Powerful Openings

Is your opening powerful? If not, why not? I’ve been judging a huge writing contest this week, and had literally a couple hundred stories that came close to placing as finalists. These stories were good, the writing beautiful, but the story itself was often flawed—and usually in the opening. You see, in a short story,

Be Patient

Every author is impatient for good news. We’re all working toward something. You might be working toward your first sale, or maybe it’s your next novel contract. You might be trying to get a movie deal, or perhaps land on the New York Times bestseller list. That’s the way that it should be. You should

The Heart of Your Story

I was asked to read a screenplay over the weekend. It opened with two minutes during which it explained what a common household device was, showing how it was made in a factory. Then for three more minutes it had characters eating breakfast talking about their cultural heritage. I began to wonder when the story

Write What You Know or What You Can Imagine?

Many years ago, the most common bit of writing advice doled out to aspiring authors was “write what you know”. We all became so familiar with that advice, even third-grade children considered it when choosing topics for their creative writing assignments. However, Frank Herbert certainly never visited the barren and dangerous world of Dune prior

Quotable Quotes

Sometimes when I read a story, I find that it’s just “bleh.” It may be easy to understand, easy to follow, but I have a hard time identifying any real virtues. For example, when you write a story, look at your dialog. Are there any quotable lines in it? If you go to IMDB.com (the