Writing tips
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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Challenge your characters
On August 13, 2018 | 0 Comments

My editor once told me that the way to write an interesting novel is to put a series of obstacles in front of the main character. A successful author offered similar advice: Put interesting characters into an interesting situation, and you have the foundation for an interesting story. These statements may sound simplistic, but they […]

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Outline or no outline?
On July 2, 2018 | 0 Comments

I recently completed a screenwriting program to learn how to adapt one of my novels for film. One night the instructor brought up the concept of outlines, and I found myself leaning forward to hear his thoughts. In the eight books I’ve written, not once have I worked from a detailed outline, and I’ve always wondered if I was […]

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Examples of why it’s better to “show” than “tell”
On June 4, 2018 | 0 Comments

If you’re still puzzled by the concept of show vs. tell, you’re not alone. I think many authors tell too much because they want to make sure their readers “get it.” To that I say, “We get it!” I recently finished a novel in which the author repeatedly explained why the characters were doing or […]

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Why it’s good to avoid adverbs
On May 21, 2018 | 0 Comments

One function of adverbs is to modify adjectives, in other words to describe something that already describes something. That alone should give you an idea of how necessary – or unnecessary – they are when used for this purpose. For example: He drives really fast. She is very happy. We are super glad to be […]

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