You owe it to all of us to get on with what you’re good at. -WH Auden. I’ve been working on a re-issue of one of my murder mystery novels, this one set in 1934 Hollywood and starring an amateur sleuth schoolteacher with ambitions to star on the silver screen, who finds the dead body […]Read More Welcoming Revisions.
I walked and made no effort to think – an old trick from my writing days. Work your body, rest your mind, let the boys in the basement do their jobs.–Stephen King, Bag of Bones. Writing conferences are thick with authors for whom Stephen King’s On Writing is a great support. Stephen King’s words certainly […]Read More Summertime Writing, When the Weather is Fine.
There are so many great ideas and tips available to us for writing and for managing our writing careers within the context of our lives at large, that we could spend our whole days saving time and never get a word written, a meal cooked, or the car washed. To find and apply the tips […]Read More Writing Tip 25. Tag Lines Create Storytelling Magic.
Narrative styles vary , and rules evolve and transform like people do. For example, the passive is out of fashion, poor dear, even though when, used properly, it’s a great lens for keeping the focus on the central conflict. Narrative structure is a little more of a touchstone, and the four tweaks listed here may […]Read More Writing Tip 24. Four Small Tweaks, Big Style Rewards.
Ask an acquisitions editor, why reject stories by good writers? The answer is often, I can’t tell what this story is about. This response, or its cousins The conflict was slow to emerge, or There’s no story here, shows that structural problems are spoiling the party. But developmental editors are pricey. You see their ilk […]Read More Writing Tip 23. Story Editing How-tos.
EXT. SPACE AROUND THE DEATH STAR Vader’s ship spins out of control with a bent solar fin, heading for deep space. INT. DARTH VADER’S COCKPIT Vader turns round and round in circles as his ship spins into space. -George Lucas. Star Wars IV, A New Hope. Spinning that Vader craft out into space saves a […]Read More Writing Tip 22. End With a New Beginning in Mind.
“You may wish to write down your five-year plan for writing, year by year. What a splendid vista of accomplishment, I must say.” -Day 23, A Writer’s Boon Companion : Thirty Days to an Extraordinary Volume Dorothy Parker famously announced, “I hate writing. I love having written.” That little mot has been quoted much too […]Read More Writing Tip 21. A Five-Year Plan.
To develop engaging characters, it’s worth taking the time to list flaws and balancing strengths. I see so many flawed protagonists in our short fiction subs box, but few of them achieve the balance that helps the reader take them to their hearts. Balance involves developing inner and outer longings. kindnesses and sacrifices. falls and […]Read More Writing Tip 20. Developing Engaging Characters
“The cloud cover had blocked out the half-moon and the snow had shut visibility down to less than fifty metres. Good, thought Tom…more murk, better cover. But he still didn’t have a plan.” -Andy McNab. State of Emergency. “Certainty of death. Small chance of success. What are we waiting for?” – JRR Tolkien. The Return […]Read More Writing Tip 19. Heading for the Final Showdown.
“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.” -JRR Tolkien. The Hobbit. The call to adventure is a large part of the fun of being a writer. A terrific idea sets us onto the storytelling trail, running out like Bilbo without his pocket handkerchief. We pound away […]Read More Writing Tip 18. Get Set for Adventure.