6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You're Misusing

6 Bits of Common Writing Advice You’re Misusing

Recently, I found myself reminiscing about some of the early books on writing advice that transformed and molded my understanding of storytelling and writing. They opened my eyes, honed my craft, and changed my life. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today without the solid writing advice I’ve received from the writers who have gone […]

The Only 5 Ingredients You Need for Story Subtext

If there’s a magic ingredient in writing, it’s story subtext. It’s actually not magic, of course, any more than any of the other demystified techniques of structure, theme, or character arc. But story subtext often seems like magic simply because, by its very nature, it is the execution of the unexplained. Subtext is supposed to be invisible. It lives […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 50

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 53: No Contractions in Dialogue

What’s the worst writing mistake an author can make? It’s a broad one: doing something you think makes you look sophisticated and clever, when really… it doesn’t. A common manifestation of this is a conscientious avoidance of contractions in dialogue and narrative. I’ll admit I fell prey to this as a young writer (who not […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 50

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 50: Info Dumps

On its most fundamental level, a novel is nothing more or less than the dissemination of information. As such, the writer who understands exactly how and where to share information is a writer who understands the most fundamental skill of storytelling. That’s why info dumps are such a big, bad deal. They’re peanut butter in […]

How to Write Funny Dialogue (What I Learned Writing Storming)

How to Write Funny Dialogue (What I Learned Writing Storming)

This week’s video shows you the two important (but often overlooked) ingredients in figuring out how to write funny dialogue your readers will love. Video Transcript: Today, I’m excited to welcome you to the first installment in a month-long series featuring important writing lessons that I learned in the past few years while writing my […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 45: Avoiding “Said”

What’s this, you say? Avoiding “said” is one of the most common writing mistakes? How can that be? Surely writers overuse this ubiquitous little word more often than not, don’t they? As a matter of fact: nope. Indeed, trying to avoid this hard-working little speaker-attribution tag can, in most instances, lead you into some major prose problems. If you […]

An Easy Way to Immediately Improve Your Character’s Action Beats

An Easy Way to Immediately Improve Your Character’s Action Beats

This week’s video shows you how to take your dialogue’s action beats upon a notch by focusing on symbolism and subtext. Video Transcript: A novel cannot live on dialogue alone. Dialogue may be the most fun part to write; it may be the most fun part to read. But you can’t build a whole story […]

Afraid Your Book Is Boring? Your Characters May Not Be Doing This One Important Thing

Afraid Your Book Is Boring? Your Characters May Not Be Doing This One Important Thing

This week’s video shows one of the top reasons it’s possible your book is boring your readers and offers the easy (and fun) solution. Video Transcript: Honestly, I think the single scariest word any reader can apply to our books is boring. It’s the kiss of death. A story can overcome just about any other […]

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Get Rid of On-the-Nose Dialogue Once and For All

Know what sets apart the okay writers from the great writers? Subtlety and subtext. This is true in absolutely every area of storytelling, from narrative to plotting to character development. But the lack of subtlety and subtext is perhaps nowhere more obvious than in dialogue. I’m talking, of course, about on-the-nose dialogue. When I pick up a potential […]

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 36: Too Much Introspection, Not Enough Interaction

The best character development is often found in the heart of his personal narrative: his introspective observations and reactions to the events of the story. As I’ve preached many a time, if a character’s not reacting to what’s happening in your story, then what’s happening doesn’t matter. But the irony here is that the eternal balancing act […]