Writing by the Numbers

Writing by the Numbers

Calculating Story Lengths When you draft a novel, you just write, right? Sure, but at some point, you’ll need to adjust for overall and chapter length. A writer asks, “How long should my novel be and how do I write it to match a word count?” Writing Tip for Today: Many different methods exist, but […]

Writing Macro and Micro Tension

Writing Macro and Micro Tension

Last evening, my class on Show Don’t Tell Scenes asked how to write micro-tension into scenes. While I didn’t invent this concept (thanks, Donald Maass!), I’d like to offer a few tips for creating micro-tension in your fictional scenes. Writing Tip for Today: What is micro-tension and how do you use in in fiction scenes? […]

Writing Show, Don’t Tell Scenes

Writing Show, Don’t Tell Scenes

Show, don’t tell. Write in scenes. Writers hear these pieces of advice again and again. Yet we often forget why the advice is rock solid. Writing Tip for Today: What are some ways that writing scenes that show don’t tell can help you tell a story? Glorious CSD (Concrete Sensory Detail) When you “tell” instead of […]

Avoid Writing the Hokey Pokey!

Avoid Writing the Hokey Pokey!

This post’s idea sparked by my fab writer buddy, Mo Buckley. Thanks! So what is Hokey Pokey Writing? Other, less creative teachers might call it “writing too many stage directions.” Think of it as trying to cram specific stage directions into a short description. Writing Tip for Today: What’s Hokey Pokey Writing and how can […]

Writing Streamlined Plots

Writing Streamlined Plots

Do you know how to write streamlined plots? New writers often try to put too much into their stories by cramming every plot line, every character and every detail into one story. I was there once—I know how tempting it can be to throw everything you’ve got at a story and hope it sticks. Writing […]

Writing Through Discouragement

Writing Through Discouragement

Are you a discouraged writer? When the bylines are flowing and the contracts keep coming, writers often complain about their deadlines. The rest of us cast sarcastic glances their way and wish we had deadlines to complain about. It’s enough to make you think about giving up. Writing Tip for Today: When discouraging times hit, how […]

How to Set a Scene

How to Set a Scene

When setting a scene, fiction writers often swing to one of two extremes. Either the writer gives too few clues or else the writer describes the scene in excruciating detail. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s look at how you can set a scene that gives enough information without drowning in details. When and Where Each […]

Writing When Holidays Hit

Writing When Holidays Hit

Writing When Holidays Hit In the writing biz, they say editors and agents take a vacation from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. Even for writers, if a deadline isn’t looming, the holidays can take a bite out of word count. Last post, we talked about writing when crises arise. Now let’s turn to writing when […]

Writing When Life Intervenes

Writing When Life Intervenes

Sometimes in spite of our best writing intentions, life gets in the way. This past week, a family member–my eldest son’s significant other, a 30 year-old named Nikki–suffered a major stroke. My plans immediately took a back seat as we fervently prayed, paced and figured out what to do next. Nikki was Life-flighted to a […]

Rest Your Writing 3 Easy Ways

Rest Your Writing 3 Easy Ways

Now that you’ve achieved your 50k NaNoWriMo novel word count, you’ll want to rest your writing. No, you don’t stop writing—even if it is holiday madness time. But resting that hot mess of a draft will help you when you begin editing after the new year. Writing Tip for Today: Here are three easy ways […]