Five Promises You Make to Your Reader

Starting a novel or short story is like making a promise to the reader.  You set up rules and expectations that your readers will rely on as they read your piece.  You take your readers by the hand and guide them into your story.  You develop a trust-relationship with the reader. Delaying or changing these… Read more »

Legally Speaking: Q&A

You had questions… now I have answers!  As we wrap up the Legally Speaking post series, I’ll address the questions that have come up during the past few weeks. Can I use the name of a deceased person as a character name in my “based on a true story” work of fiction? Depends on who… Read more »

Licensing vs. Work for Hire

One legal distinction that is very important for writers to understand is the difference between licensing and work for hire. Licensing In publishing terms, licensing is usually the scenario you find when you publish your work via the traditional route.  You query an agent, the agent “sells” the book to a publisher, you sign an… Read more »

Infringement, Fair Use, and Derivative Works

As writers, we’re often inspired by work from artists who have come before us.  One question that often comes up is whether we can use some piece of another artist’s work in our own work.  The answer is: it’s complicated.  There are three things you have  to consider when using part of someone else’s work… Read more »

How to Find Your Unique Ideas

Here’s the ugly truth: No writer exists in a void. All writing is influenced by what has come before. There is no such thing as being utterly, completely unique because all writing exists within a context. In a world that’s always screaming for the Next New Thing, how do we writers reconcile that with the… Read more »

How to Make Sense of Critiques

Sooner or later, you’re going to get feedback on your work.  Whether it’s from an editor or agent, or from friends and family, or from trusted writer friends, you might as well get used to the idea. But what do you do when you get all that feedback?  My temptation is often to cut up… Read more »

How to Make the Most of Failure

These past few posts, we’ve been talking about making writing resolutions and putting them into action.  As we start the new year, I thought I’d add one last post on this topic, only this time with words of wisdom I’ve collected over the years from various creative people.  We can make big plans and dream… Read more »

Prompt: Make a Holiday Writing Wishlist

Every writer wants something.  Maybe it’s an extra hour in the day so you can be more productive.  Maybe it’s an extra-special fountain pen or notebook.  Maybe it’s having the cat stop chewing on the corners of your manuscript.  We don’t ask for much, but when it comes right down to it, the only thing… Read more »

The Role of Voice in Writing

  The trouble with voice is that it’s nearly impossible to find an adequate definition.  The best I can say about voice is that while I might not be able to define it, I definitely know it when I see it. Before putting together this post, I did a little research on voice by looking… Read more »