Articles about writing style
Have you noticed how many rules you must follow when writing your novel? Some of them, like having a strong beginning, engaging middle, and exciting conclusion, are good advice. Then other rules, like how to format your novel for submission and checking submission guidelines first, are pretty strict. Finally, there are rules meant to be broken.Read More »
Shifting back and forth in time creates suspense. Your readers can unravel the past and understand the ramifications in the present a little at a time. It creates a tension that makes your books hard to put down.Read More »
Having a relationship with an editor you can trust, one who is flexible enough to work around your tight schedule is one way to do it. But even then, you need to ensure the that your editor is spending most of her time on the meat of your story like plot and character development, and less time on the technical stuff like sentence construction and word choice. Ideally, you want your text to be as tight as possible BEFORE you send it to your editor.Read More »
Cursed exclamation points! What purpose do they serve in modern literature? They’re still taught as basic punctuation, but their existence is frowned upon. Last I heard, no more than two should be used in an entire novel. Two? That’s it? Even for thrillers and horror?! This topic outrages me to the point of using them after every sentence, even the questions.Read More »
A finished manuscript is not a polished manuscript, and editors, agents, and readers want a polished manuscript—a finished product that lives up to the quality standards we’ve come to expect.
Whether you’re writing fiction, nonfiction, a blog post, a magazine article, or any other piece of professional writing, you need to edit your work.
And you need to edit it multiple times!Read More »
Learning how to write a book is a many-stepped process – finding a story idea you love, outlining, drafting, rewriting and editing. Although you will encounter challenges during your first draft, asking good questions and acting on your answers will help you keep focused and finish:Read More »
You need to crank up your story's tension and conflict in every chapter. Let's look at a few techniques to help sustain the drama you've created and keep pages turning at each chapter ending.Read More »
I have known my cowriter for six years. It’s a long story full of coincidences and serendipity, but it completely changed my writing process. I rely on her in so many ways.
We both wrote on an anonymous writing website where we worked on stories under pseudonyms. My cowriter and I met in the typical way: she reviewed my chapter, and out of common courtesy, I reviewed hers in return. We liked each other’s work, so we continued to follow and review, and we eventually started private messaging. Even then, we mostly talked about our writing, but over time, we started getting to know each other beyond our pseudonyms.Read More »
“Writing is the socially acceptable way of getting naked in public. And in writing, getting naked is all about shedding your inhibitions, learning from self, learning from the greats and chartering a path along the road less traveled.”Read More »
There are almost no authors writing female characters that don't depend on a romance subplot to carry a book. That's because the Hero's Journey, Campbell's famous framework for the classic tale of a hero on a quest, doesn't work well for a female protagonist.Read More »
What do we love so much about Elizabeth Bennet? She's strong, and she's feisty. Just because she's expected to act a certain way doesn't mean she'll bend her convictions and change her behavior. She's real, right?Read More »
I set out on a quest to find if this world has more planners or pants-ers. Alas, there is no definitive answer, at least on the internet. I did, however, determine that most writing instructors ask their students who is a planner and who is a pants-er. This informal poll-taking reports about 50/50.
So, whether you're a planner or a pants-er, you're in good company. How do we know? Here are some famous authors who plan and those who fly by the seat of their pants.Read More »
Are you trying to fit into a genre or sub-genre because it's popular right now? That's like trying to fit into a political party when your philosophy is somewhere in the middle. It's hard to find the right fit in either party, right?
Maybe it's time you created your own sub-genre or genre. Look at what Bridget Jones's Diary did for chick lit. And what The Hunger Games did for YA dystopian. And I'm still not sure how to categorize Jodi Picoult's novels. If you look up the genres of her books, you'll find "Genre: Fiction + Literature; Sub-Genre: Literary or Contemporary." Huh? Nonetheless, she's created her own space on the best seller list.Read More »
Think of some of the great nemesis pairs in fiction: Harry Potter and Voldemort, Katniss Everdeen and President Snow, Professor Xavier and Magneto, Superman and Lex Luthor… But there's none better than Batman and The Joker.
The Joker is responsible for numerous tragedies in Batman's life like paralyzing Batgirl and murdering Robin. He's such a popular character that he's ranked 8th on the list of Greatest Comic Book Characters of All Time. One reason he's the perfect nemesis is The Joker is the complete and utter opposite of Batman: he's savage, violent, unpredictable, and will do anything because he has no respect for human life. As Michael Caine said in Dark Knight, The Joker "just wants to see the world burn."Read More »
Writers who use satire to get their point across do so by wielding humor, wit, irony, or sarcasm. They expose an individual or society for its weaknesses, corruption, hypocrisy, or foolishness. And no one does it better than Mark Twain.Read More »
Good stories move people to action. They create sympathy, which opens up wallets for donations. Or a good story can start a revolution. At the least, a good story is memorable and influences your readers enough to sell. Just like a great fiction story, when you use a story in your content, you're actually putting your reader in the driver's seat so they can envision themselves having/using your product or service.Read More »
Writing isn't magic. There's no fairy godmother called "Muse" who comes to you and waves her magic pen to fill your head with ideas and words. It's hard work, and you must sit in front of the computer or grab pen and paper and get your work done.Read More »
An allegory is a story that evokes two separate meanings. The first meaning is the story's surface, like characters and plot, the stuff that goes into every story. But at a much deeper level, an allegory has a symbolic, heavy meaning.
What allegories come to mind? Maybe The Lord of the Flies; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; Moby Dick; or Pilgrim's Progress?Read More »
A CV is a tool to capture all of your thoughts about your main character and keep track of the many idiosyncrasies and character traits. Just as important, it helps you capture and record the intertwined relationships of all the characters in your novel. Especially if you use several points of view or have multiple main characters, you need to capture them each distinctly.Read More »
Homer Simpson has only one focus in this world: himself. He has some pretty unlikable characteristics, I'm sure everyone can agree. Why do we love to hate Homer and hate to love him so much? Because he's a well-done anti-hero, that's why.Read More »
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