Slowing the Story Down

Many of my writerly friends face the problem of writing too long. They pen a 120,000-word fantasy novel and then try to trim it down. Maybe it’s my journalistic background or those years penning magazine articles, but I have the opposite problem. My first drafts are often short, and in following drafts I have to […]

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When writing is like wrestling an alligator: A midweek ROW80 check-in

Last week, revising my story felt like wrestling an alligator. There were a few moments where I just sat there trying not to pull my hair out. I had one chapter left to revise, near the end of the story, only something wasn’t right. It was one of those scenes where earlier pieces come together, […]

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5 ways to eliminate –ly words from our writing

Among advice frequently bestowed upon writers is avoiding the adverb trap. Adverbs are those lovely little words—often ending in –ly—that modify a verb, adjective, or another adverb. They don’t always end in –ly, of course. That’s a very pretty sweater; really, it’s just too cute. But –ly adverbs are especially tricky because they’re easy to […]

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Working with characters during revision

An alternate title for this post was: Dealing with Zoe. See, I love Zoe, the female lead in Made of Shadows. She’s intense, passionate, fiery, compassionate, and maybe a little nuts. Okay, a little might be understating. Zoe is a woman on the edge. The martial arts skills and motorcycle don’t help. So when editing […]

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3 weak sentence constructs to avoid in our writing

As writers, everything we read and write develops our ear and eye. We learn how good writing sounds, how it leaps off the page, how it sends a thrill or a chill through us. A good line has bite. And we develop an eye—an eye for glaring spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors, so that those, […]

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