Character: The Most Important Part of Your Story’s Beginning

If all of writing was as difficult as the first 50 pages, I probably would have wimped out years ago and found myself a new vocation. (Something easy and safe—like being a Walmart greeter or maybe the collector of the quarters from Laundromat machines.) Despite the fact that I already know every plot turn that […]

The Importance of Art

Is Art Important to the World?

What is art? Why is this seemingly random act of creation found in every society? Why is it cherished, lauded, idolized? Is art important? For me, as someone who dares claim the lofty title of “artist,” that last question rings the loudest. Why is my writing important? Or perhaps more truthfully phrased: Is it important? […]

How I Edit Fiction

No two writers write in the same way. But even fewer writers edit in the same way. We all wield our red (or blue) pens (or pencils), hacking flabby words and injecting strong verbs and nouns in their places. We all share the end goal of a crisp, clean, beautiful final draft. And we all pull […]

how to write wildly original stories

How to Write Wildly Original Stories

Ideas swarm from the writer’s brain like bees from a hive. At any given moment, most of us have snippets of inspiration floating around in the netherworld between our conscious and unconscious. Some of those ideas we develop, some we abandon; some will turn out to be gold, some will be trash. We’ll probably never […]

kill the big fat ugly modifier

Kill the Big, Fat, Ugly Modifier!

Among writers, one of the ever-quotable Mark Twain’s most quoted witticisms is the succinct bit of advice found in Pudd’nhead Wilson: As to the Adjective: When in doubt, strike it out. Ah, adjectives! What writer hasn’t had a joyous fling or two with that most seductive of all parts of speech? In an effort to […]

why writers should have a god complex

Why Writers (Should) Have a God Complex

“You come upon the person the author put there. … beside the small running river where a boy is weeping and no one comes… and you have to watch without saying anything he can hear. …”—Marie Howe Every author is the god of his own little world. No story is the same; each is a […]

100+ Questions to Help You Interview Your Character

How well do you know your characters? Like the back of my hand, you say? Do you know the color of your hero’s eyes? Do you know where the bad guy went to college? Do you know your heroine’s most embarrassing moment? Can you rattle off a list of your main character’s idiosyncrasies? Typical expressions? […]

conscious vs unconscious creativity

Conscious vs. Subconscious Creativity: Which Is More Important to an Author?

I’ve always been intrigued by the left-brain/right-brain theory—the idea that creative thought stems from the right hemisphere of the brain, while logical thought flows from the left hemisphere. Growing up, I always considered myself a right-brainer, due to my imaginative ramblings. But, the older I get, the more my left-brain (logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective) tendencies […]

are you emptying yourself into your writing

Are You Emptying Yourself Into Your Writing?

Writing is treacherous business, fraught with fear and doubt on every side. Am I any good? Will I get published? Will I get good reviews? Will I sell any books? But perhaps the most inherent danger of the writing life is the necessary baring of our souls to the world. Writing, at its most basic […]

journaling and conquering monsters

Why Journaling Conquers Writing Monsters

  “…I write … [in my Journal of a Novel] consistently because I know that later on, it will help me through whatever bad time I may encounter in the process.”—Elizabeth George in Write Away Over the course of the last ten years, I’ve written six novels, two novellas, and hundreds of short stories. Even […]