Learn to Write Like William Faulkner: Boost Your Descriptions With Awesome Similes

Learn to Write Like William Faulkner: Boost Your Descriptions With Awesome Similes

One of the most evocative, memorable, and poetic writing techniques is the simile—and its cousin the metaphor. A simile describes something by comparing it to something else: The sky was blue, like a robin’s egg. A metaphor describes something by saying it is something else: The sky was the blue of a robin’s egg. With […]

how to enliven your adjectives

How to Bring Adjectives to Life

As a writer, you’re always being told you’re not supposed to pile on the adjectives to describe something. But how else can you share with readers the nuanced vision you see in your own mind’s eye? David Guterson’s lyrical study of life and death in East of the Mountains offers a surprisingly simple and effective […]

Why Writers Must Resist the Urge to Explain

Because it’s so important readers get what you’re trying to say in your stories, it can be tempting to explain things point blank at every juncture. Avoiding confusion is vital. However, when you fail to master subtlety, you not only rob your stories of added power and depth, you also risk frustrating readers with patronizing […]

The Pros and Cons of Writing Descriptions

The Pros and Cons of Writing Description

“Nothing bores me faster than description.” You’ve probably heard readers make that comment. Perhaps you’ve even made it yourself. In the face of the modern impatience with pages (or even paragraphs) of descriptive narrative, it’s easy for writers to overreact and decide to avoid description altogether. After all, you can’t afford to do anything that […]

How to Use Details to Suspend Disbelief

How to Use Details to Enhance Readers’ Suspension of Disbelief

Truth may be stranger than fiction, but fiction is plenty strange, especially in this era of vampires, dragons, time travel, and who knows what else! Because readers are accustomed to far-out premises that stretch reality all out of shape, most won’t blink an eye at a story that features any number of unbelievable phenomena. But […]

Generality Is the Death of the Novel

Fiction is about specifics. In real life, you may get away with being ridiculously vague: “Gimme that thingamajig over there.” But the only reason this works is because the specifics are already staring both you and your listeners in the face. In fiction, however, you must hit the specifics and hit them hard. Years ago, […]

One Example of Why Less Is More When Writing Description

In trying to make scenes come to life for readers, you may be tempted to begin writing description after tantalizing description—all the vivid metaphors and similes you can think of. If one vibrant image is good, then two should definitely double your money, right? Ironically, just the opposite is true. As fellow fantasy author Jane Lebak once […]

2 Important Tricks for Making Your Prose Sing

2 Important Tricks for Making Your Prose Sing

Words are the building blocks of our craft, and yet the way words are put together is a facets of storytelling writers often overlook in our mad dash to perfect plot, character, dialogue, and POV. Learning From the Masters of Prose: Frances Mayes But when a book as luscious as Frances Mayes’s Bella Tuscany falls into your […]

Good Writers Are So Lazy, They Make Readers Do All the Work!

This is a guest post by Jason Black. Read any half-dozen writing blogs, and they’ll be full of advice on how to craft dramatic scenes, how to write realistic dialogue, how to create vivid settings, and all that jazz. Add in the need for a compelling hook, character arcs, rising tension and stakes, and it […]

Do You Have the Two Necessary Skills for Using Details to Bring Fiction to Life

Do You Have the Two Necessary Skills for Using Details to Bring Your Fiction to Life?

Most of the time when we think of great stories, we think of just that: stories. We don’t often think about the bits and pieces that make up the composite whole, the 206 different bones beneath the polished flesh, the mosaic chips that form the complete picture. But it’s these bits, bones, and chips that decide whether a story […]