5 Tips for Writing Great Descriptions

This month’s post comes from a question I got from one of my email subscribers: “How do you write description in your novels? Not a character one, surrounding ones. How do you describe the background of the novel?” Here’s my answer: I talk at length about writing description in my book The Complete Guide to … read more

Dealing With Procrastination

Hello writers! This week I’m answering a question from one of my subscribers about procrastination: “Do you have any advice about dealing with procrastination while writing? I get these amazing story ideas but I end up not writing at all and surfing the net instead.” Here’s my answer: First impression: You need to block yourself … read more

How to Spot an Info Dump

I got a great question from one of my email subscribers recently: “How do I know if I’m info-dumping?” Here’s my response! Wait… What is an info-dump? For those who don’t know, an info-dump refers to areas of a story where a fiction writer gives a long expository description, either in narrative or in dialogue, … read more

How to Control Your Pacing

I’ve been thinking a lot about pacing lately, as I’m in the process of editing a few of my own stories, which tend to be too slow in the beginning and too fast in the end. Fortunately I have a ton of experience speeding up or slowing down pacing when I edit my clients’ manuscripts. … read more

How to Write During a Pandemic

Normally I keep this blog focused on writing advice and steer away from politics, but with the COVID-19 pandemic raging and all the accompanying uncertainty about our future post-climate change, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a writer on a rapidly changing planet. What’s our responsibility in a time like … read more

How to Read Like a Writer

One of my email subscribers recently asked me how they could critically read another writer in order to help them improve their writing, in other words, how they could learn to read like a writer. Here’s my response: #1 Re-read If you get halfway into a chapter and think, Wow this chapter is super creepy–I … read more

What if Your First Draft DOESN’T Suck?

Hear me out on this one. There’s a lot of advice out there (I’ve given it myself) about being okay with writing a shitty first draft, and I basically agree with the premise. Too many new writers get paralyzed with the expectation that they should be able to sit down and barf out a flawless … read more

How to Do World-Building Research

Whether you’re building a fantasy world from scratch, or mentally designing the suburban house your very realistic story will take place in, at a certain point in your writing process you’ll need to plan out your story world. Here are a few world-building research methods to get you started: Ask Questions Ask anything and everything … read more

How to Properly Format a Manuscript for Submission

Hello fiction writers! Today I’m covering a question I get asked a lot: How do you properly format a fiction manuscript for submission? With small press publishers, literary magazine editors, and literary agents under an increasing amount of stress, formatting your manuscript correctly is more important than ever. As a professional fiction editor and a … read more

10 Questions to Ask an Editor Before Hiring Them

While a great editor can bring your fiction to its highest level and teach you priceless writing skills in the process, other editors can leave you in worse shape than you started—frustrated, confused, and out a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. I don’t want that to happen to you, writers! In this post, … read more