Writing tips
Writing tip: Keep a notebook by your bed
On December 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

When I was writing my latest novel, Bridges, I woke up in the middle of the night and knew I’d come up with an idea for a scene I was working on, but I had no idea what it was. Absolutely none. Instead of fretting about the lost inspiration, however, I reached for the notebook in the […]

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Watch out for overused words
On December 4, 2017 | 0 Comments

When I got my latest novel (Bridges) back from my longtime developmental editor, as usual, she offered helpful suggestions for how to improve plot, pacing, character development, etc. This time, however, she also mentioned that my main character smiled–“a lot.” Curious as to what my editor meant by “a lot,” I used the search function […]

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Are you breaking the “show vs. tell” rule in your dialogue?
On November 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you’re not familiar with the “show vs. tell” rule, the gist of it is that you want to show your readers events or feelings instead of telling them. I frequently see this rule broken in dialogue by authors who choose overly descriptive verbs that force-feed us the character’s sentiment. When I encounter too much of this I find […]

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To lie vs. to lay
On November 6, 2017 | 0 Comments

When I was in high school, people used to say “laying out” when referring to catching rays at the pool or the beach. At the time I remember thinking they should have worn sunscreen, but it didn’t occur to me that they also should have said “lying out.” But now I know better! I still […]

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Examples of “show vs. tell”
On October 9, 2017 | 0 Comments

If you’re an author, aspiring or published, chances are you’ve heard of “show vs. tell,” but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have a solid grasp of what it is. At times I struggle with the concept myself, as evidenced by the “Stop telling!” comments my editor makes on the early drafts of my novels. I […]

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Three writing tips for aspiring authors
On October 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

Every author has a different way of getting to the finish line, but is there a best way? Expert Anne Janzer, who wrote a book called The Writer’s Process, says the path to publication includes researching, thinking deeply, outlining/structuring, drafting, revising, and editing. I asked her for her top three process-related tips for aspiring authors, and here’s what […]

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Editing too much can hold you back
On September 18, 2017 | 0 Comments

Do you spend hours tinkering with a single paragraph to get it just right? I used to do that too. When you’re not sure what to write next, do you go back and polish what you’ve already written? Same here. When I was writing my first novel, Perfect on Paper, I spent a lot of time tweaking every […]

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Should you write in first person or third person?
On August 21, 2017 | 0 Comments

Many novelists, especially those who are writing a first book, create protagonists who are based on themselves, so it is natural for them to write their stories in the first person. (I did this with my first four novels.) Other authors choose to write in the third person. Here’s a quick refresher on the difference between the […]

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You’ve finished the first draft—now what?
On August 7, 2017 | 0 Comments

Sometimes I think my favorite part of the writing process is when, after months of toiling at my desk, I finally get to the point where I type in “The End,” sit back in my chair, and exhale. I’m not exactly sure why I enjoy this part so much because it’s not as if the […]

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Tip: Read your writing out loud
On June 26, 2017 | 0 Comments

In my last post I addressed how using too many exclamation marks in dialogue can negatively affect the reader’s experience. To catch the issue, I suggested that authors read their dialogue out loud. While that was a post was about an overuse issue, reading your work—not just dialogue—out loud can also help identify another common problem I […]

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