Silver Bullets

Sometimes people ask me questions such as, “If there were just one thing that I needed to know to become a great writer, what would it be?” Or, I might get asked, “If there were just one writing course that I should take, which one would it be?” I often feel that those writers are looking for […]

Measuring Up to the Competition

Whenever you express an idea, you can look at the poetry of your language, your use of diction, your originality, and compare it to other samples of the same idea. For example, a friend of mine was telling me once that as his mother died, she begged him, “Stay with me. It’s getting dark.” Later, he […]

The Wonder Genre

Wonder literature may be the most popular literature in the world. You probably don’t know that, because the truth is that the evidence to support this has long been obfuscated or overlooked. Currently when we talk about stories, we classify them in a couple of ways. We may talk about the genre of the story—such […]

Everyone Deserves Great Stories!

Years ago I watched a panel on literary criticism. Just as the panel was concluding, one . . . fellow stopped the panel and said, “Wait a minute. We didn’t talk about which branch of literary criticism is most important!” He then pointed out that his field—literary criticism in the adult mainstream, was by far […]

Studying Your Genre

Last week I managed to anger a number of people when I talked about sales in the young adult genre. To be honest, I had no idea how many people have misconceptions about the genre, and that is kind of a shame. For example, I was sent information from a couple of popular blogs that […]

Discrimination in the Writing World

A few days ago, I saw a Facebook post from a woman who complained that she didn’t want to see panels by “boring, old, white, cisgender men” at the upcoming World Science Fiction Convention. Now, I’ve always fought against discrimination based on age, race, sexual orientation, and gender, so I was kind of surprised that […]

Tightening Your Focus

When you’re writing a tale, it almost always turns out better if you get deep into the head of your protagonist and tell the story from that person’s point of view. This is especially true if you have multiple protagonists, because it means that you will need to characterize those people by showing just how […]

When You Write a Dull Scene…

Have you ever found that you’re reading a book and suddenly your eyes glaze over? Have you asked yourself what is wrong? Very often, if I stop right there, I’ll find a problem. Here are some questions that I ask myself as I try to figure out what is wrong.   1) Is this scene […]

Writing Perfect Prose

Have you ever heard Churchill’s saying, “Perfection is the enemy to progress”? As a writer, I suspect that you know what I mean. Sometimes I see writers slave over a story in an effort to make it “perfect,” but in doing so they spend so much time that they inevitably slow their production level down […]

Move Your Story Forward

Stories should move forward, not backward. This might seem like a pretty basic idea, but sometimes a writer feels “stalled” on a novel. For example, I have a novel that I looked at this week that had no less than three “Prologues,” which the author was thinking of spreading throughout the novel. Each was nicely […]