Writing by the Rules

There are no hard and fast rules in writing.  For a lot of folks, their first introduction to writing instruction comes in the form of entry-level writing courses in high school and college. These courses are tailored toward the lowest common denominator: usually, people who have little to no writing experience, and are not necessarily avid readers. They also mostly …

Critiquing: Honesty vs Tact (Communicating Effectively pt 2)

I posted earlier on the subject of Honesty vs Tact in critiquing. The problem with the Honesty vs Tact argument is that the two are not mutually exclusive. Tact is not dishonesty. Tact is the ability to communicate our ideas without giving offense. Naturally, we can only do so much to avoid giving offense–especially if we want to honestly express …

Critiquing: Honesty vs Tact (Communicating Effectively)

A topic recently came up on the Scribophile forums, posing the question: When critiquing someone else’s work, is it better to be honest or tactful?  The overwhelming response seemed to be “Brutal honesty is the only way to learn”, but I had a big problem with the original premise. Honesty and tact are not on opposite sides of a spectrum, …

Scribophile

I’ve been a member of www.fantasy-writers.org for a long time, but recently I signed up for another writing site, Scribophile. The community of writers there is much larger, and not so tightly focused (all genres are represented there). So far I’ve been really enjoying it.

Music & Writing

When I was 13, my sister bought Collective Soul’s first album (Hints, Allegations, and Things Left Unsaid), and played it all summer long. As a result, every time I hear a song from that album, I am suddenly and very vividly 13 years old again. My brain has linked that music so irrevocably to my 13th year, and all the …

Prophecies, Part 2

This is part 2 of how to create a prophecy or any other sort of archaic text for your story. In my previous post, we talked about the basic elements of a prophecy (who? what? when? where? why? is there cake? is the cake a lie?). Now we can bring together those elements and start creating the actual text of …

Miss Snark, Literary Agent

I came across Miss Snark’s blog years ago, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. The very aptly named Miss Snark describes her occupation as “Satan’s literary agent”. Her blog provides an immense amount of information on the publishing industry, delivered in such a hilarious, scathing voice that her anonymity is a wise career move. Miss Snark closed …

Writing the Middle

A lot of writers are good at beginnings–starting off with a bang. Then there are plenty of writers who are masters of endings, knowing how to tie things up in a way that is both dramatic and satisfying. I rarely come across anyone who favors the middle section of a story. In my experience, this is the point where I …

Prophecies

Prophecies are a very common element among fantasy stories. I can hear you now.. “Cliche! It’s been done to death. Prophecies are so predictable (ha, get it?).” When paired with a protagonist that happens to be the ‘Chosen One’, yeah, I agree. This is a hard one to pull off in a fresh way. However, prophecies and predictions are present …