Writing tips
Be wary of tangents that go nowhere
On June 15, 2020 | 0 Comments

When I was writing my first novel, I was so excited to see my own words on the page that I ended up with several scenes that didn’t have much at all to do with the main plot. After I signed with an agent she pointed out this tendency to wander and had me cut […]

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Writing tip: Break up long paragraphs
On June 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

 I once received an email from a new subscriber to my newsletter. The message was quite long and didn’t contain a single paragraph break—not one. I found myself confused as I read because all the various points he was making began to blur together into an enormous block of text. (He also didn’t capitalize any […]

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What inspires you to write?
On April 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

When people find out I’m an author, one of the questions they often ask me is, What inspires you to write? It’s an interesting question, and I think every author would answer it differently. I find myself most inspired to write when I’m already writing. That’s because for me, getting myself in a position to […]

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Writing tip: Create a “to include at some point” document
On September 16, 2019 | 0 Comments

Each time I go through the process of writing a book, I find that ideas of things to include frequently pop into my head but not always at the right time. For example, I’ll be out to dinner with a friend, and she will say something funny that I might like to use in my […]

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Writing tip: Start before you’re ready
On September 3, 2019 | 0 Comments

I’ll never forget when my older sister’s childhood friend Julie had her first child. She was in her early 30s at the time, and she said that even though she and her husband didn’t think they were ready for the responsibility of being parents, they decided to go ahead and do it because they realized […]

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“Show” vs. “tell” in dialogue
On May 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

One area where the issue of of “show vs. tell” frequently pops up is when authors use too many adverbs or adjectives to tell readers how a character is feeling instead of using beats to show readers how a characters is feeling.  (Refresher: A beat is a physical action.)  Here are some examples of beats vs. adverbs/adjectives in dialogue. You’re the […]

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Mix things up to beat writer’s block
On April 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

I hate writer’s block. It’s the worst! As far as I know, there’s no magic formula for curing this unfortunate affliction when it strikes, only various approaches to try until you find something that works for you.  I recently had a conversation with a creative director at an advertising agency about the brainstorming process, which we […]

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What’s the worst thing your character can think about a situation?
On October 9, 2018 | 0 Comments

In previous posts I’ve discussed the importance of putting obstacles in front of characters as a way to bring conflict into your story. Another way to create conflict is to consider multiple ways a character could view a situation—then have her choose the worst one. Why do this? Because how your character responds to this choice […]

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More words that are easy to mix up
On September 24, 2018 | 0 Comments

More than once in the past few weeks I’ve heard the word “reactionary” used to describe someone who reacts or has reacted to something. I flinch each time this happens, because the word that should  be used in these cases is “reactive.” Reactive vs. Reactionary Reactive means responsive, or reacting to something.  His reactive nature drove him […]

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Increase your productivity by wearing one hat at a time
On August 27, 2018 | 0 Comments

There’s so much more that goes into being an “author” than just writing. There’s also rewriting, researching, editing, proofreading, etc. Then there’s the marketing side of things, which is a completely different beast. Social media alone can feel like a bottomless well of “things I should be doing.” My proclivity is to bounce around between […]

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