The Great Sin of Sci-Fi Last week, we discussed the benefits of showing over telling, but also noted that occasionally telling has it’s uses. A very specific form of telling is “infodumping.” Literally the dumping of a lot of information. This topic most often comes up in the sci-fi and fantasy genres where often a... Continue Reading →

Nice Writers Don’t Kiss and Tell So, a common piece of writing advice is to show and not tell. Just to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Telling is this: Jack felt angry Showing is this: Jack took a step forward, fists clenching involuntarily. Blood thundered in his ears. The end result of each... Continue Reading →

A Bit of the Old Ultraviolence So, this week is about action scenes. When I use “action” in this context what I’m talking about specifically is “action movie” action. Violent action. Explosions, and gunfire, and kung fu. That sort of thing. This is not what counts as action in every story. In a detective novel,... Continue Reading →

RELEASE DAY! Today is the day "City of Iron and Dust" is finally available. If you want a copy, please feel free to visit your local bookstore, or use one of the following links.

Leave Out the Boring Bits (Reprise)  So, I spent a tremendously long time talking about narrative structure. In some ways, that’s really a conversation about pacing at a macro level. Now, I want to start talking about it at the scene level. Still a couple of general pieces of advice still carry over, the main... Continue Reading →

Talking = Action Picture the scene: a detective, creased and crumpled, leans over a dented metal desk. On the other side, a woman in a smart pants suit leans back and takes a drag on a cigarette. They start to talk. The detective asks questions. The woman dodges around them, sidles past the truth. She... Continue Reading →

Make the Reader Do the Work The relationship between writer and reader is essentially a collaborative one. No matter how much detail you put on the page, you cannot get down everything that makes a moment come to life. And even if you could, it would take so long to describe the minutia of every... Continue Reading →

(Unless It’s for A Reason) Over the course of this guide, I’ve been slowly narrowing and narrowing the focus, starting big and getting smaller. Now I’m going to jump down to the smallest unit I want to talk about—the sentence—before in the following weeks we open back up to talk about some bigger, scene level... Continue Reading →

To Be or To Going to Be or To Was I may not remember much about high school French, but I do remember there are a lot of tenses out there. Imperfect. Pluperfect. Pluperfect subjunctive. This is going to be a bit simpler than that. Pretty much the main two tenses you really need to... Continue Reading →

Where We’re Going There Are No Rules I hope I’ve hinted at this throughout everything I’ve written so far, but as we wander into more technical territory, I want to make it explicit here: there are no writing rules. If anyone tells you a hard and fast writing rule, then google it and within a... Continue Reading →

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