Writing Ratios: Actions v. Info

Writing Ratios: Actions v. Info

As the late Gary Provost writes in the writing resource, Beyond Style, “Things shouldn’t just be in your stories; things should happen.” Yet writing must also contain information. How can you know how much information should accompany your happenings? Writing Tip for Today: Let’s talk about how to write a good balance of action and […]

Emotions in Writing: Fall Back, Spring Forward

Emotions in Writing: Fall Back, Spring Forward

As a writing coach, I talk a lot about emotion, but I believe it’s true—if your readers aren’t feeling something, they aren’t reading. In ways, writing emotions can be like the way we change our clocks for Daylight Savings Time: emotions in stories must fall back, then spring forward. Writing Tip for Today: How do […]

Writing: Dialogue Must-Haves

Writing: Dialogue Must-Haves

Last post we discussed writing scenes and the associated must-haves. Most good scenes also contain dialogue, and writing good dialogue also requires a few must-haves. Writing Tip for Today: What are some dialogue must-haves and how do you use them? Dialogue Essentials When a character speaks, readers need a few markers to orient themselves and […]

Scene Writing Must-Haves

If you write fiction or memoir, your work is more effective when it can tell a story. Stories are more effective when they are largely told in scenes. Writing Tip for Today: What are some scene writing must-haves? Elements Scenes bring a story to life. Readers crave action and want to experience the scene as […]

Writing: Editing Must-haves

You’re writing a book, article or story and want to publish. Now you’re looking for a good editor. What are some “must-haves” for any editor you hire? Writing Tip for Today: Here are some tips for finding the editor you need: Refining Your Needs If you’ve written, rewritten and done as much self-editing as you […]

Writing: Story Must-Haves

Writing: Story Must-Haves

Whether you’re writing fiction, memoir or nonfiction, your piece or book must tell a story. In nonfiction it might be a story about giving readers info or insights. In fiction and memoir, the story must have certain elements to succeed. Writing Tip for Today: Here are three story must-haves: The Arc In writing, we call […]

Writing: Words are Like Doritos

Writing: Words are Like Doritos

A very talented student asked me about expanding the length of a section of her draft. The question made me think about how writers view their words—how much worth the writer places upon them. I like to think of words as Doritos—I can always make more. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some tips for […]

Self-Editing Essays

Self-Editing Essays

Have you wondered about how to self-edit your personal essays? Fear not, here are some tips for polishing your prose. Writing Tip for Today: Self-edit your work with these tips: What’s an Essay? Essays are short pieces about one thing. They differ from fiction or articles in focus and structure. Fiction features at least some […]

Writing: Call Outs, Sidebars and Breakout Boxes

Writing: Call Outs, Sidebars and Breakout Boxes

Writing nonfiction articles or books? Use call outs, sidebars and breakout boxes to enhance your text. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some tips for more effective call outs, sidebars and breakout boxes: Call Outs In publishing lingo, a call out is a direct quote from nearby material in an article or book chapter. The […]

Writing: Autobiography in Fiction

Writing: Autobiography in Fiction

Writing fiction? You’ve no doubt heard that our fiction is usually autobiographical in some way. But those bits from real life must work for your story, not against it. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some tips for keeping those autobiographical bits helping, not hindering your fiction: Scene and Summary One of the fastest ways […]