Writing the Big Fat Book

I got this question from Jim: “So much advice to writers is about suspense, or scene goals, or characters overcoming conflict. One published author told me to take out every unnecessary word from a manuscript. “Then how do we explain Larry McMurtry and the Lonesome Dove, or Commanche Moon, where he constantly interrupts the story

How to Avoid Writing a Dull Series

A reader asked: “I've been listening to a lot of trilogies lately (and I'm writing one!), and I've noticed that in a lot of trilogies I get sick of the main characters, and I have to force myself to read the last book, or I give up entirely. It's extremely disappointing when a series starts

Tags: , |

The Path to Publishing

A couple of weeks ago, I invited writers to ask a few questions. Here is one: “Thanks for this chance. My biggest question is related to publishing. I know it is fraught with difficulty. I was thinking that perhaps a flow chart could be devised for a typical path to getting published? (Of course, that

Ask Me Anything #1

Kevin said, “There's so much that I don't know when it comes to writing and publishing, but after three books the question foremost in my mind is how do I get exposure and/or sales? All three of my books have good reviews, just not many of them, and I don't get many sales. I'm not

How to Write Wretched Dialog

Once I read a couple of stories where it felt as if the author was struggling to come up with bad dialog. So I thought I should give a few tips on how to do it properly. The easiest way to write wretched dialog is to use dialog for the wrong things. In other words,


I hate the word “resolute.” Whenever I think of it, I think of soldiers circa 1800, marching resolutely into battle, knowing that they’re going to die. Yet every year I make resolutions anyway. Maybe if we had better attitudes about resolutions in the first place, it wouldn’t be so hard to keep them. This year

One Reason You Might Hate “The Last Jedi”

Over the past two weeks I’ve seen a lot of people on Facebook talking about The Last Jedi, the latest release in the Star Wars saga. It seems to be a very polarizing movie. In fact, right now, Rotten Tomatoes says that it has only a 51% audience approval rating. One of my writer friends

You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

A few months after teaching my Writing Enchanting Prose workshops last year, I got letters from three of the participants. In each letter, the author talked about how they had applied principles I’d taught in the course, had sent out stories and books, and made quick sales. Each of the authors said, “You taught me

The Secret Power of Writing Groups

One Sunday my wife suggested that we go for a hike, and we convinced my son Forrest to come with us. Now, I like to go for walks, but I’m not big on “hikes.” I’ve had too many unpleasant experiences on them, from taking accidental detours that forced me to walk an extra 30 miles,

Four Ways to Avoid a Dead-End Career

Workshop News After January 2nd we will not be taking new registrations for the online workshops for a bit. Dave will be taking a long writing sabbatical that may last for several months. He will also not be doing any editing after January 1st except for established clients. He will still be holding live workshops,