(More) of the Best Writing Advice From 10 (More) of the Best Writing Teachers

(More) of the Best Writing Advice From 10 (More) of the Best Writing Teachers

It isn’t difficult to flip through my writing library and discover what passages have impacted me. My books are punctuated with a brilliant green highlighter pen. So, in hopes of sharing a little of the best writing advice with all of you, I flipped through a few more my favorite books on the craft and chose […]

The Best Writing Advice From 10 of the Best Writing Teachers

The Best Writing Advice From 10 of the Best Writing Teachers

I spent the better part of last year, re-reading my “writing library.” The wisdom packed into those bookcase shelves is too wonderful for me to horde, so today I’d like to share the best writing advice from ten of the best writing teachers in my library. 1. The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot by Charles Baxter “To make […]

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 […]

Not Sure Why You're Writing Fiction? 4 Indisputable Reasons

Not Sure Why You’re Writing Fiction? 4 Indisputable Reasons

Do you know why you’re writing fiction? It’s a bit of a mystery. And yet it’s no mystery at all. “I write because I must” is the easy answer—the cop-out. When someone asks me why I write, the answer that immediately pops onto my tongue is a simple “because I love it.” But that, of […]

Malcolm Reynolds Firefly

Killing Your Darlings: Learn to Self-Edit Like Joss Whedon

Let’s just admit it. We all get the urge to throttle someone from time to time. Annoying coworkers, overbearing family members, and just plain nasty members of civilization—they all bear the brunt of our frustrations and our mumbled threats. When it comes to our fiction, however, we tend to be a little more lenient about […]

Outlining Your Novel The 5-Step Gameplan

Outline Your Novel: The 5-Step Game Plan

Generally speaking, writers fall into two different categories: outliners and non-outliners (or, as my critique partner Linda Yezak has dubbed them, “seat-of-the-pantsters”). I’m an outliner. Mostly, I outline because I’m lazy. I hate rewriting; I hate watching my burst of pride and relief at the end of a novel dissipate in a realization of a hole-riddled […]

Never Name an Emotion in Your Story

Never Name an Emotion in Your Story

Vivid writing demands more than just telling a reader how a character is feeling. Readers don’t care what the characters in your story are experiencing so much as they care what they experience through the characters. But that’s easier said than done! One of the best rules of thumb for showing instead of telling is to never name an […]

The Myth of Originality

The Myth of Originality

All of art is based on a quest for originality. As individuals, we become artists in an effort to highlight new ideas and invent new vantage points through which to view the world. As agents and editors and publishers, we’re seeking the one story the public has never read. And as readers, we’re looking for […]

Are You Writing With Joy?

It’s interesting to look back through time at the ranks of famous authors and realize how many of them have experienced less than fulfilling lives and even tragic ends. Writing ain’t for sissies. To be worth its salt, writing has to be a lifestyle (note that lifestyle and vocation aren’t necessarily the same thing), and […]

Secret Storytelling Weapon: The Book’s Back Cover

What’s the first thing most readers look at when they pick up a book? If they’re anything like me, their attention is first snagged by the cover art, the title, and the author name, and from there they flip the book over and a take a gander at the back cover or the inside jacket […]