Troubleshooting

Dealing with common problems in your drafts.

Earning Story Events

Earning story events means paying attention to three types of context (deep, situational, and immediate) as well as giving the character time to arrive at a response.

Your Writing Needs to Be Better Than Game of Thrones

The writing for the TV series has been in a steep downhill descent for a while, and the 3rd episode of Season 8, which needed to pay off a years-long plot arc, utterly failed to create a cohesive narrative.

The Pitfalls of Emotional Body Language in Your Writing

Physical expressions of emotion can be problematic, even though they’re justified by the “Show, don’t tell” mandate. But there are often better, more artful ways to give us insights into the interiority of your POV characters.

The Problem with “Show, Don’t Tell”

The old writing adage of “show, don’t tell” is good advice, but it can occasionally get writers in trouble. Good writers sometimes fall prey to hyperdetailing–giving excessive description without serving the story.

How to Make a DIY Writing Retreat

Can’t make it to any writing retreats, conferences, or residencies? Then make your own. Here are the four steps for making a DIY writing retreat.

Revision for Haters

How to approach revision when you dread it. Knowing the different levels of revision will help you know how to receive critiques, how to prioritize and plan your revision, and how to re-energize the process with enthusiasm and creativity.

4 Common Failures in Story Cause/Effect

Causality governs story events. You want your story to feel authentic, believable, and seamless. You don’t want any of the events or reactions within the story to draw attention to themselves. They must be earned. This article examines common failures to earn story developments.

Formatting Character Thoughts

Is it better to format character thoughts with quote marks or italics? I say neither.

Is it better to format character thoughts with quote marks or italics? I say neither. No special formatting is necessary to signify character thinking. You just need some solid narration.

Should You Use Synonyms for Said?

Should you use synonyms for "said"? Some writing advice claims "said is dead"; others look disparagingly upon "saidisms," the fancier cousins of "said." Here's the rule of thumb.

Should you use synonyms for “said”? Some writing advice claims “said is dead”; others look disparagingly upon “saidisms,” the fancier cousins of “said.” Here’s the rule of thumb.

Dealing with Criticism and Rejections

Coping with criticism and rejection is key for writers. Having endured lots of critiques and rejections, I can share what mindset I’ve found successful in coping with the ups and downs of receiving critiques and rejections.

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