Five Tips for Cleaner Writing

Self-editing doesn’t just have to be about the big stuff like plot, characters, or descriptions, and it doesn’t just have to be about fixing sticky grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes. There are other things that writers don’t always think about when cleaning up their work, but adding these to your self-editing checklist will help polish Read More

The Benefits of Changing Point of View

Many times when that great story idea hits us writers, we know exactly how we want things to go. We know who our main character will be, if we want it in first or third person, where it will take place, and likely some side characters too. Then we start putting those words on paper, Read More

Writing a Character of the Opposite Sex

In one of my writing classes in college, my least favorite teacher of all time told the class that it was not possible for anyone to successfully write in the point of view of the opposite sex. I said hold my drink (not out loud, of course). The novel I then focused on for the Read More

Improving Character Development

I’ve discussed in previous posts the importance of character development and how other ways of improving your writing can have an effect on your characters. I want to dedicate a single post to this topic, as it is, in my opinion, the biggest driving force of a story next to plot. Do you really know Read More

Setting Descriptions and Improving Descriptive Writing

When writers are focused on characters, plot, and flow of a story, sometimes the development of something equally as important gets overlooked. Amazing characters and an engrossing story cannot stand on their own; the writer must put them in vivid, memorable locations. Part of what makes fiction writing so meaningful to many is the ability Read More

Why Reading Aloud is Important for Writers

It’s safe to say that many writers feel that the voice inside their head is sufficient enough for evaluating one’s own work, or even the work of others. They often consider the act of reading aloud to be a ridiculous waste of time. I’ll be honest and say that was how I felt for a Read More

Should I Get a Critique?

As fiction writers, the worlds and characters we have created are precious to us, built from our hearts and souls. Why would we ever want to pay someone to analyze it and potentially tear it apart, shattering our hopes and dreams of our beloved baby becoming the next bestseller? Getting a story critiqued is a Read More

Writing Dialogue, Part Four: Creating a Unique Voice

Previous posts in this series have focused on dialogue tags, but in this final part it’s time to discuss what is being said. In real life, people vary in the words they say, whether it is speaking in a dialect, inserting incorrect grammar, using jargon or trendy words, or having an accent. Many variables affect Read More

Writing Dialogue, Part Three: The Evils of Adverbs

In Part Two of this series, we discussed how the use of he said/she said in dialogue tags is sufficient, as well as some ways to use descriptive language to replace tags entirely. Now we will dig deeper and analyze one of the biggest blemishes in fiction writing: the use of -ly adverbs in dialogue Read More

Writing Dialogue, Part Two: The Power of Said

In Part One of this series we discussed the ideal placement of the dialogue tag. Part Two begins analyzing the guts of the tag, specifically the use of said. I’ll quote Stephen King from his excellent book, On Writing:  “. . . while to write adverbs is human, to write he said or she said is divine.” Read More