Malcolm Reynolds Firefly

Killing Your Darlings: Learn to Self-Edit Like Joss Whedon

Let’s just admit it. We all get the urge to throttle someone from time to time. Annoying coworkers, overbearing family members, and just plain nasty members of civilization—they all bear the brunt of our frustrations and our mumbled threats. When it comes to our fiction, however, we tend to be a little more lenient about […]

Outlining Your Novel The 5-Step Gameplan

Outline Your Novel: The 5-Step Game Plan

Generally speaking, writers fall into two different categories: outliners and non-outliners (or, as my critique partner Linda Yezak has dubbed them, “seat-of-the-pantsters”). I’m an outliner. Mostly, I outline because I’m lazy. I hate rewriting; I hate watching my burst of pride and relief at the end of a novel dissipate in a realization of a hole-riddled […]

Never Name an Emotion in Your Story

Never Name an Emotion in Your Story

Vivid writing demands more than just telling a reader how a character is feeling. Readers don’t care what the characters in your story are experiencing so much as they care what they experience through the characters. But that’s easier said than done! One of the best rules of thumb for showing instead of telling is to never name an […]

The Myth of Originality

The Myth of Originality

All of art is based on a quest for originality. As individuals, we become artists in an effort to highlight new ideas and invent new vantage points through which to view the world. As agents and editors and publishers, we’re seeking the one story the public has never read. And as readers, we’re looking for […]

Are You Writing With Joy?

It’s interesting to look back through time at the ranks of famous authors and realize how many of them have experienced less than fulfilling lives and even tragic ends. Writing ain’t for sissies. To be worth its salt, writing has to be a lifestyle (note that lifestyle and vocation aren’t necessarily the same thing), and […]

Secret Storytelling Weapon: The Book’s Back Cover

What’s the first thing most readers look at when they pick up a book? If they’re anything like me, their attention is first snagged by the cover art, the title, and the author name, and from there they flip the book over and a take a gander at the back cover or the inside jacket […]

Writing Buddies: Why You Need Them, How to Find Them, What to Do With Them

Writing, by its very nature, is a solitary pursuit. Even those authors who work in tandem with others (co-writers, ghost writers, editors) must necessarily do their actual work by themselves. Fortunately, most of us who seek the writing life are not only mentally and emotionally equipped to handle the solitude, we may even crave it. […]

Is Art Intrinsically Moral? (And Why the Answer Matters)

Art, in its every form, has always been volatile. It challenges people’s beliefs. It forces them to face uncomfortable realities. It constrains them to see the world through an entirely different set of eyes. In experiencing any form of art, but perhaps particularly the novel, we are plunged into the mind of another human being. […]

3 reasons you shouldnt be writing for money

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Writing for Money

Why do we write? Is it for the fame and the fortune? The respect of family and friends and peers? The goal of making a positive impact on the world? Or is it because of that soul-deep gnawing of creativity that refuses to let us go? Although all of these factors undoubtedly come into play […]

3 Ways Colors Can Transform Your Writing

Arguably, no single descriptive attribute can transform your writing as quickly as color. We can spend hundreds of words laboring over a description of a springtime meadow or a shipwrecked boat, when a single color is all it takes to burst the scene upon the reader’s eye with perfect clarity. Consider the following quotations: Then, still […]