Is a Writer’s Retreat for you?
When was the last time you walked through a meadow? Not a cut-lawn city park expanse, or your own back yard just before mowing, but an honest-to-goodness meadow? Last weekend I attended an intimate writer’s retreat at Prue’s House at Hilltop Park on Bainbridge Island, WA, led by author Margaret Nevinski. The drive up wound […]
How to Use an Unreliable Narrator in Your Story
In general, even people who commit the worst crimes do not go around thinking of themselves as monsters; they justify their actions to themselves. In Lolita, Vladimir Nabakov signals Humbert Humbert’s unreliability to the reader in a number of ways such as his outrageous claims, his endless justifications for shocking acts and his contempt for others.
POV shift: I moved to an island.
A month ago, my family moved from Orange County’s endless summer to a small(ish) island off the coast of the Pacific Northwest. It’s the beginning of summer, and the weather has been sunny and warm, so climate-wise, not much of a shift. But that’s only the climate. Every other aspect of our lives has changed; (one […]
Sell More Books: Good Writing vs. Creating Urgency
Writing “well” should be good enough. Good enough to score an agent and a publishing contract. Good enough to entice a potential reader to move past page one, and keep reading, breaking only for food and the uncontrollable urge to refer your book to everyone with an inbox. Author and mighty story expert and deconstructrix […]
Manuscript Rejected After Only 20 Pages? What gives?
A lot of new writers are being told to start right in the action, and this tip needs to be clarified. We need some kind of conflict in the beginning to make us (the reader) choose to side with/like the protagonist. This conflict doesn’t necessarily have to do with the main story problem (directly).
Editing Fiction for Intelligent Readers (No Spoon-feeding Allowed.)
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.
Using Dirty Fighting To Escalate Tension In Your Story
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 […]
Writers: Who to Query First, Why and How
Once upon a time, completing your manuscript was the hard part. Eventually, “The End” is behind you; with the thoughtful critique of your circle of writing partners, it is buffed and shammied to a high sheen, primped to enter a tournament of queries. The ultimate prize: publication. Literary agent Jennifer Laughran recently spelled out some […]
Fiction Writing: 7 Elements of the First Page
r am I jaded? More often than I care to admit, a book’s finely crafted opening pages evoke lovestruck stars in my eyes, much as one too many nervous cocktails over tentative introductions.
Critiquing Other People’s Writing: 7 Tips for Making Manuscripts Better
When you make friends with the red pen pointing out weak story points, redundancy or grammar errors, you give yourself the opportunity to grow as a writer and refine your final product. But is the job of the red pen wielder easier than that of the writer?