Sprinkling in Details in Our Writing: How much to share—and when

Some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received didn’t come out of a creative writing workshop. No, I learned it at the copy desk of my college newspaper, where I spent each Saturday hunched over pages with a colored pen, making news article polished and shiny and ready for the world. (UPDATE: I’m not […]

Read More

Scene Revision: 4 common reasons why a scene doesn’t work

I spent the second half of last week revising chapter three in my WIP, a novella entitled “Good, Old-Fashioned Magic.” I needed to send that chapter off to my critique partners for our monthly meeting of the minds. The problem was that I wasn’t happy with that scene. The scene just didn’t work. I hate […]

Read More

Getting to know the villain of the piece–and Sunday #ROW80 check-in

I’m currently reading Donald Maass’ “The Fire in Fiction,” and one of the writing pitfalls he mentions is the stereotypical, cardboard cut-out bad guy or femme fatale. Sometimes, we expend so much effort developing our protagonists that we forget that our antagonist has to be equally as strong. I often worry that my villains will […]

Read More

Writing Exercise: Imagining our readers to find our writing voices

Recently, while researching the concept of voice in writing, I came across this blog post on The Adventurous Writer. One piece of advice the post offered was to “picture one specific reader and write to him or her.” The author suggests that as we write we imagine “one specific reader—one that [we’re] not trying to […]

Read More

Researching Setting for Fiction Writers

I remember when, in the midst of finishing up my thesis (a labor of love), someone said that doing a creative thesis must be easy because it didn’t require any research. What? I was floored. I’d done a lot of research for that manuscript, and I continue to. Even writing a fantasy novel requires research. […]

Read More

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 […]

Read More