Last week, I went with my oldest to meet with his school counselor and to select the classes he would take his junior year of high school. When we were called back, we both stood, and then he stopped to let me go in front of him without a look or prompt from me. He … Continue reading How to Show the Passage of Time in your Novel
One of my favorite things to write is the very first line of a novel. It’s also the hardest thing I write. Why is that first line so important? The purpose of the first line of a story is to get you to read the next line. And the purpose of the first paragraph is … Continue reading How to Hook your Reader
Once, while I was working at my university's writing center, a student brought in a piece of short fiction to workshop. After reading through the piece with him, I mentioned that it was difficult to distinguish his character's thoughts about the past from her current timeline. Him: "Yeah, that's what my group said too." Me: … Continue reading Past of the Past
As a teacher, I tell my students that readers are constantly making judgments about what they right, trying to estimate what kind of story or information will follow. These expectations form an unspoken agreement with the reader, and if the writer violates those expectations too much, readers feel, at best, annoyed and at worst, betrayed. … Continue reading Setting Reader Expectations (aka, why most prologues don’t work)
My wife is an avid reader. When I say avid, I mean that this woman goes through at least 3-4 books a week. She reads pretty much any genre out there as long as it’s fairly clean. The one thing that I like being married to an avid reader is hearing her many pet peeves … Continue reading Wait! That’s not their name!
Hello writers! Nice to see you again!During November I did NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month), as I have for the last four years. But something different happened this time.See, as I draft, I'm usually also leaving notes for myself. My first write-through is ridiculously messy. Brackets all over the place, bits of outline here and … Continue reading Writers, Keep Your Promises
Happy National Novel Writing Month!Me, I finished my first draft on November 2. (I started it about six months before that. 🙂 This first draft of mine is, of course, messy. And when I think of messy, I think of my daughter's room. And specifically, her Rapunzel doll's hair.Yikes.This is the actual state of poor Rapunzel's … Continue reading Untangled: 7 Revision Tips