4 Reasons to Mimic Other Writers—and 3 Reasons Not to

Successfully mimicking other writers does not mean copying their words, plagiarizing them, or stealing from them. Rather, it boils down to nothing more or less than learning from their techniques. It’s a gift that keeps on giving, since in mimicking the other writers, we’re not only respecting their talent, we’re also gaining untold benefits to […]

How to Be as Smart as Your Readers

Writers are generally pretty savvy people. We know how to string sentences together, we know how to use punctuation properly, and we can spout off lots of big words. But we can’t let this presumed savviness go to our heads, because readers are also very smart people. Readers know when we’re hoodwinking them with pseudo-facts—and […]

read the type of books you write

5 Reasons to Read the Same Type of Stories You Write

Aside from writing itself, reading is the single most important element in a healthy writing life. As Natalie Goldberg and Stephen King, respectively, point out: If you read good books, when you write, good books will come out of you. If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the […]

are you writing what you know

Are You Writing What You Know?

Many writers rebel against the oft-quoted command about “writing what you know.” My automatic response to this stricture is the rhetorical question, “Why on earth would I want to write what I know? I live what I know. When I write, I want to explore people I’ve never met, places I’ve never seen, and situations […]

4 Ways to Avoid Writing Dated Fiction

4 Ways to Avoid Writing Dated Fiction

Conscientious writers work hard to get story details right. You want the language your characters use to reflect their lifestyles and personalities. You want their books, movies, magazines, and music to ring true in your recreations of the real world. And you need all the references and explanations of technology, style, and even health care […]

Research: When in Doubt, Make It Up

Research: When in Doubt, Make It Up

Writers have mixed opinions on research. Some love it; some hate it. Either way, you can’t deny its necessity. If you want to present realistic settings and authentic characters, you have no choice but to go digging for answers. But what happens when answers are nowhere to be found? I’m a bit of a research […]

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Novel Research

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Novel Research

Maximizing your novel research is vital no matter what kind of fiction you write. I spent almost as much time researching modern-day Chicago for my portal fantasy Dreamlander  as I did the Third Crusade for my historical epic Behold the Dawn. I’ve always found it odd that some authors approach research as if it were the […]

Write What You Know? Don't You Dare!

Write What You Know? Don’t You Dare!

I admit I always laugh in my sleeve when I hear an author proclaiming you must write what you know. This tidbit of advice is often touted as a cardinal rule of writing, with the inherent implication being that if you aren’t 1) a brilliant scientist/mathematician/geologist/linguist/ tactician/psychologist or 2) an uber-wealthy jetsetter with the time […]