This is Living

This is Living

I’d met a friend for coffee, my first outing since the start of the COVID pandemic. I was eager to escape the ongoing pressure of dealing with grown sons with addiction and mental health issues. Usually, this friend is willing to hear me unload all the difficult moments. But now, sipping lattes in Starbucks, she […]

Writing 3-D Protagonists

Writing 3-D Protagonists

Do you have work that has languished in a drawer or been rejected?  I have at least three novels that are sitting around. Instead of immediately self-publishing or throwing the pages into the fire, it could be time to take a second look at the protagonist. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some ways to […]

Writing Argument or Revelation Scenes

Writing Argument or Revelation Scenes

Last post, we talked about how to keep the tension going higher with each scene. Now, let’s discuss how to write effective scenes where characters argue or uncover revelations about each other. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some tips for writing argument or revelation scenes: No Speechifying. One of the most common mistakes I […]

Writing Rising Action

Writing Rising Action

A writing adage warns writers not to burn down the tree in the first chapter. Think of this as a plea to save writing your story’s jaw-drop moments for the best spot in the story timeline. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some ideas for building tension by saving those high-stakes moments: Tell Yourself the […]

Writing Tension in Sequel Scenes

Writing Tension in Sequel Scenes

Chase, fight or argument scenes come with what we hope is built-in tension. But how can we maintain that tension in a high-action scene’s aftermath? Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss some ways to keep the tension taut and provide rising action in the scene following a high-action passage, also known as a sequel scene: […]

Writing Integrated Dialogue

Writing Integrated Dialogue

We’ve spent a couple of posts talking about writing dialogue. One student asks, “But how do I make my dialogue flow naturally within a scene?” Writing Tip for Today: Writing integrated dialogue requires a blend of spoken, internal and thoughts informed by visual and sensory elements that bring scenes to life. Here are three tips: […]

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 […]