On Writing


When Good Body Parts Go Bad Articles / On Writing

We’ve all read that story. You know the one with independently moving body parts, right? This is called disembodied motion, and it’s an issue that can worm its way into the writing of even the most seasoned of authors. But is all disembodied motion bad? Of course not. As with most things in the English language, there’s an exception to almost every rule. But this...

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Drawing An Emotional Reaction From Your Reader Articles / On Writing

Recently I read a sequel with a male lead whose inner struggles nearly cost him everything—his love, his job, his child—and I cried at no less than three points in the story. As he pulled himself back from the edge and turned his life around, I wondered what about this character and his story prompted such a visceral reaction from me. The easy answer is...

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Articles / On Writing

If you’ve ever heard of deus ex machina and wondered what it is, have I got an article for you. Deus ex machina is Latin and means “God from the machine.” It refers to a plot device that results in a miracle that saves the day when all seems lost and there’s no way out. This is used when the author has written themselves into...

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Articles / On Writing

You know when you’re around that one friend who speaks in an accent (Southern, British, Spanish, etc.) and after a while you find yourself using the same words and phrases or speaking with a similar accent as that friend? This is called voice drift. It happens in writing too. Have you ever read a book where the characters all sounded the same, the narrative (especially...

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Articles / On Writing

There! Got your attention, didn’t I? Now that I have it, let’s talk about opening scenes and first chapters. What makes an opening scene great? What is it about an exceptional first chapter that makes a reader want—or need—to continue on with the story? What should an author include or stay far, far away from in her opening scene to engage the reader and give...

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Articles / On Writing

I have found that the old adage actions speak louder than words is especially true in writing. One of the more difficult elements for a writer of fiction is the use of subtlety to show who your characters are. Especially when it’s so much easier to simply have your character say, “Derek is a jerk! Can you believe what he said to Sharon?” Then there’s the...

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Articles / On Writing

Do you have a gifted character that knows what everyone around her thinks or feels? Is she making the other characters in your book uncomfortable with her uncanny insights? If so, you just might have a mind reader on your hands, and I’m not talking about the sparkly vampire variety, either. I mean, think about it… How creepy would it be to be around a...

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Articles / On Writing

If any of you follow my articles, you know by now that I’m an editor and a struggling writer. And let me tell you, I struggle. A lot. I don’t know why I can’t get past my hump. Let me rethink what I just wrote. I do know what it is killing my writing dreams—excuses. I get hung up on so many things like self-doubt; it’s a...

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Articles / On Writing

I’ve written about the three-act structure  in novels and how it relates to plot. In this article, I want to take a look at subplots and how to use them in fiction. Subplots are secondary or side stories to the main plot of the story. By nature, they have less action, focus, and events that unfold than the main plot. In addition, subplots have a...

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Articles / On Writing

Oh jeez, where do I start with this pep talk. I know you’re thinking: A pep talk? Really? Yes, indeedy. I have a lot author friends, clients, Facebook friends, followers, etc., so I hear a variety of gripes, tales of woe, burning hatred, and envy for a plethora of reasons like “Why can’t I crank out books like so and so?” or “Where in the...

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