Writing YA: Capturing the Teen Voice

Today we have a double-guest post by Taryn Albright and Kate Coursey, freelance editors at Teen Eyes.  This editing service looks at manuscripts through the eyes of teens (both Taryn and Kate are under 20) and helps writers nail that ever-elusive “teen voice.” When I met Taryn and Kate at BookExpo, I knew I had… Read more »

Plot vs. Character: Leaving Room for Magic

Writing fiction is alchemy. We can have all the ingredients for a great story and still miss that wow factor that makes it all come together, makes our work transform from words on a page to a living, breathing entity with the possibility to burrow into someone else’s consciousness. And we all know plenty of… Read more »

You ARE Creative

Have you ever had this experience?  You come up with an idea for a book or story.  You write a few chapters, get some feedback, maybe write another chapter or two.  Then your entire world comes crashing down.  You discover that someone else has written a book that’s similar to what you have.  It’s not… Read more »

What’s Your Creative Process?

Every writer’s process is different. Some spend ages perfecting each word or sentence in their heads, then sit down and hammer out a draft in no time. Others slap their words down on the page, then reshape those words draft after draft until they look like art rather than a jumbled mess. Some write by… Read more »

Top 10 Website Picks

It’s true. When we’re procrastinating, chances are we are spending most of our time on the web. The good news is that some of the best writers’ resources can be found online, so even when you’re procrastinating no need to worry about wasting time! Next time you have a few minutes in between flurried writing… Read more »

Prompt: The Opposite of Eavesdropping

Anyone who’s ever taken a writing class has had to do the eavesdropping exercise.  You know, that exercise where you go to a public place and listen in on someone’s conversation and write everything down. It’s supposed to teach you how people talk (and how book dialogue is much more interesting than in-real-life dialogue.) This… Read more »

Nine NO’s of Dialogue

There are nine things you should beware of when writing dialogue.  I call these the “Nine NO’s” because they’re things that as a general rule writers should try to avoid.  Notice, though, that these are not the “Nine Nevers” just Nine NO’s.  That means that while you should try to avoid these things, you shouldn’t… Read more »

Demystifying Dialogue: Perfect Your Punctuation

The one grammar problem I see most frequently when I teach creative writing is with dialogue punctuation.  And it’s understandable why this topic leaves many writers mystified.  Dialogue punctuation is confusing.  Is it a comma or a period before the end-quote?  What if you have a question mark or an exclamation point?  Here’s a quick… Read more »

Prompt: Extract an Outline

Extracting an outline is a great way to evaluate your story and kickstart the revision process.  When you extract an outline you flip the process around, writing the story first and doing the outline later.  Instead of using the outline to decide what you plan to write, you use it to determine what you’ve already… Read more »

Untraditional Outline Techniques

This past week we’ve been talking about outlines.  On Monday I asked the question: Plotter or Pantser? Where Do You Stand?  That post got me thinking about my own writing process. I’m usually not a seat-of-my-pants writer but I hate traditional outlines.  Something about long lists (I.A, 2.b–it’s all Greek to me) just doesn’t work… Read more »