As I go about my usual business wasting time on social media, I often come across excellent articles on the craft of writing and the business of publishing. Because I'm distracted by cat pictures, I tuck them away in my pocket to read later. Every so often, I like to share some of the best information … Continue reading What’s in my pocket? Resources for writers
Every writer gets the blues from time to time. You know what I mean: the pervasive feeling that what you’re writing isn’t any good. Even the best writers suffer from this ailment from time to time. Self doubt is part of the process but that doesn’t mean it’s fun. When I start to really struggle … Continue reading How to overcome the writing blues
Writing characters with mental illnesses can be a challenge. Authors must do some amount of research to be sure they’re representing the experience in a compassionate, honest, and believable way. Here are five things to keep in mind when writing mental illness. 1. Avoid a magical recovery Books and movies about mental illness often end the same … Continue reading 4 pitfalls to avoid when writing about mental illness
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!
Creating effective character descriptions can be difficult. You can bore the reader with too much description, but if it’s used effectively, it can be a powerful tool. In this example, Jim Butcher uses character description to build tension, illuminate his characters, set a consistent tone for the novel, and tell us about the protagonist. This … Continue reading How do I write effective character descriptions? (part 1)
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
What’s in my pocket? Hint: It’s not the one ring. It’s actually a collection of writing resources I’ve found all over the internet and kept in my handy Pocket app. Pocket is a great app that saves online articles to read later, and you can get it for Chrome, iOS, and Android. Among the many … Continue reading What’s in my pocket?