Dialogue is one of those elements that can make or break your story. It’s also one of those things that it’s really hard to get right….in part because many writers don’t know (or won’t hear) they are getting it wrong.Read More
Making a new year’s resolution for a big writing goal? Maybe you want to write a novel, or finally finish that draft of the screenplay you’ve been “working on” since summer. Here are the 7 ways I stay on track with big writing goals.Read More
Coming up as writers we’re taught to write what we know, first and foremost.
So for a long time, I felt like my writing had to express certain parts of my personality and interests—those hobbies, passions, and things I knew a lot about.
That meant that when I felt great despair about things, whether it’s the refugee crisis or climate change, those topics didn’t always make it into my work because I wasn’t a subject matter expert. They sat on the sidelines.Read More
While my summer writing residency feels like it happened ages ago, sometimes I can still grab onto the immediacy of the experience.
Doing a crossword puzzle in bed, I see myself curled on the loveseat in my cabin working a crossword. Reading through the books I picked up in Whitehorse, I remember the intense hues of those alpine lakes.
I’m not in Alaska, but the things I learned, they’re still in me, and they’ve changed my writing process in a few fundamental ways. A couple months out from residency, here’s what sticks with me most.Read More
In the last post I shared a little bit about that stuck feeling and tricks to overcome it. But one of my favorite ways to overcome writers’ block is through morning pages, a tool from The Artist’s Way.
I don’t do morning pages any longer, but I did them daily when I was working through the Artist’s Way after writer’s block, a health crisis, depression, and getting married (no wonder I couldn’t write with all that shit going on).
I’ve been fortunate to meet agents at writers’ conferences and through workshops. I’ve also been through the query trenches, from cold querying agents to participating in Twitter contests and responding to manuscript requests. I’m still in the query trenches, but I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Here are the top mistakes I’ve seen writers make when pitching literary agents. These are either things I’ve witnessed myself in conferences, heard agents complain about, or heard writers admit in online forums.Read More
Living in the country, I don’t get many chances to attend readings, mingle with other writers, or take part in a writer’s group …. all things I took for granted when I lived in Boston. Fortunately, the explosion in podcasts has brought a ton of great audio content that lets me learn about craft, find books to read, and cultivate a connection to the writer’s community.
Listening to writing podcasts has helped me better understand the publishing industry, feel less alone in my journey, and get a new perspective on aspects of the writing craft and process.Read More
While I’d heard other writers suggest going through their manuscript for filler words that make the writing weak, I had never done it. That was advice for adverb junkies or writers who declaim, shout, grunt, groan, and so on. I didn’t have that many filler words, did I?
Spoiler alert: I did.Read More
Having my opening pages critiqued by a literary agent showed me where my work was landing flat. In particular, the agent thought one area needed work – the dialogue I’d written wasn’t punchy enough to make my main character stand out in all her rainbow freak flag glory.
Since that critique I’ve been working through conversations, one line at a time, looking for ways to make my dialogue snappy rather than flat. Last weekend, I learned a new technique to reboot a boring scene.Read More