You don't have to be a gun expert to write about guns. In most cases, you're actually better off being as non-specific as possible. Getting into a lot of details about actions and calibers and so on is a sure-fire way to put most of your readers to sleep. When details matter, though, it's important to get them right. Failing to do so can turn readers off to your writing.
By Annette Lyon Imagine that you’re reading an Agatha Christie novel. In the last chapter, Poirot calls the cops, tells them who committed the murder, and goes on his way, saying that of course everyone knows why Jeremy Jones is the one being carted off to jail. After your confusion clears, you’d probably hurl the … Continue reading The Art of Dropping Breadcrumbs
In my post from last month, "How Far Is Too Far? How Much Is Too Much?" I talked about how authors of young adult books are including more profanity, sexual situations, drug use, and other controversial content in their novels. I was really curious to find out in greater detail what readers of all ages … Continue reading Survey Analysis: How Far Is Too Far? How Much Is Too Much?
How many times do you find yourself in a waiting room, on a bus, sitting outside a restaurant waiting for the rest of your party . . . and to pass the time, you pull out your phone. You might be thinking it's the perfect opportunity to catch up on social media or to shoot off some … Continue reading Mindful Details: Paying Attention to the World Around You
This is a middle grade manuscript. It has Issues. Based on feedback from a recent round of submissions, its characters are getting a makeover. Of course there are plenty of other Issues I could tackle, but for this revision I’m focusing on making the main characters more well-developed and relatable. To research this topic, I’ve … Continue reading Building Blocks of Character: Part 1
One of the keys to writing strong characters--that is, believable, fleshed-out individuals not necessarily physically or emotionally strong ones--is giving them weaknesses. Flawless characters aren't interesting--they have no room for growth over the course of the story, and they're hard for average readers (with our own peculiarities and flaws) to relate to. Just like other … Continue reading Writing Strong Characters
We all have things about us that we don't notice in ourselves - a bluntness that is not perceived with the honest intention we might have intended, a funny story we thought we were sharing in a spirit of light-heartedness but that caused a loved one embarrassment, the ability to focus and complete a project … Continue reading Identifying a Character’s Blind Spots