Roll for Initiative: Keeping Your Characters in Scene

As a reader and beta reader, one of the things that stands out to me is when a secondary character does or says something halfway through a scene and my reaction is, "Huh. I forgot they were even there." We forget sometimes as writers that our readers don't have the benefit of watching a scene … Continue reading Roll for Initiative: Keeping Your Characters in Scene

POV Problems

One of the issues I come across often both in my beta reads and my own first drafts is violation of limited POV. Most contemporary books are written in limited POV. This means we really get into the head of the main character and experience the world through their eyes. The narrative voice is the … Continue reading POV Problems

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

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