Pacing, Plotting, and Causality

Plotting is in the story itself, it’s the logic, causal concatenation of events (note: not casual.) Pacing is how the writer unravels the story. First, what makes up a good plot? Interesting characters doing either interesting things, or placed in challenging situations that test their beliefs and resolve is what keeps readers turning pages. But is […]

Dealing with Grief

Witnessing real grief is easy. Turn on the news. An Iraqi father holds his dead daughter, a Palestinian woman looks numb as she sits on the rubbles of her house and tells of the hacking of her family and how she is the only survivor. Anyone who has seen FAHRENHEIT 9/11 by Michael Moore remembers the mother of […]

Add Symbols to Add Depth

The use of symbols is one way to increase the depth of your writing. Many a doctoral thesis has been written on symbolism and there are many that still can be written. This post will only skim the surface to plant a seed, the expression ‘plant a seed’ being a symbol itself, albeit a trite one. However, […]

The Dreaded Writers Block

Writers who claim writers block doesn’t exist, never had it. Those who have spent days, weeks, and months not being able to put their thoughts down on paper, know it exists. There isn’t a writer in the world who hasn’t had problems—at one time or another—finding the right word or idea. Those who write columns […]

Pump Up Your Descriptions

Descriptions put readers into your story while engaging all their senses — sight, sound, smell, taste, feel. If dialogues move the plot forward, descriptions flesh out scenes. Victorian writers over described scenes and gave credence to the statement “That’s more than I need to know.” However, the selective use of details adds to the description. The most […]

The Writing Process

(The Writing Process. My apologies, Dr. Seuss) I can write in a car, I can write by a fire, I can write in a boat, I can write on a float. I can write on a table, I can write when I’m able; I can write anywhere. Among the questions writers torture themselves with are whether we should write […]

Details, Details, Details

Details give color and music to our prose and a grip on reality. Or should I say they make writing red, sassy, and jazzy. Name it, name it, name it, name it. It’s not a flower – it’s a rose, a petunia, a skunk cabbage. It’s not a tree, but a pine, palm, or oak. […]

Kill Your Lazy Darlings

During the editing process you need to cut, cut, cut. In writing, economy is gold: too many words can spoil a sentence and distract the reader. In my novels I end up cutting from 10,000 to 20,000 words from an average first draft of 100,000 words. Everybody is guilt of lazy writing and that’s fine with your first […]

Sentence Writing 101 – Decision and Conclusions

If this is your first stop, you’ve missed the Introduction, Decision, Excision, Precision, Concision, and Incision. Narrative is a different kind of prose. It’s not journalism, and it has to render rather than report. O Tempora, o Mores*,  what is accepted today as good narrative prose is different from books and novels of the past. Flowery prose, pedantic descriptions, passive […]

Playing with words

New writers often think they can write something once and move on. In today’s world, they hit the ‘publish’ button as soon as the first draft reaches “The End”. Experienced writers know that our work needs to be cut, added to, polished, reworked. Even the slightest change can add depth or give your readers more […]

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