Tips and Tricks

posts displayed by category

Your idea sucks.

November 21, 2014

Maybe not this idea, maybe not the idea you had before this idea, but at one point, and eventually, and often, you’re going to have an idea that really, truly sucks. You’ll think it’s awesome at first, and you’ll work on it a lot and think about it all the time. You may even start writing it down. Then one day, you’re laying in bed and everything just clicks. Or, if you’re like me, it unclicks and suddenly you’re doubting everything about this idea. Something just isn’t working, and you’re not sure what, but it makes you doubt the whole thing. From here, you have two options: One, you can try to fly with the idea anyway and see if you can’t fix what’s wrong with it, which is something a lot of writers are apt to doing if only because they don’t want to consider the time they’ve spent developing the idea as “wasted” time. Or, two, you can […]


Pros and cons to the “edit as you go” mentality.

November 5, 2014

When I write, especially when I’m working on creative pieces like short stories and novels, I have this habit of editing as I go. This is one of those things you’ll hear a lot of other writers say you should never, ever do, as, they claim, you’ll never finish a book that way. Since I’ve finished four books that way (and one of them I’ve rewritten four times), I’m going to say that they’re lying and it’s absolutely possible to edit as you write and finish your novel. I even did this when I was doing National Novel Writing Month last year, and not only did I manage to hit the 50,000 word mark, I managed to finish the book entirely at over 80,000 words. (We’ll ignore the fact that I realized toward the end that I had been following the wrong character the whole time and I’ll need to redo the whole damned outline to address this mishap. I […]


Software review (kind of): Scapple

October 22, 2014

With how much I rant and rave about Scrivener (my all-time favorite writing software), it’s probably a surprise that it’s taken me so long to try out the other software developed by the same company: Scapple. Where Scrivener is a fancy word processor designed to help writers keep their stories organized, outlined, and overwhelmingly beautiful, Scapple is a different kind of program entirely. Scapple is basically a really simple but extremely elegant brainstorming program, which, actually, is exactly why I haven’t downloaded it until now. You see, with the vast majority of the Martyrs brainstorming totally done, I didn’t see the point in buying a program designed around brainstorming and developing a new story. I’d already gotten through that stage of the Martyrs saga, so it seemed pointless to download Scapple for the sole purpose of inputting the brainstorms I already had into it. I wasn’t developing a new book, after all. But the last few weeks I’ve been playing […]


6 tips for writing great dialogue.

October 10, 2014

Dialogue is one of the hardest things for a lot of writers to really get down. In general, most of us go through the same “stages” of writing dialogue until we get to the point where we’re actually writing great conversations that both feel real and get what we’re trying to get across. There are some major mistakes I think a lot of writers make when it comes to writing their characters’ dialogue down, but luckily they’re easy enough to avoid when we figure out what they are. In general, I think there are six good rules to stand by when you’re writing dialogue. Avoid names. We’re tempted, especially as we begin our writing journey, to have characters call one another by name all the time. Sometimes this is because we’re trying to let the audience know a character’s name in a more subtle way than just blurting it out in the context, but often we just throw character names […]


Get an editor.

October 8, 2014

As writers, a lot of us are pretty damn good at editing, too. It kind of comes with the territory. We literally work in the world of words. It’s what we do every single day, whether it’s what we’re writing for our own personal pleasure, what we’re reading for our own personal pleasure, or what we’re writing or reading for work (for those of us lucky enough to work as writers). So, really, it’s no surprise that most of us are pretty good at reading over other people’s work and giving good, solid edits, whether grammatical or story-wide. Producing writing that is sensical and logical is kind of our thing. It’s what we do. (Unless you’re writing some crazy-ass, post-modern, anti-literature, but that’s a story for another day.) Anyway, if we’re going to follow this “logically,” it makes sense for many writers to feel like they’re good enough at editing to be their own editors for the projects they’re submitting […]

1 2 3 27

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: