Writing tips
What I wish I knew before becoming an author
On March 7, 2016 | 2 Comments

Last year I watched the Oscars with two friends. At some point an award for writing was presented, and while I don’t remember who won it, I do remember what he said, because I burst out laughing. He said something along the lines of…writers hate themselves. When I laughed my two friends looked at me […]

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Pros and cons of using a pen name
On February 29, 2016 | 0 Comments

Sometimes when people find out that I’m an author, they ask if I write under my own name or if I use a pseudonym. Given how hard it is to generate awareness about my books using the name I’ve had my entire life, this question always makes me laugh. However, I do think for some authors […]

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Why pronouns are important
On February 8, 2016 | 1 Comments

Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and someone tells a brief story about his friend Buddy. Chances are the storyteller will name Buddy just once and use “he” from there on because everyone listening to the story knows he’s talking about Buddy. If the storyteller were to say, “Buddy did this, and then Buddy did […]

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Got writer’s block? Step away from the keyboard
On February 1, 2016 | 1 Comments

When I’m working on a book, there’s nothing I fear more than staring at my computer screen and not knowing what to write next. I find it paralyzing, nerve-racking, depressing, and downright scary. When I’m writing a book but not actually writing anything, I feel an enormous sense of guilt because I’m not being productive. At […]

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Dialogue tip: Make it clear who is talking
On January 25, 2016 | 1 Comments

Good dialogue can bring your characters to life and engage your readers by making them feel immersed in the fantasy world you’ve created. On the flip side, poorly constructed dialogue can break the magical spell of the story. When I’m reading a conversation between two or more characters and lose track of who is talking, […]

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Watch out for run-on sentences
On January 18, 2016 | 4 Comments

I recently read two indie books that shared the following problem: they were both infested with run-on sentences. I don’t throw around the word “infested” very often, but I’m using it here to make a point. The run-on sentences ruined the reading experience for me. I was so distracted by the errors that I couldn’t […]

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Grammar tip: Be careful with tenses
On January 11, 2016 | 1 Comments

Today I’d like to talk about tenses, specifically when to use the preterit (past) tense versus the pluperfect (past perfect) tense. Here are two examples: Preterit tense: I wrote a book Pluperfect tense: I had written a book Both together: He wrote to me yesterday to tell me that he had read my book (he read my book before […]

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Does your dialogue sound realistic?
On January 4, 2016 | 2 Comments

Most of us read books because we love to escape (temporarily) from reality and immerse ourselves in alternate worlds inhabited by colorful, interesting characters whose lives are much more exciting than our own. That’s certainly why I read! However, while the lives these characters lead might be less than realistic, it’s important (to me, at least) […]

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Writing tip: Write what you know, check what you don’t
On December 14, 2015 | 1 Comments

There’s no rule in fiction that says everything – or anything, actually – has to be factually accurate. However, today I’d like to make a case for why you should be careful not to be too loose with details if you set your story in a real place. I recently read a book that mostly takes place […]

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It’s NaNoWriMo! Don’t worry about being perfect
On November 23, 2015 | 0 Comments

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you participating? If so, good for you! Given the inherent deadline of the movement, I’d like to share one of the most important lessons I’ve learned about writing books: If you try to make every sentence sound perfect NOW, you’ll never get anywhere. When I was writing my first […]

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