#5onFri: Five Writing Exercises that Don’t Involve Writing

We writers should take every opportunity to experience the world of our characters. The more we immerse ourselves in a particular culture or setting the deeper we can understand it, and the more realistically we can describe it in our writing. Unfortunately, cost, distance, or other practicalities (like the lack of space travel or a… Read more »

Wagon or Wain? The Perils of Linguistic Anachronisms

I almost fell into the trap recently. My protagonist, speaking of his brother, said, “That would be John going off half-cocked, Uncle, not me.” A nice evocative expression for someone who acts without thinking, right? The only problem is, the story is set at the beginning of the 14th century in western Europe. Guns didn’t… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Tools to Rock Your Revision

Revision is my favorite part of the writing process. I’ve often heard writers describe drafting as the “magical” stage, where you can discover new things and let your imagination run wild. It’s true–magic happens while drafting. But magic also happens in revision. Once you’ve written “The End,” you have a chunk of writing to play… Read more »

Balancing The Author Voice With Writing Modes

Our author voices are made up of a combination of modes. The four main ones being dialogue, description, action, and internal thought. Those are the most common modes balancing fictional prose. Too much of any one mode—clumps of description, trains of dialogue, pages of action, and dumps of internal thought—bogs down prose and makes it… Read more »

Ask the Editor: Five Reasons Your Revision Process is Stalled

I have a tendency to over-correct in my editing process. This is especially true when I receive feedback from critique partners, and it’s difficult to get centered enough within myself to know what’s actually working and what isn’t. Even when I’m not receiving critique, I tend to be self-critical and perfectionistic (not sure if that’s… Read more »

By Any Other Name: Voice Across Genre

I’m a long time fan of Stephen King and his particular way of telling a story. In the mid-80s, shortly after I began working at my local library, I came across the novel Thinner.  I picked up the book. As is my habit, I didn’t look at the author’s name; I only read the title… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Story Blunders and the Secrets to Avoiding Them

Do you know what entices a reader’s brain and what frustrates it? I enjoy learning about how brains work, and as a writer I particularly appreciate Lisa Cron’s book Wired for Story, which uses brain science to explain how to create a satisfying story. I have combined what I’ve learned from Wired for Story with… Read more »