Double-Duty Description

I struggle with description. I'm not a visual person. In fact, sometimes I have to pull up a bunch of images or videos online to serve as a guide when trying to really evoke a person or place. So when I encounter description in a book, the question of "how much" description to use is … Continue reading Double-Duty Description

Writing Polish: Going Off Subject

I'm getting back into the grammar weeds today, based on common problems I'm seeing in beta manuscripts. In this case, I'm talking about the subject of a sentence, and making it clear to your readers which character is acting at any given time. Sentence 1: Chris turned around.We have a basic simple sentence here with … Continue reading Writing Polish: Going Off Subject

Books on Writing: Rivet Your Reader With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

Ever had a reader say they just didn't feel like they were in the character's head? Deep Point of View is a vital key to engaging modern readers with your writing voice and immerse them in your story. In Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, Jill Elizabeth Nelson gives you a crash course … Continue reading Books on Writing: Rivet Your Reader With Deep Point of View by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

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

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