How to Choose the Right Point of View for Your Story

Welcome, fiction writers! In this post, we’ll be looking at how to choose the right point of view for your story. Point of View: An Introduction Simply stated, point of view is the vantage point from which a story is told. But point of view is much more complicated than that. It encompasses everything from … read more

A Beginner’s Guide to Multiple Point of View

New to point of view? Get an introduction to the five basic points of view. What is multiple point of view? In multiple point of view, we get the perspectives of multiple characters within a single story. You have three options with multiple point of view: Multiple first person (The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver) … read more

Show Don’t Tell? Not Always. Here’s When to Use Summary

I was inspired to write this post after getting a question from one of my email subscribers: “What’s your opinion on the whole ‘show don’t tell’ advice? Do you have any tips for when to show and when to tell?” Here’s my response: I honestly think that “show don’t tell” is one of the most … read more

8 Ways to Improve Your Fiction Writing

I got a great question from one of my email subscribers last week who wanted to know how to identify weak spots and improve their writing. One of the things that comes with time and experience is finding the language to identify, discuss, and address the feeling that something isn’t quite right or that a … read more

How to Spot Bad Writing Advice: 6 Red Flags to Look For

I’m not by any means the authority on what makes good or bad writing advice. Writing is an art. There are no rules in art, which means that writing advice, by extension, is highly subjective. In my opinion, if it works for you, if it helps you improve and be happier with your writing, that’s … read more

5 Reasons to Kill Your Critique Group

As some of you know, in addition to editing professionally, I also write my own stories. This spring,  I put one of my new zines through an exhaustive beta reading and developmental editing process where I solicited feedback from nearly 25 readers. In the end, I came to an unexpected conclusion: You don’t need a … read more

Are You Using Too Much Stage Direction?

Fiction writers: Are you using too much stage direction? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, we don’t need to know that someone crossed the room, reached for the coffee cup, turned sideways, took a step forward, or glanced to the left. Visual writers have an especially hard time with this (fiction writers who “see” their … read more

Why Nobody Cares About Your Plot

A harsh truth today from fiction-land: Readers don’t care about your plot. They care about how your plot affects your characters. You can have as many betrayals, breakups, fights, CIA conspiracies, evil war lords, double-crossings, sudden bouts of amnesia, comas, and flaming meteors racing directly toward Manhattan as you want. But if readers don’t understand … read more

How to Use Adverbs Like a Pro

Contrary to popular fiction writing wisdom, adverbs are not always the devil. Like anything, they quickly become problematic when poorly used or overused. However when used well and sparingly, they can be a great asset to your writing. Case in point: Here are some examples of well-chosen, well-used adverbs penned by published fiction writers… “They … read more

How to Activate Your Passive Characters, One Verb at a Time

Here’s a quick tip: Active, dynamic verbs make for active, dynamic characters. (And conversely, weak, passive verbs make for weak, passive characters!) Instead of writing characters who have strong motivations, and who actively go out and try to get what they want, beginning fiction writers often create characters who are passive. In other words, the … read more