authorial voice

Is Authorial Voice Different From Character Voice?

This whole idea of “authorial voice” is something many authors struggle with, in part because they’re not always sure what “voice” means. Is voice something that remains the same in every one of an author’s projects? Or is it something that changes from story to story? This is a question that causes a lot of […]

character thoughts

5 Ways to Write Character Thoughts Worth More Than a Penny

One of the key benefits of written fiction is also one of the most difficult techniques to master: the characters’ inner narrative. The inner narrative of the characters—their thoughts put on paper—is the essence of fiction. Mastery of that essence equals mastery, in large part, of the art form of fiction itself. No wonder it’s […]

Three Places Where You Should Tell Instead of Show

Amid all the demands for authors to show, instead of tell, it can be easy to forget telling is still a vital part of any story. There are moments when summarizing is a decidedly better choice than dramatizing. The Reverse of the Medal, the brilliant eleventh installment in Patrick O’Brian’s esteemed Aubrey/Maturin series, offers several examples […]

control your speed control your storys pacing

Control Your Speed, Control Your Pacing

Controlling and influencing your readers’ experience of your story is one of your most important jobs as an author. One of the most trustworthy ways to accomplish this is through pacing. In a sense, pacing in a story is like the soundtrack in a movie. Like the ominous music before a murder or the swell […]

How to Keep Your Story Moving With a Cohesive Narrative

Sometimes it’s easy for authors to believe that just because we have something interesting to say, readers will automatically be interested. Unfortunately, however, it’s not that simple. What readers require, first and foremost, is a cohesive narrative. Readers are sensitive creatures who require delicate handling and a minimum of distractions if they’re to read our stories […]

4 Ways to Improve Your Story With Juxtaposition

4 Questions to Improve Your Stories With Powerful Juxtaposition

An easy way to add depth to a story is to introduce one of the most marvelous techniques known to writers: juxtaposition. Juxtaposition is the art of contrast, the foundation of dichotomy, and the tool of both subtlety and boldness. In using juxtaposition, you are able to take two seemingly incompatible things and combine them […]

Use Motion to Spice up Your Scenes

Use Motion to Spice up Your Scenes

Ever had one of those days when you sit down at your computer, only to find your character twiddling his thumbs? I was having one of those days last week. Chapter seven of my work-in-progress features all kinds of exciting conflict, including a long-awaited confrontation between two friends-turned-enemies. I got to introduce a fabulous new […]

Why Narrative Isn't a Bad Thing

How to Write Compelling Narrative

Modern authors are taught the only way to keep readers’ attention is keep the writing action-oriented. You must show not tell, dramatize your scenes, and keep characters doing and talking and in the moment every step of the way. These so-called rules are prevalent for good reason. Readers read because they want to see the […]

Exclamation Points of Emphasis in Writing

2 Must-Know Rules for Using Italics and Exclamation Points for Emphasis

Excitement is certainly something you want to infuse your stories with. Passion and power, danger and delight—they all require exclamatory writing. But something writers often forget is that emphasis (whether it’s in the form of italics or punctuation) should be treated like salt: A little goes a long way. How Not to Use Italics One of my […]

What Every Writer Needs to Know About Finding Your "Voice"

What Every Writer Needs to Know About Finding Your Writing Voice

Voice is one of the most ambiguous, confusing, and highly sought after elements of writing. “How do go about finding your voice?” is a common question of young writers. It’s one even experienced authors aren’t always quite sure how to answer. Everyone seems to have his own opinion on just what voice is. Is it our […]