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 40k?* The story is done.

If you’re an underwriter, first, know that there is no inherent shame in short work. It’s okay if you thought it was a novel, but it turns out it was a novella. There’s nothing superior about a huge word count–especially considering that most novels with epic wordcount could stand to hit the gym, even the ones by brilliant authors. Read more

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 actual people that have earned some major side-eye from me, and fantasy novels that felt deeply, intimately real, with worlds that seemed to exist beyond the boundaries of the story itself.

So, how is that possible?

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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 Black Moment, and how does it increase the impact of the eventual resolution?

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Choosing the Right Words

If you’re a writer studying craft, you may come across the term “weak words”, specifically in the context of not using them.

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.  Read more

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–otherwise known as a Point of View. If you’re new to the idea of POV, click here for a good primer.

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 came first, or you have multiple POV characters? How do you know which is the most effective POV to tell this part of the story? Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more