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Critique: 8 Quick Tips for Show, Don’t Tell

The key to immersive story experiences is convincing readers they’re right there with characters. They’re smelling the ash in the air, tasting the rain, feeling the churning gut, seeing all the same colors, hearing all the same notes. When narrative writing accomplishes that level of verisimilitude, it has the ability to move readers beyond their […]

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4 Pacing Tricks to Keep Readers’ Attention

Part 21 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel Stories live or die on their pacing. Great characters and concepts are the heartbeat of good fiction, but even the greatest can struggle to keep readers’ attention if the pacing is off. Pacing is a lot like tone. It varies depending on the type […]

how to up your show don't tell game

3 Tips for Improving Show, Don’t Tell

When looking for a new book to read, there are a couple quick tests I do to determine whether it seems like I can trust the author to know what they’re doing all book long. The first and most important of these tests usually requires just a quick glance across the first page to see […]

2 pacing techniques that grab reader emotions

2 Simple Pacing Techniques That Grab Reader Emotions

Whether or not we care to admit it, much of what we do as writers is manipulation. With careful characterization, we manipulate readers into believing the characters lived before the book began and continue living long afterward. We create settings they long to escape to and plots that keep them wrapped up until long past […]

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character's Backstory

Tips for How to Choose the Right Sentences

What is writing but choosing the right words in the right sentences in the right paragraphs in the right pages in the right chapters? But even though words and sentences are the smallest of integers within our storytelling, they’re actually one of the most complex. How do you choose the right sentences? Is it a process […]

10 Steps to Perfecting Your Writing Style

“I always have a point of view. It may not be right, but it’s my own.”—Baz Luhrmann Four years ago, I watched Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby on the big cinema screen. As the film ended after 143 minutes, a long silence settled over the auditorium. It was a silence I had never experienced before, almost a […]

How to Write Your Characters' Actions with Clarity

How to Write Your Characters’ Actions with Clarity

Have you ever tried to watch an old film? Not a digitally remastered edition or a corrected copy, but a genuinely old film, silent and sepia-toned. Some frames are misplaced or backwards. Some aren’t there at all. You can follow the action well enough, filling in the gaps where they appear—but that doesn’t mean you […]

Why the Most Important Element of Writing is Voice

Writing Voice: 6 Things You Need to Know to Improve It

Writing a book isn’t just a discovery of the story, it’s also a discovery of yourself. Who are you, really? The answers you find appearing on the screen with each word you type can be surprising. And nowhere is the truth about an author revealed more unequivocally than when you open your literary mouth, loosen […]

How To Write In An Authentic Historical Voice

How to Write in an Authentic Historical Voice

Let’s say you’re writing a book set in the 14th Century. Naturally, as a diligent and conscientious writer, you want to do your research and write with an authentic historical voice. In fact, you’re so good and so authentic that what you end up with is something like this: Whilom, as olde stories tellen us, ther […]

8 Ways To Master Your Story's Pacing

Learn How to Pace Your Story (and Mind-Control Your Readers) in Just 8 Steps

Writing is really all about mind control. Seriously, think about it. You put words on paper, and if you do it right, you suddenly have the ability to control how people respond to what you’ve written. Of course, “doing it right” is the whole challenge of writing, and when it comes to this mind-control gig, […]