8 Ways to Improve Your Writing

8 Ways to Improve Your Writing

Mar 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

I got a great anonymous Ask over on Tumblr last week from someone who wanted to know how to identify weak spots and improve their writing. One of the things that comes with time and experience is finding the language to identify, discuss, and address the feeling that something isn’t quite right or that a

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How to Spot Bad Writing Advice

How to Spot Bad Writing Advice: 6 Red Flags to Look For

Feb 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

First of all, I’m not by any means the authority on what makes good or bad writing advice! Writing is an art. There are no rules in art, which means that writing advice, by extension, is highly subjective. In my opinion, if it works for you, if it helps you improve and be happier with

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5 Reasons to Kill Your Critique Group

5 Reasons to Kill Your Critique Group

Jul 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Oh my gosh, it’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post! As some of you know, in addition to freelance editing and writing for others for a living, I also pursue my own creative endeavors. This spring, I took a few months off to spend time on two main projects—revising my new zine

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Are You Using Too Much Stage Direction?

Are You Using Too Much Stage Direction?

Mar 21, 2017 | 2 Comments

Fiction writers: Are you using too much stage direction? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, we don’t need to know that someone crossed the room, reached for the coffee cup, turned sideways, took a step forward, or glanced to the left. Visual writers have an especially hard time with this (fiction writers who “see” their

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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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