Tag: writing tips
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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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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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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The importance of asking for feedback
On September 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Requesting feedback is a valuable – and critical – element of the writing process. When it’s positive, feedback can encourage you to keep going when you might otherwise lack momentum. On a more granular level, it can reveal what’s strongest about your writing, which characters and storylines readers respond to the most, etc. All in all, […]

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Avoid word repetition
On January 7, 2014 | 3 Comments

A couple weeks ago, I heard from an old friend who is in the middle of writing her first novel. She asked if I’d be willing to read the first chapter and give her my thoughts. I was reluctant to say yes because I feared a potentially awkward situation if I didn’t love it, but […]

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Make your readers care about your characters
On June 4, 2013 | 2 Comments

I recently finished reading a novel that wasn’t terrible, but I never really got into it because I just didn’t care about any of the characters. Not one. If you want readers to become invested in your writing, they must become invested in your characters. I’m not suggesting that all your characters need to be […]

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What a difference a hyphen can make
On October 16, 2012 | 2 Comments

Recently I went to dinner with a friend. As we perused the menu, I noticed the following section: I pointed to the list and asked my friend, “If we ordered all of these, how much would it cost?” He studied the options for a moment and then said, “thirty-six dollars.” I shook my head. “Actually, […]

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Avoid confusing dialogue
On September 18, 2012 | 0 Comments

In a blog post last year, I discussed how first-time novelists tend to create characters who sound the same, which can make it hard for the reader to know who’s talking. Today, I want to address a few other dialogue mistakes: Having more than one character speak in a single paragraph Putting a beat in […]

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Using word count to stay on track
On June 5, 2012 | 1 Comments

People often tell me they would love to write a book but have no idea how they would fill that many pages. “It just seems impossible!” they say. “How do you do it?” they ask. “Baby steps,” I tell them. “Baby steps.” Think of it this way: if you write just one page a day, […]

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