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Writing Exercise: Write without “saying” anything.

November 27, 2013

Hey guys. I’ve talked a bit about the word “said,” and how most writers go through an “avoiding said” stage when they’re working on improving their craft. And while that post goes into detail on how using synonyms for “said” isn’t actually always the best idea, there ARE other ways to stop using it so frequently. My husband and I were actually talking about this, and he told me he tries to avoid using not just “said,” but any dialogue identifiers when he writes. Even though you should usually use “said” instead of any other dialogue identifier in most (not all) cases, it is actually a really good practice to remove these identifiers entirely. It forces you to think more about the other actions your characters are taking, and it makes you identify who is speaking in what scene in more creative ways. That being said, here’s my challenge to you today: write a whole section of dialogue without using […]

that and of

Writing Exercise: That and Of.

November 21, 2013

Today I’m going to cover something a little different. Maybe it’s not that different. Who am I to know? Regardless, this blog is a writing exercise to help other writers slim their finished work down. I’ve talked about word count before. I’ve also mentioned many first-time writers have the same problem I had: their work is simply too long, and many agents won’t consider it. Usually, a longer-than-average book implies a first-time writer who has not spent enough time fine-tuning their work. This is a great exercise to do right off the bat, right when you first start editing, especially if you’re only a few thousand words over your limit. It’s also just a great exercise in general, because it keeps your writing concise and clear. In fact, all writers should do this. So, to tie into the title of this article, the words we’re going to demonize today are “that” and “of.” Why? Because most writers use them in […]


Character Study: Noah Hill

November 13, 2013

Yesterday, I outlined a role playing exercise for fellow writers to use for character development. I thought it was only fair to give you a peek into some of my character development done through role play. It also may give you an idea on the “kind” of writing that suits this type of exercise best. The following snippet is from a role play I started a few years ago with a friend. We didn’t get very far, but I’m already so in love with Noah I can’t wait to develop a storyline around her. It’ll happen eventually, I’m sure. As you can see in this snippet, I’ve already started to hint at some of Noah’s backstory. The prose itself doesn’t read too differently than what you would expect to read out of a novel. I tend to write in a lot of reflective pieces, which helps me understand my character’s motivations and emotions. There is also plenty for other characters […]


Character study exercise: role play.

November 12, 2013

No, not that kind of role play! The kind of role play I’m talking about is essentially writing in a group. A few writers get together, develop their individual characters, and then take turns writing a story by putting their characters into a situation and having them interact. Each writer produces a “post” from their characters perspective to further along the plot. I’ve talked about role play a few times before, both in a post about character development and in “The Writer” tab above. Though this is definitely not the only way to develop a character, this method has helped me create so many characters for my books it is absolutely ridiculous. A lot of writers don’t really understand this concept, though, or they consider it juvenile. Don’t get me wrong–it can be–but it fully depends on what you want to get out of it and how you approach it. You can avoid any of this “unprofessional” behavior in a […]

Red and Hive City

Sneak Peek: Red and Hive City

August 15, 2013

[nivo]When I’m working on a novel, I write short snippets of copy that never actually makes it into the book. These snippets are exercises I do to explore personality, setting, and mood. They help me prepare for actually writing the goddamned book itself, which would be remarkably harder without these exercises than it is with them. Sometimes these exercises are as brief as a few sentences to play with wording, and sometimes they’re pages long. Take a look at this one, and get a sneak peek into my latest WIP. Cheers, –MC * * * The air reeked of potent sterilization–a city too clean to actually be clean. Silver buildings reached high into the starless skyline, reflecting the vibrant oranges and purples of the Empyrean sunset in sharp, geometric forms. He stood back from the rooftop’s edge as he watched rivers of hovering vehicles flow soundlessly around the chrome structures as though they were stones in the water. From where […]


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