Why Nobody Cares About Your Plot

Why Nobody Cares About Your Plot

Mar 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

A harsh truth today from fiction-land: Readers don’t care about your plot. They care about how your plot affects your characters. You can have as many betrayals, breakups, fights, CIA conspiracies, evil war lords, double-crossings, sudden bouts of amnesia, comas, and flaming meteors racing directly toward Manhattan as you want. But if readers don’t understand

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How to Use Adverbs Like a Pro

How to Use Adverbs Like a Pro

Feb 15, 2017 | 0 Comments

Contrary to popular fiction writing wisdom, adverbs are not always the devil. Like anything, they quickly become problematic when poorly used or overused. However when used well and sparingly, they can be a great asset to your writing. Case in point: Here are some examples of well-chosen, well-used adverbs penned by published fiction writers… “They

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How to Activate Your Passive Characters

How to Activate Your Passive Characters, One Verb at a Time

Feb 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

Here’s a quick tip: Active, dynamic verbs make for active, dynamic characters. (And conversely, weak, passive verbs make for weak, passive characters!) Instead of writing characters who have strong motivations, and who actively go out and try to get what they want, beginning fiction writers often create characters who are passive. In other words, the

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3 Easy Ways to Transform Boring Descriptions

3 Easy Ways to Transform Boring Descriptions

Jan 3, 2017 | 0 Comments

We’ve all been warned about the dangers of using too much description. Readers don’t want to read three paragraphs about a sunset, we’re told. Description slows down a story; it’s boring and self-indulgent. You should keep your description as short and simple as possible. For those who take a more scientific approach to writing fiction,

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3 Ways to Increase Conflict in Your Dialogue

3 Ways to Increase Conflict in Your Dialogue

Dec 15, 2016 | 0 Comments

One of the biggest problems I see in fiction writers’ dialogue is a lack of conflict. (Come to think of it, one of the biggest problems I see in general is a lack of conflict, but that’s another blog post.) Good dialogue, like a good story, should be rich with conflict. There are exceptions –

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A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Killer Feedback from Beta Readers

A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Killer Feedback from Beta Readers

Nov 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Introduction: What is a beta reader? A beta reader is a non-professional reader who reads a manuscript before the story is released to the public. I think of beta readers as “screen testers” for your novel or short story. Your story is done—or nearly done. But before you release it to the general public, you

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How to Know What Kind of Editing You Need

How to Know What Kind of Editing You Need

Nov 10, 2016 | 0 Comments

Looking to get your novel or short story edited? If you’re a fiction writer on the hunt for an editor, you’ve probably realized that there are tons of different kinds of editing out there. A quick Google search will unearth all manner of available services: Editorial reviews, manuscript critiques, copyediting, developmental editing, content editing, line

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10 Best Books About Writing Fiction

10 Best Books About Fiction Writing

Oct 10, 2016 | 2 Comments

Some fiction writing teachers try to steer their students clear of books about writing. While it’s true that there’s a lot of bad or dubious writing advice out there, my philosophy is that more information is always better. Over the years, I’ve read voraciously about fiction writing–upwards of 50 books about the writing life, plot,

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