Writing to Know Oneself

Writing to Know Oneself

Forgive me for deviating from my usual practical tips, but once in a while it’s good to ask what it all means. Writing Tip for Today: How does a writing practice illuminate our understanding of ourselves and others? Learn What You Know “I write to discover what I know.” –Flannery O’Connor. What was true for […]

Writing Character Motivation Circles

Writing Character Motivation Circles

In fiction, we all want our characters to be as alive to readers as they are to us. Yet, who hasn’t struggled with writing a character who is fully developed and three-dimensional? Writing Tip for Today: Here’s a simple method for increasing character depth and stakes in your story using motivational circles: The Cheese Stands […]

Three Ways to Outline Fiction

Three Ways to Outline FictionWhether you’re a plotter or a pantster, the more you write the more likely you are to outline at some point. Outlining before, during or after your draft is finished can show you your story’s strengths and spot flaws.Writing Tip for Today: Here are three ways to use outlining in your […]

Three More Tips on Show, Don’t Tell

Most writing teachers talk about show, don’t tell in terms of avoiding explanations and increasing concrete sensory details. These techniques are vital. But to master show, don’t tell, here are some lesser-known writing tips. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s take a look at some other ways to attain “show, don’t tell”in your fiction. Manage Readers […]

Writing Characters, Inside and Out

Writing Characters, Inside and Out

Writing fictional characters that are also unforgettable takes a delicate combination of inner and outer knowledge, motivation, actions and decisions. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s take a look at some simple ways to deepen your fictional characters: Where the Stakes Are Before your story can take off for readers, the lead character must need/want/be desperate […]

Writing Through Rejection

Writing Through Rejection

Writing through rejection is so hard! Almost every writer experiences rejection. Some write for years before they gain an acceptance. Others find recognition but can show you a folder of “nos.” We’re all supposed to keep writing with thick skins to weather the rejections. Writing Tip for Today: Most writers know about the “thick skin” […]

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 […]