Filtering by Tag: Author
This is not particularly relevant to the post, but I’m getting an awful lot of comments telling me, often a little snarkily, “it’s ‘THAT’ not ‘WHICH'”.
The “don’t use which for restrictive clauses” rule comes (as far as I can tell) from Strunk and White. Plenty of authors, including Austen, have used “which” exactly as I use it in the title. It’s very commonly used like this here in England, so I’m guessing my comments are coming from US readers.Read More
Great grammar gives your writing power. The author Joan Didion once said ‘Grammar is a piano I play by ear… All I know about grammar is its infinite power. To shift the structure of a sentence alters the meaning of that sentence, as definitely and inflexibly as the position of a camera alters the meaning of the object photographed.’ Develop your own ear and writing skillusing these 7 resources:Read More
Congratulations. You’ve done it. You’ve decided that it’s time to fire up the old laptop and write an honest-to-God story. Not just another fanfic like you did back in high school, but a story that you’ll put your name on and get published.
And then you find you’re struggling to get past Page One. Or that you’re not satisfied with your story premise. And then we get to the round of second-guessing ourselves and wondering why this was even a good idea in the first place.
I get that feeling. All writers do. And if you’re starting out for the first time, here are some guidelines that can help you avoid some simple mistakes in your plot and your pacing.Read More
Welcome to September! I’m taking a moment away from my morning writing routine to introduce our topic, and thought that while I do so, I’ll take some time to reflect more on this great fantasy genre I write in and appreciate, via a detailed research tour, the diversity that exists around the unique narratives I’ve explored.
This month, our contributors will be writing more about what it means to cross genres or explore other aspects of fantasy, so to kick it all off, let’s talk about fantasy and just what it is and what sets it apart from the other genres.Read More
If you cut my wrist, I’d bleed pantser all over you. Which, for anyone that knows me in real life, is about as ironic as you can get. I’m hyper organised. I have lists of lists and spreadsheets to make even the hardiest of geeks weep. I’m so extreme my wife has to schedule in time for spontaneity.Read More
I‘ve been voraciously reading through a few books on enhancing both conflict and suspense in our fictional worlds. I was preparing to delve into the topic when I realized I haven’t offered a single post on the core types of conflict. Let’s take a day to carve out a foundation before we start building castles (or blowing them up).Read More
Lynn Serafinn shares a template for writing good marketing copy for your wholesalers, and discusses what to put on the back cover and back pages of your book. Part 4 of a 5-part series on self-publishing.Read More
Welcome to Part 2 of my series about how to write a great heroine. You can catch up with Part 1, all about why compelling heroines are so important, here. This week I’m looking into the different ways we can make the heroine seem so real to the reader that they forget she is a fictional creation.Read More
There is no basic formula for how to start a novel in third person. Yet working with third person POV presents specific choices, challenges and advantages. Here are 7 tips for beginning a book in third person:Read More
When we start to write, we often don’t think about what we’re doing. We pour our stories on to a page and hope for the best. We add characters, viewpoints, settings, and backstory, thinking that it will make sense to everybody because it makes sense to us.
It doesn’t. The best way to begin is to stick to one plot and one sub-plot in your first books. Use these as practice runs to help you concentrate on storytelling. This will encourage you to focus on creating nuanced, powerful characters who live in their own extraordinary worlds, even if that world is one room. These characters must overcome obstacles in pursuit of a goal.Read More
Did you know there is one super easy way to ratchet up the tension in your novel? It doesn’t take much work on your part, but it creates an immense amount of pressure for your characters. And we all know that pressure=tension=page turner.
So what is this one little trick? It’s nothing fancy, I assure you. But it’s something that many authors use and many forget about.Read More
We live in a country that has 11 official languages. There is a good chance that either the writer or the reader of any given document is a second language English speaker. This makes the use of Plain Language even more valuable.
The advantages of being bilingual, or even multilingual, are endless. Your brain actually works differently, but it does mean you have to work hard to use the correct grammar.
Plain language guidelines encourage the use of active voice, simpler words, and shorter sentences and paragraphs.Read More
Welcome to a weekend in the QE household. It’s blistering hot outside (100 Fahrenheit) and with our baby boy not being impervious to the heat, we are trapped in the house. Given our confinement, my wife and I have spent some time watching what I classify as, “terribly cheesy television shows.” Truth be told, I have found myself guiltily enjoying them tooRead More
Some people would argue that there are lots and lots of things.
But today I learned it once again boils down to the characters.
Last week I talked about writing real-life characters who walk and talk like flesh and blood. But how just how do I breathe life into a character? By showing they react to a situation and what makes them special and unique. That is what turns an ordinary cliche of astory such as boy meets girl into an authentic book that only I can write.Read More
There are many reasons to learn how to write a romantic novel. For one, Romance remains an extremely popular and even lucrative genre. In 2015, the Romance Writers of America shared statistics showing that romance books bring publishers and indie authors over $1.08 billion in sales annually. Here are 5 tips for writing a romantic book that will appeal to lovers of all genres:Read More
Part 7 of The Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling According to Marvel
I talk a lot about how important story structure is. But let’s be honest. Story structure is a complicated beast. Few stories ace every single beat to perfection every single time. I’ve read (and watched) incredible stories that were incredible in spite of the fact they were working off a sometimes wobbly narrative structure.Read More
As a professional writer, style guides are part of the job.
Clients may have their own guides, or at least their own ideas for guides. Clients may be willing to defer to you and whatever your style is. Whichever scenario, it’s good to know what a style guide is and to have one for your own business.Read More
There are countless rules for writing success, but the most famous ones, at least in the science-fiction field, are the five coined by the late, great Robert A. Heinlein.
Heinlein used to say he had no qualms about giving away these rules, even though they explained how you could become his direct competitor, because he knew that almost no one would follow their advice.
In my experience, that's true: if you start off with a hundred people who say they want to be writers, you lose half of the remaining total after each rule — fully half the people who hear each rule will fail to follow it.
I'm going to share Heinlein's five rules with you, plus add a sixth of my own.Read More