Search Results for: voice

ways to build suspense header

3 Easy (or Easier) Ways to Build Suspense

Recently, while writing a short story, I encountered the problem of its being too short. My editor complimented the storyline and structure but indicated something about the writing was missing. It was too short, too bland, too summative and passive instead of being descriptive and active. Finally, I found all these things centered on one […]

How to Use Comedy and Tragedy for a One-Two Punch

In his “Letter to a Young, Talented Author,” dramatist William Saroyan offers this advice: Remember to be good-humored. Remember to be generous. And remember that in the midst of that which is most tragic, there is always the comic, and in the midst of that which is most evil, there is always much good. Nothing […]

story instinct header

Why Writers Should Trust Their Story Instinct

Have you ever found yourself wishing for a writing mentor—someone with the savvy, experience, generosity, and overall story instinct to reach down and guide you in your own writing journey? Well, today’s your lucky day! I’m about to introduce you to the wisest writing mentor you’re ever likely to meet. Yourself. Yep, you read right. […]

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 […]

overusing passive verbs

Are You Overusing Passive Verbs?

In narrative writing, active verbs are usually preferable to passive verbs for the simple reason that the active voice offers more options for bringing a sentence to life and infusing it with… action! Although passive verbs certainly have their place, it’s good to remind ourselves from time to time of how much more power we […]

The 4 Most Common Mistakes Fiction Editors See

Wouldn’t it be great if nobody ever needed an editor? If all of our stories and novels appeared in readers’ minds just as beautifully and vividly and succinctly they do in our own? Wouldn’t it be great if the story we think we’ve told were, in fact, the story we’ve told? There are more aspiring […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are You Using “There” as a Crutch?

When used as a pronoun, the utilitarian word “there” becomes an insidiously easy way for writers to get their point across. “There” gets the job done, no doubt about it. But using “there” at the beginning of sentences and phrases is the lazy way out. Whenever you see the word “there” used as a pronoun, […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes: Are Your Verbs Showing or Telling?

One of the most common bits of life-sapping “telling” found in a story’s narrative is also one of the easiest for writers to overlook. It’s also, fortunately, one of the easiest to correct. How Telling Verbs Can Block Reader Participation Take a look at the following impromptu example and see if you can spot the […]

The Pros and Cons of Writing Descriptions

The Pros and Cons of Writing Description

“Nothing bores me faster than description.” You’ve probably heard readers make that comment. Perhaps you’ve even made it yourself. In the face of the modern impatience with pages (or even paragraphs) of descriptive narrative, it’s easy for writers to overreact and decide to avoid description altogether. After all, you can’t afford to do anything that […]

5 Ways to Seek Multimedia Writing Inspiration

5 Ways to Seek Multi-Media Inspiration for Your Writing

We live in a world saturated with artistic creativity. For writers, this means inspiration is all over the place. All you have to do is open a magazine, read a book, turn on the television, or switch to a new radio station. In my book Conquering Writer’s Block and Summoning Inspiration, I specifically touch upon how […]