to? Some of these events are more integral to plot than others, but all of them make the stories they’re included in more interesting as a result. Click the title above to continue reading.
I was watching Lady Bird recently. It’s summer in the beginning when the protagonist breaks her arm, and then a whole bunch of stuff happens, including Thanksgiving, and then cut to her cast being taken off, and I instantly had a sense of how much time has passed. Click the title above to continue reading.
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.
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.
I often read blogs where writers are told to avoid overused expressions like the plague. In my humble opinion, there are ways to update cliches so that they resonate, more often than not to humorous effect. Click the title above to continue reading.