Many of you who follow me on Twitter have seen this tweet that I send out periodically: It’s all about the story. When deciding what to cut, ask yourself: does it serve the story? #writetip Those of us who have been writing for a while have this ingrained in our DNA. Make no mistake about it, though. We didn’t start our writing career that way. Like any other element of the craft, this is something we had to learn over time. Writing is like a muscle. The more you write, the stronger you get. “Also, the Harry Potter novels are just fun, pure story from beginning to end.” – Stephen King on the Harry Potter series. Even Uncle Steve seems to be …
Honesty In Writing
There are many bits of common writerly wisdom that I tweet on a regular basis using the #writetip hashtag. Some of these nuggets are mine and others are parroting the masters. Most are widely held to be axiomatic, but some are confusing or enigmatic. Such is the limitation of 140 characters. One of the more confusing writetips deals with honesty in writing. Above all else, be honest in your writing. Readers sense fakes a mile away. #writetip Whenever this one comes up in the rotation, I get a flood of questions. I get some heated, sarcastic answers as well, but that’s to be expected from time to time. In general, there’s an overwhelming confusion among aspiring authors about just what it means to …
4 Things Every Writer Should Know About Beta Readers
UPDATED JULY 2, 2017 Writing is not a solitary endeavor. Not by a long shot. When a writer finishes a draft of a story, it is usually impossible for them to be objective about what they’ve written. Beta readers take a recently completed story and view it with a level of objectivity that the writer does not possess. But if you’ve never worked with a beta reader before, you shouldn’t jump in blindly. Beta readers can help you bring focus to your story in ways you never imagined. But they can also be less-than-helpful if you’re not specific in your directions. Worse, they can be downright problematic if you’re not careful. In this article, I’ll go over the …
Point of View – The Basics
Choosing the right point of view (PoV) for your story is the most important—and sometimes the most challenging—decision you will make before you begin the writing process. It isn’t a decision to take lightly. Through your story’s point of view, your reader will experience your world, your story, your characters, and your very purpose for writing the story to begin with. It’s a good idea to become familiar with the various point-of-view options before you set about creating your masterpiece.
8 Ways to Beat Writer’s Block
[Updated September 20, 2018] Nothing strikes fear into the heart of a writer quite like these two words: Writer’s Block. Whether you’ve been writing for 20 days or 20 years, you’re likely to find yourself staring blankly at the computer screen eventually. But, what’s the solution? In my writing journey, I’ve come across at least 8 things you can do right now to break through that feeling of emptiness and helplessness.
Do Your Characters Have an Attitude?
There are few things more elusive in the craft of writing than the notion of “Voice”. But what many new writers fail to grasp is that “Voice” is far more than just what a character says. It’s about how they say it and how they feel about the world around them. In other words, it’s at least partially about their attitude. You have an attitude. You may not realize it, but you have one. I’m sure you’ve heard the words “don’t give me that attitude!” on more than one occasion. I’m willing to bet you’ve answered a question with a smile on your face, all the while concealing the seething rage beneath your calm exterior. Am I right? Of course I am! …
3 Easy Steps to Fix Your Manuscript
I know what you’re doing. You’re sitting there staring at your laptop screen. Your’re probably making this face: And you’re getting nowhere. If this is you, keep reading. There are three things you can do right now to fix your manuscript problems.
Twitter Changes Auto-Follow Policy
Twitter changed their auto-follow policy in 2013. Those of you who’ve read my series on Using Twitter Effectively know that “auto follow” was a major tool in building a writer’s platform. By way of reminder, “auto follow” was an option in many 3rd party tools that allowed you to automatically follow back anyone who followed you. This saved organizations and popular accounts countless hours of having to manually follow everyone. I spent some time trying to wrap my head around the new landscape, and it was tough going at first. My numbers stalled out for quite a while. But I’ve learned some lessons along the way, and I’m now convinced that this was an excellent decision on Twitter’s part. My numbers are …
Getting the Word Sequence Right
The title is a mouthful, but the concept is very simple. You may have the right words, but if you’re getting the word sequence wrong, you’ll leave the reader confused.
World Building: Magic Systems
As a Fantasy author, the subject of World Building is near and dear to my heart. If you’re going to build a convincing fantasy world, you may be thinking about developing a magic system. In Necromancer Awakening (now available on Amazon), I went through a painstaking process to build a unique magic system involving “Life” and “Death”. While I was constructing a magic system based on necromancy, it occurred to me (in hindsight) that there are three things a writer should know before attempting this at home: