“Now my own suspicion is, the Universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose.” – J.B.S. Haldane, British biologist. One of the greatest advantages of science fiction is that it’s the literature of ideas-that it’s not limited in ways that other types of fiction can be, especially those grounded in […]
One of the most important tenets of good writing you’ll ever employ is the “Show, don’t tell” rule. Basically put, writing has more power, creates more interest, and better engages readers when you let them draw their own conclusions. Showing allows the reader to experience the story through what they observe including action, dialogue, and […]
Avoid Passive Sentences for More Engaging Stories If you’re a serious novelist, then you’ve likely heard the maxim, “Write active sentences and avoid the passive.” It’s a popular recommendation from editors for one simple reason: It’s true. Let’s take a look at a few examples of passive sentences: The dolphins were watched by the kids […]
Stacey Donovan’s fearlessness and introspection in her YA novel Dive beautifully demonstrates the power of telling the untold story inside of you. In this Q&A with Stacey, she shares invaluable advice she’s gained throughout her decades-long career-how not to agonize over the small stuff, how to write objectively, and what she’s looking for in a strong […]
What nobody tells you as an artist is that every project starts at the beginning. Not just the blank page, the empty stage, but that you have to re-establish your credentials and your quality every time. You can coast on reputation a little, but it doesn't last long...
Agents love character-driven novels. That's because readers love them. Nothing anchors a book more than a well-developed character who we feel attached to, who we can identify or sympathize with, and who can be our guide in the world of the book that the author is...
Writing a novel is a skill that is honed over time, and even the pros don’t always get it on the first try.
How much is enough? How much is too much? In my work with fiction writers, I've encountered those who underdescribe and those who overdescribe. More typically, though, it's quality not quantity that's the biggest problem. There are two primary purposes for...
Writer’s block is a common experience where you feel like you can’t write. I see it as a symptom rather than a problem. Here’s some advice for getting past it. Remember that the world is not set up to support your writing. You have professional and personal commitments that can get in the way of […]
If you’re lucky, the perfect title for your novel sprang into your head without effort. But most of the time, it’s a painstaking process to come up with a good title, especially one that is catchy, humorous or intriguing and has not been used by many other authors before.
Find yourself writing the word “said” all the time? Is this a problem? Is “said” really dead?
As I noted in my previous post—which laid out five arguments for why you should outline your novel, short story or non-fiction project—I’m a big fan of outlining for the same reason I enjoy planning anything in life. I like to have a clear sense of where I’m going before I embark on the journey. […]