Active Voice vs. Passive Voice: How to Use Both to Get the Most Out of Your Writing

Active Voice vs. Passive Voice: How to Use Both to Get the Most Out of Your Writing

Most of us learned about sentences in grammar school. Most of us also promptly forgot all about them after grammar school. This is why, I presume, the art of correctly using the active voice and the passive voice in our fiction is something almost all of us have to relearn at some point in our […]

15 Reasons Not to Become a Writer (Or “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ernest Hemingway”)

Today, I’m guest posting over at the The Master’s Artist with the tongue-in-cheek tutorial on why being a writer may not be the best life decision: “15 Reasons Not to Become a Writer (Or ‘Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Ernest Hemingway’)”. Excerpt: I suppose it’s possible that a few starry-eyed folks out there […]

4 Unbeatable Ways to Fight Writer's Block

4 Unbeatable Ways to Fight Writer’s Block

Would it surprise you to hear I don’t believe in writer’s block? This infamous boogey man, rumored to lurk behind computer monitors and breathe down writers’ necks, hypnotizing us with the blinking cursor and laughing as we toss upon our sleepless beds—he’s just a ghost story as far as I’m concerned. An over-hyped ghost story […]

5 Ways to Capture Brilliant Ideas for Your Novel

5 Ways to Capture Brilliant Ideas for Your Novel

I think it’s safe to open this post with a broad, sweeping generalization: We write because of inspiration. Not only because without inspiration we wouldn’t have anything to write about, but also because inspiration is the writer’s version of runner’s high. It’s this top-of-the-world, explosion-of-joy experience that makes the personal sacrifices and hard work of […]

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 […]

Do Writers HAVE to Be Readers?

Do writers have to be readers? Reading is fast becoming a lost art. In our digital age of television and Internet, even the leisurely reading of the morning paper is going out of habit with most people. Sometimes, when I happen to be in a particularly cynical frame of mind, I can’t help thinking the […]

Why Your Opinion of Your Writing Is the One That Matters Most

Why YOUR Opinion of Your Writing Is the One That Matters Most

Sometimes it pays to think of yourself before others. Many of us grew up with the Golden Rule etched into our psyches. And most of us would probably like to think we follow that rule as often as possible. But when it comes to your writing, the Golden Rule isn’t of much use. In fact, […]

`The Value of Stories That Fail

The Value of Stories That Fail

Good writers aren’t born. Okay, well, actually, they are born, since it would be physically impossible to write without being born… but they’re aren’t born good. At least, I’ve yet to meet a four-year-old wunderkind who’s running around writing Pulitzer Prize-winning epics. I know I sure wasn’t. Instead, good writers are made. Skill isn’t a […]

Learn How to Project (and Find) Yourself in Your Writing

Have you ever found yourself looking up from the pages of a book and wondering how much the words you’re reading are a reflection of the author’s own personality and life? We’re all familiar with famous examples of autobiographical fiction (such as Dickens’s David Copperfield) in which it’s easy to draw parallels between the make-believe […]

6 Things Your Characters Want–and 4 Ways to Keep Them Frustrated

We authors are pretty mean folk. Here we are, creating characters whom we love almost as much as our family and friends–and yet every day, on every page, we make them suffer. We figure out what characters want and then refuse to give it to them. Actually, truth be known, we kind of enjoy making […]