Top 14 Tips and Tools for Creating Unique Character Voices

Voice in fiction is crucial—but also elusive. First, writers must consider their own authorial voices, then the story’s specific narrative voice, and last but certainly not least character voices. In fact, if you’re writing fiction, the most important voices on the page technically aren’t yours, but your characters’. All of ’em. And they all need […]

How to Write Emotional Scenes (Without Making Them Cringey)

Learning how to write emotional scenes is one of the single most important feats any writer must rise to. We want fiction to make us feel something. I’m not talking just a little twinge of satisfaction here or there. I’m talking full-on emotional experiences: tears, laughter, cheers, even rage on occasion. Scenes in which characters […]

internal narrative

Critique: 4 Ways to Write Gripping Internal Narrative

The old joke about how “the book was better than the movie” is a reflection of several attributes written fiction offers over visual fiction. One of the main ones is the ability to get inside characters’ heads via internal narrative. Narrative, by its very nature, is narrated by someone. Usually, that someone is the protagonist. […]

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Critique: 8 Quick Tips for Show, Don’t Tell

The key to immersive story experiences is convincing readers they’re right there with characters. They’re smelling the ash in the air, tasting the rain, feeling the churning gut, seeing all the same colors, hearing all the same notes. When narrative writing accomplishes that level of verisimilitude, it has the ability to move readers beyond their […]

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10 Advantages of Writing a Single-POV Story (What I Learned Writing Wayfarer)

Multiple-POV story versus single-POV story? Which is the right choice for you? The answer depends on many factors, since every story is different. Knowing which approach to POV to choose isn’t difficult once you know how to choose. My just-released historical-superhero/gaslamp-fantasy novel Wayfarer was the first ever single-POV story I’ve written. For years now, I’ve consistently been minimizing the […]

how to up your show don't tell game

3 Tips for Improving Show, Don’t Tell

When looking for a new book to read, there are a couple quick tests I do to determine whether it seems like I can trust the author to know what they’re doing all book long. The first and most important of these tests usually requires just a quick glance across the first page to see […]

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing:

How to Spot and Avoid Self-Indulgent Writing

As writers, we have the opportunity to live lives of creativity, in which we get to craft whole worlds that conform to our every whim. Whether you’re writing your first book or your thirtieth, it’s always going to be a heady experience. But this comes with certain inherent pitfalls. Sometimes all this power can go […]

Brainstorming the Wound in Your Character's Backstory

Tips for How to Choose the Right Sentences

What is writing but choosing the right words in the right sentences in the right paragraphs in the right pages in the right chapters? But even though words and sentences are the smallest of integers within our storytelling, they’re actually one of the most complex. How do you choose the right sentences? Is it a process […]

Most Common Mistakes (Purple Prose)

Most Common Writing Mistakes, Pt. 63: Purple Prose

Words, glorious words! Fellow logophiles, were we not initially drawn to writing because of our sesquipedal amours? We love words. We love big words, arcane words, chewy words, beautiful words. We love combinations of words that are bold, poetic, eloquent, and sometimes even showy. So it’s little wonder many of us risk creating purple prose. […]

How to Amplify Your Characters' Subtext:

4 Ways to Amplify Your Characters’ Subtext

The magic ingredient in fiction is subtext. In part, it is magic because of the dynamic reaction it creates in readers: their sudden ability to become an intelligent participant in interpreting the story. But also, it is magic because, like any good trick, it can be difficult for authors to interpret exactly how to execute it. Nowhere […]