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Closing Thoughts Here we are. It’s been a long journey, but hopefully it’s been a fun one. And if not every lesson learned along the way has been useful, hopefully enough of them have been to make it feel worthwhile. Hopefully, there’s been at least one thing here that has made you stop, and think,... Continue Reading →

Change It I read this in Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King, and while I read that book long enough ago that I’m going to have to paraphrase, this nugget has stayed with me for over a decade: If you think you might want to change it, change it. If something... Continue Reading →

Writing is Editing Way, way, way back when I discuss plotting vs pantsing, I mentioned that most writing advice is useless to me in the moment of writing. It’s only when planning and editing that I really have a chance to apply it. Well, now I’ve gotten through all the advice, it’s probably time to... Continue Reading →

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 →

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