Instead of dissecting the symbolism and thematic significance of a poem, this series is meant to be a practical discussion of what fiction writers can learn from poetry. Because a poem uses so few words, each word must be meaningful and carefully chosen to have the impact the poet desires. In The Love Song of … Continue reading Portraying character in fiction: Lessons from J. Alfred Prufrock
As I go about my days, I come across a plethora of helpful articles on writing and the publishing industry. I use a handy app called Pocket to save them all for when I get a chance to sit down and read them. Every so often I like to share the resources I’ve found. Here … Continue reading What’s in my pocket? Resources for writers!
Warning: This isn't an in-depth, academic poetry analysis full of symbolism and themes. This is a more practical look at what E.E. Cummings' style can teach authors about writing. E.E. Cummings is well known for playing with words, putting them together in unconventional ways. He also used unusual grammar for a wonderful dramatic effect. These … Continue reading What fiction writers can learn from E.E. Cummings
The present tense is a controversial subject among writers. You’ll hear people who love it and people who vow never to read anything written with it. If you write present tense, however, you’re not keeping bad company. Haruki Murakami, John Updike, and Margaret Atwood have all written wonderfully in present tense. They’re not the only … Continue reading Should writers use the present tense?
I’ve often heard people who give writing advice say “don’t write a prologue.” If I were someone qualified to give writing advice, I’d say, “don’t write a bad prologue.” The prologue at the beginning of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind is a beautiful and necessary part of the novel. If The Name of … Continue reading On beginnings: The prologue to The Name of the Wind
Stephen King has some wonderful first lines, that both hook the reader and skillfully capture the essence of the book. There's a lot to be learned from his technique. Here are four of my favorites. The Gunslinger The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed. This sentence sets up the story’s … Continue reading On Beginnings: Stephen King’s first lines
The beginning of any novel is critically important, and it can be daunting to write one. In this series on beginnings, I’m going to dissect some of my favorite opening lines and passages, and hopefully find some strategies for starting a book. One of the best beginnings I’ve ever read is from The Windup Girl … Continue reading On beginnings: The Windup Girl and constructed chaos