Writing tips
Use contractions for realistic dialogue
On July 11, 2022 | 0 Comments

Well-crafted dialogue sounds the way people speak in real life, and in real life people almost always use contractions. Quick refresher: A contraction is when an apostrophe is used to shorten two words into one. For example: Did not becomes didn’t Is not becomes isn’t Do not becomes don’t Read the following out loud: A) […]

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How to procrastinate productively
On January 24, 2022 | 0 Comments

If you’re anything like I am, getting yourself to sit down and write for an extended period of time can be challenging. Email! Facebook! Twitter! Instagram! YouTube! So many distractions calling your name, each one begging you to stop what you’re doing and watch cat videos instead. Here’s how I’ve learned to turn my proclivity […]

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Writing tip: Don’t overdo attribution in dialogue
On December 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

Attribution in dialogue—such as “Gloria said” or “David said”—is necessary to keep your readers from getting confused about who is saying what, but too much attribution can become a distraction. When it’s obvious who is talking, there’s no need for it. I recently read two novels in which both authors regularly attributed every line of […]

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SHOW, don’t TELL, in your dialogue
On August 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

I frequently see authors break the show vs. tell rule in dialogue by using words other than “said” or “asked.” This weakens the writing when done too often. For example, here are some examples from a novel I recently read. In this scene, Ben and Lisa are the ONLY characters in the room: “What’s she doing […]

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To maintain focus, revere your writing time
On April 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

I once took a screenwriting class, and in our first session the professor emphasized how important it is to make our writing time “holy.” When he said that, I found myself nodding in agreement. I thought of how easily I get distracted from my own writing because I don’t place enough value on the time […]

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How to build a character arc
On February 22, 2021 | 0 Comments

A character arc is the way a character changes or grows throughout the course of a story. The change can be physical or emotional, and it doesn’t have to be major, but you want your main characters, especially your protagonist, to experience some sort of transformation along their journey. At the beginning of your story, […]

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Shake things up to break writer’s block
On February 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Writer’s block is the worst. The worst! When it strikes and I find myself sitting at my desk, staring at nothing, I often feel like my white laptop screen is snickering at me and sending me horrible thoughts. You suck, Maria! Who are you to think you can be a writer? Why don’t you just […]

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Make it clear who is talking, but not too clear
On December 4, 2020 | 0 Comments

I recently read a novel that was heavy on dialogue without a ton of attribution (e.g. adding “she said”), which I like, because I don’t think a conversation needs that after every single sentence. However, the author of this book had a habit of going two or even three pages into a conversation without any attribution of […]

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Want to get some writing done? Disconnect!
On August 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

When I’m working on a book, or any writing project, I find that one of the most difficult things about the process—second only to coming up with the idea—is getting myself to sit at my desk and stay focused.  If I let myself stop and check my email, browse Facebook, etc., it’s amazing how quickly what […]

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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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