3 Writing Lessons from Dungeons and Dragons

Tabletop role-playing games (RPGs) have a lot to teach you about writing. You create characters and tell a collaborative story in real time, so of course it's good practice for your novel! Taking away the setting elements (fantasy, sci-fi, horror), you find lessons that apply to any writer in any genre. Here are the first … Continue reading 3 Writing Lessons from Dungeons and Dragons

Three P’s of Writer’s Block

It happens to every writer. You get to a point somewhere in the middle of the book and the plot that has been rolling merrily along simply evaporates. Where do we go from here? It's an intensely discouraging moment for all of us. In some cases, it can even convince people to put their writing … Continue reading Three P’s of Writer’s Block

Writing Polish: The Bulldozer Sentence

Literature trained a lot of us to drone on a bit. William Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom! has a single sentence that clocks in at 1,288 words.  Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables offers up an 832 word gem.  Modern writing, especially genre writing, are more about the sharp. One of my biggest revision tasks revolves around bulldozer sentences. These come … Continue reading Writing Polish: The Bulldozer Sentence

“Ejaculated Slughorn” – Dialogue Tags and Action Beats

Among the well-meaning advice I thoroughly disagree with, new writers are often told to never use a dialogue tag other than "said" and "asked." The most quoted example used to support this comes from JK Rowling's Harry Potter series: "Snape!" ejaculated Slughorn, who looked the most shaken, pale and sweating. Technically, yes, ejaculated is a synonym for … Continue reading “Ejaculated Slughorn” – Dialogue Tags and Action Beats

All the World’s a Stage…And your Characters Should Act Like it!

Technically a lot of things make up a really good book.  But as a reader, I will forgive an author many plot and style problems.  The one thing I can't get past is the characters.  Good characters can make an atrociously bad premise readable.  Bad characters can render the most meticulous world-building pointless. The thing … Continue reading All the World’s a Stage…And your Characters Should Act Like it!