In my wanders as a writer, beta reader and editor of fiction, I've recently come across several drafts of stories with the same major issue: Unrealistic emotional reactions from characters. This is a common early draft issue, so no need to beat yourself up if your first passes through character reactions don't sit well with … Continue reading Re/action
Listening to Gabino Iglesias talk about how yes, writing is hard, and you need to want to be a writer more than you want anything else. The heart of his talk? Do the work, don't give up. Ignore all the reasons why you can't. Find time to do it - on a break, on the … Continue reading Writing is hard.
So you've spend a lot of time writing and revising a story. You're getting to a point where it's in pretty good shape. Maybe you've had some beta readers look through all or part of it. Maybe you've workshopped it. Before you release it upon the world (or upon literary agents), consider pausing for a … Continue reading Sensitivity readings: An essential part of writing
One of the things that's been joyously freeing about my writing program is that we're given permission to do something important: Write badly. In order to create a sculpture, you have to start with a big block of clay, or a stone, or a chunk of wood. At first, you're just hacking pieces away and … Continue reading Write badly
The other week in class, my writing instructor said, "When you get rid of the explanation, the emotion really comes through." That hit me, because I was like...this is truth. This is a life lesson. Reveal something without directly saying it, and you make it much more powerful. Watch how others around you reveal things … Continue reading Delete the explanation
As a writer, when you're building a world and learning about your characters, you're thinking about a lot of things. Do you ever think about how your characters perceive the world? How they process information? I've been reading a book called The Error of Truth that discusses the difference between changing what one knows versus … Continue reading Gods or sinners
I got into a two year intensive writing program for people writing books - fiction and non-fiction, though mine is fiction. Emotions are high - I'm excited, I'm terrified, I'm confident, I'm plagued with self-doubt. The word of the week is vacillation. I knew I wanted to do this, but I didn't know how much … Continue reading Writing program!
I had a day off, and spent it drafting an outline. I've never been one who was able to write to an outline. My stories like to go off on little weekend retreats without telling me then come back and start ordering me around with the pride and swagger of a newly hatched adolescent. Mostly … Continue reading Outline this.
I went to the Botanical gardens a few weeks ago. Mainly I was there to get some work done, and the gardens are a nice place to read or write. But I remembered, while I was there, an assignment that a teacher once had us to called Word Gardens. Word Gardens, the way I remember … Continue reading Word Gardens
As an independent editor/beta reader, I see a lot of writers fall into the message trap - they have something they want to say, something they feel is important, and they're very passionate about it. There's nothing inherently wrong with this - in fact, even if you're a pantser (vs a plotter), you should be … Continue reading A message is not a story