Three Ways NaNoWriMo Helps Writers

Three Ways NaNoWriMo Helps Writers

Someone asks, “What’s the point of NaNoWriMo? You write 50k words in 30 days and you end up with a hot mess.” Writing Tip for Today: To anyone who has completed the 2021 NaNoWriMo challenge, congratulations! Even if you never sell this novel, other rewards can be just as important: A Great Idea By now, […]

Your NaNoWriMo Finish

Your NaNoWriMo Finish

Today’s post will be short and sweet. I have much to be thankful for, and many side dishes to prepare before American Thanksgiving. Writing Tip for Today: As we near the finish line for this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), here are a few tips: Jot Down Issues By now you likely have sensed […]

Breathe in the Love

Breathe in the Love

That November morning, my thirtysomething live-in son leaned against the kitchen counter, arms crossed, a distant look in his intense blue eyes. For the thousandth time, I was pleading with him. “I only want you to be healthy and happy. What’s going to happen to you when Dad and I are gone?” He shrugged and […]

Writing Emotions Right

Writing Emotions Right

If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m always promoting emotion as the key to readers’ hearts. But how do you render these emotions on the page? Writing Tip for Today: To keep readers engaged, emotions must hit readers at the right time with the right emotion. Here are some tips: Your Character’s […]

Writing Relatives Right

Memoirists and even some fiction writers often wrestle with the thorny question of how to write about our families. I always get a laugh whenever I quote Anne Lamott: “If my family didn’t want me to write about them, they should’ve behaved better.” But what’s the practical way to include people who may recognize themselves […]

Scene Writing: C.L.U.E.

Scene Writing: C.L.U.E.

In scene writing, certain aspects must be set to keep readers engaged and oriented. When I think over a scene I’ve written, I often list these necessary elements rather like a game of CLUE. I make sure the vital parts are there like Col. Mustard in the study with the pipe wrench. Writing Tip for […]

Writing Conflict: Obstacles vs. Dilemmas

When writing fiction, conflict is often at the top of the must-do list. Conflict makes us think of action: the bad guy chasing, the hero fighting his way out of a jam. Yet a quieter kind of conflict can create more tension that a space war scene. Writing Tip for Today: How can creating emotional […]

Fear’s Remedy

My grown son is in the kitchen fixing himself a meal. Then a bomb goes off somewhere in his mind. He accuses me of hovering over him. I’d only wanted to grab a headache remedy, but the scene escalates. No explanation seems to matter as he calls me names. My husband comes to my aid—he’s […]

Writing: Don’t Be Captain Obvious

Writing requires clear communication and good management. Readers must know what to remember as they follow your character from Start to Finish. But when you repeat or overemphasize details, your story begins to go off the rails. Writing Tip for Today: What are some common ways to spot and remedy Captain Obvious mistakes? Micromanaging If […]

Writing Memoir: True Lies

Writing Memoir: True Lies

Writing memoir takes skill and introspection. And lies, lots of true lies. Writing Tip for Today: Memoir is supposed to be true. Tips on staying true but using lies to tell your story: Truth in Detail My students are often aghast when I say they’ll probably need to lie a little to tell their memoir’s […]