Mother’s Day Cry Room

Mother’s Day Cry Room

Yesterday, my granddaughter brought home from preschool a potted petunia. She’d glued purple glitter on the pot’s sides, glitter that left a trail everywhere. When I asked her why her mommy got a flower, the five-year-old’s eyebrows scrunched up and she shrugged. “For Mother’s Day, I guess.” I was relieved. I hate Mother’s Day. Is […]

Writing Effective Conversations

Writing Effective Conversations

Last post, we talked about writing effective dialogue in general. Now, let’s focus on writing dialogue within a scene. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some tips for creating effective conversations within a scene: Resist Speechifying Dialogue in fiction is more than she said and then he said. In fact, if your scene contains sufficient […]

Writing Better Dialogue

Writing Better Dialogue

When it comes to fiction, writing your dialogue right is an essential skill. Readers want to experience the story as if they’re watching a movie, so it stands to reason that what your characters say is important. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some easy ways to improve your dialogue: Know Thy Character One of […]

The Third Way

The Third Way

I can still feel the kneeler biting into my knees as I begged the pastor to pray for me. “I’m a failure at tough love,” I began. “No matter what I do, I can’t throw out my son.” For me and loads of other moms like me, “tough love” means “kicking him out” or “turning […]

Writing Fiction: Summary or Action?

Writing Fiction: Summary or Action?

When you’re more than halfway through your story and you reach a critical chapter, do you recap (summarize) or do you act it out? The pace at which your story unfolds boils down to summary vs. action. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss any story’s basic needs at different points of a scene, chapter or […]

Writing with Clarity

Writing with Clarity

When I started writing for publication, I had to unlearn some habits until I was writing with clarity. Aside from the smallish pun on my name, more than two decades later I still try to help writers understand and apply what writing with clarity means. Writing Tip for Today: How does clarity impact writing and […]

Writing Short Personal Essays

Writing Short Personal Essays

One thing I almost always counsel my students to do while they finish their novels is to begin writing short personal essays for publication. Why? It’s all about your author cred. Writing Tip for Today: What are some tips for creating short personal essays for publication? The One-inch Frame Start with your life—but keep the […]

Novel Writing Tips and Tricks

Novel Writing Tips and Tricks

Writing your novel has been a long and often frustrating process, but you are not the writer you were when you started. The process of novel writing has improved your skills. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s talk about some ways your revisions or your next project can be even more effective. Watch Those Looks In […]

Writing Effective Characters: Three Tests

Writing Effective Characters: Three Tests

Fiction writers know that to attract and keep readers, we must write effective characters. But what does that mean? Writing Tip for Today: Here are three little tests that will give you an idea of how effective your characters are: A Burning Desire You’ve heard me discuss story stakes many times, but did you know […]

Monster Meth

I pick up my adult son’s sunglasses—cradle them, really. Yesterday he showed them off to me—his grin so wide you’d think he’d won the lottery. These flimsy shades were from the dollar store, he said, but I like them. And he did. But today, he’d say those glasses are made out of plastic so cheap […]