Writing Bigger

All writers fall into one of two categories: overwriters and underwriters. Editing as an overwriter can be pretty agonizing, as you have to line up your darlings against a wall and get out the shotgun. Underwriters don’t have it any easier, though. By the time you’ve wrapped up your story… it’s done. So what if your “novel” came in at …

Making Words Feel Like Life

We all know what it’s like to read a story that feels, well… fake. Every page gets a eyeroll, each plot point feels fabricated, and every line of dialogue feels wooden and artificial. Any book in any genre can suffer from this, but oddly, it doesn’t have a lot to do with the actual subject matter. I’ve read biographies of …

The Hero’s Journey – Step 1, The Ordinary World

In my first post on The Hero’s Journey, I talked about why this story structure can often result in rote, formulaic stories–but also why, if you understand the dramatic intent behind each step, they can add strength and impact to your stories, whatever you’re writing.

The Hero’s Journey – Why and How to Use It

The Hero’s Journey gets a pretty bad rap for producing rote and formulaic stories, but it can still be an incredibly powerful tool for creating compelling fiction. The key is understanding the why of each of the journey’s elements. Why do we need to establish an Ordinary World? Why does the hero need to Refuse the Call? What’s the purpose of a …

Choosing the Right Words

Weak words are words that are lazy, or vague–the low-hanging fruit in your vocabulary. Don’t simply choose a word; choose the right word. 

Choosing the Right POV

One of the biggest decisions you have to make before you begin writing a story is through whose eyes are you going to tell the story. For those writers who invent their characters first, and then build their stories around those characters, choosing the POV is an easier task. But what if the story–or at least the premise—came first? How do you know who would be the most effective POV character? What if you’re using multiple POVs, and have more than one to choose from for a specific scene?

Stylish Dialogue

When my husband started writing for publication, I had the unique opportunity to get an up-close-and-personal look at the writing process of another person. One of the things he struggled with was the specific handling of grammar when writing dialogue. I’ve seen several other of my writer friends struggle with this, so I thought I’d break down the basics here.

When Grammar Doesn’t Matter

My name is Rebekah, and I’m a grammar nazi. There, I admitted it. I love language. I love when it’s used properly, and with elegance. Grammar is primarily intended to add clarity to words, and clarity is always a good thing. But… though it pains me to say it… sometimes good grammar isn’t necessary, or even the best choice.

The Character Sympathy Hack

Today while driving I listened to the most recent episode of Writing Excuses, one of my favorite writing podcasts. The episode was titled Three Pronged Character Development, and you NEED to listen to it.