Tag Archive - writing craft

Advice I Wish I’d Been Given When I Started … Part 1

I wasted a large chunk of my life stumbling around in the dark, trying to become a “writer.” I became a writing coach in recent years solely motivated by the desire to spare new writers the pain and misery I went through—all because there were a number of important things I didn’t know. And the problem was, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I wished I’d had the future “me” to tell that naive “me” what I needed to know way back when (nearly thirty years ago). So before I share the things I wished I had known before I started my professional writing journey, I decided to ask some other seasoned, experienced authors what three key bits of advice they would give new writers that they wished they’d known when they started writing.

 Today’s post is from Jessica Bell, whom I met when she hired me to critique and edit her novel, String Bridge (a terrific book that haunts me even years later). Jessica has jumped into the indie writing scene with a strong voice and presence—from Greece, by way of Australia. Here what she has to say: Continue Reading…

A Peek inside the Envelope

Sol Stein, the famous editor, author, and writing instructor, has a very short chapter in his classic book Stein on Writing that he calls “Creating the Envelope.” As I looked through my numerous books on writing craft, I drifted toward his book (which happens a lot), and was reminded again of the best advice to give writers regarding setting details.

I spoke last time of exploring your character’s feelings and responses to setting, to make setting personal and dynamic in your novel, as well as to give it heart. There’s nothing more boring in a novel than a paragraph of dry narrative to describe each new place your character finds himself in (well, it’s up there with trite dialog). But this week I want to talk about boiling down the essence of a locale or setting in a scene, and Stein’s “envelope” really is the best way to do it. Continue Reading…

Settings in Your Novel That Work As Triggers

When choosing settings for your scenes, you want to think about the kinds of places that will allow the emotions, needs, dreams, and fears of your characters to come out. Certain places will trigger these things to come to the surface and will stir memories. Your character has a past, and even if she never visits any of the places in her past in your novel, other places can draw out feelings and memories. This happens to us all the time.

Continue Reading…

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