Staring at a blank page? No me, my friend; I’m already off and writing this blog post, charmed by the prolific Charles Bukowski, “Writing about writer’s block is better than not writing at all.” (The Last Night of the Earth Poems) Garnering the wisdom of two of my favorite writing instructors, I’m here to solve your […]
Words are the foundation of any great story. Whether eloquent, blunt, allusive or rudimentary, words are the playthings of those new to the alphabet and MFA students alike. I have two children, ages 5 and 7; both alphabet aficionados and no strangers to playthings. Like any book nerd, I do my best to feed their […]
Sometimes I like to pretend I’m writing “to” novelist Chuck Wendig. It helps me cut the crap when self-censorship creeps in. I love Wendig’s writing voice, and I just feel freer to speak my mind on the page when I’m in his literary presence. What you’re about to read was actually blogged by Chuck Wendig last April. Who cares? If […]
Be sure each scene–every detail–relates directly to, or in some way clarifies or develops your theme. Emphasize the most important scenes or points – in other words, emphasize those sections that crystallize your meaning. In a story, develop key scenes or important details or
descriptions. In essays, emphasize, or spend the most time developing, key points. Emphasis provides direction, tells the reader when to pay close attention.
Often I think I’m illuminating my reader, when merely I’ve employed “qualifiers”—See below why qualifying is akin to spoon-feeding the reader.
Great books are filled with conflict, and great characters who learn important lessons. Writer and all-around-funny Jenny Hansen’s clever tips for Dirty Fighting Techniques can be applied to your main character’s friend, family member or a significant other…whoever he or she is in conflict. Hansen asserts, “Every entry on the Dirty Fighting List is guaranteed […]
I have a feeling I would like Paul Dorset, were we to meet. Well organized, typo-free, and to the point, Dorset writes prolifically, and not just books. His blog Utterances of an Overcrowded Mind offers concise, valuable posts about the craft of writing, yet for all his laser-focus, the banner image for his headline is a complete departure: […]
Will your fictional characters, at some point, hit the sheets? As most of us creative types enjoy a delicious romp in the sack in real life, it shouldn’t be too difficult to apply our trusty, book-enhancing observational skills to break down, scene by scene, moment by smokin’-hot moment, the escalating tension between our first horny thought […]
I stumbled upon Debbie Weil’s thoughtful take on publishing through Amazon’s fabulous “new” concept, Kindle Singles. Weil is the author of one of the first and most definitive books about business blogging: THE CORPORATE BLOGGING BOOK. Her article intros with perception I’ve wrestled with myself: your book is your platform. In Weil’s case, she is intrigued […]
Action is my habit. When I briskly type out an initial draft of a scene, the early rendition reveals a pesky ritual of churning my characters through conflict after conflict, plowing them through troubles, smacking them in the forehead with insult and treachery–often at the expense of breathing space or time for reflection. What am I? some brutish, merciless warden […]