Fiction writing articles

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‘Reject authors constructively or face alienating them’

The founder of ‘author-centric’ independent publisher September Publishing has said publishers should find time to “constructively” reject authors or they will “abandon the industry” and become self-published.

Actions vs Choices: Crafting Better Plots

I was updating an outline of my WIP one day when something interesting hit me. I had a line of what was going to happen in a chapter, but it was written as if this was an inevitable event.

Writing Mechanics: Scene Structure as a Mini Novel

We’ve already established that it’s best to come late. But once we’ve arrived in a scene, what do we do there? Let’s look at a couple of different passages.

How To Make the Most of the Words That Tell Your Story (And Why It Matters)

In the book I recently cowrote with four other editors (including, C.S. Lakin, who has guest posted here before), we wrote an entire chapter on finding (and fixing) pesky adverbs and weasel words. These are words that tell instead of show, that clutter up the page with useless or repetitive information, that make reading a weighty slog instead of an immersion we barely notice because we care so much about the story itself.

The Current

What about a novel sweeps us up into its world? What carries us along even when the imperatives of plot are on hold or absent? What makes us ache for something without knowing what it is? What makes us impatient for a story’s resolution at the same time that we want the tale to go on forever? What is it that causes us to feel that a story has touched our souls?

Writing Mechanics: Avoiding the “I” Trap and Other Irritants

This week we’re discussing how poor writing mechanics can lead to dull writing. Let’s examine how repetitive pronoun/proper name use and other small mistakes can weaken fiction and what we can do to strengthen our work.

Why We Should Do Bad Things to Our Characters

I’ve a favorite answer when folks ask me about how I write my characters: “Whatever doesn’t kill them makes them more interesting.” For me, putting my characters through terrible situations is how I discover who they are—trial by fire. Until I force them to make the tough choices and face the hard truths, I don’t truly know them.

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