Ten Quote Tuesday (#2)

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Welcome to another installment of Ten Quote Tuesday! I hope these words of wisdom will help to inspire your next writing session. Click here if you missed the last one.

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How to Defeat Your Writer’s Block

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For some, writer’s block is a very real and forbidding thing. I personally know authors who treat this as a superstition that no amount of garlic and rabbit feet will save them from.

There are countless blog posts on how to beat writer’s block–and yes, we’ll go over that too–although I want to also look at why a writer might encounter a writing block. Perhaps it’s not for the reasons you think, and it could be indicative of deeper issues. Let’s begin.

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4 Methods for Creating Character Names

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A common question I hear tossed about is how to create character names. Some writers find this simple, and yet others struggle with naming every single one, particularly concerning the main cast.

In this post, we’ll talk about tricks and tips for creating character names, and perhaps we’ll bring some ease to the process.

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Avoiding First Chapter Blunders

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You’ve got your idea. Your characters are fleshed out. The setting is crystallized in your mind.

You power up the laptop, and you place your fingers on the keys. Chapter one.

There’s a magic in that. You can practically feel the readers forming an orderly line to purchase your book, even before you finish the first paragraph. But what do you want to accomplish? What are the things to avoid in your first chapter? In this post, we’ll look at the nitty-gritty of a novel’s first chapter.
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Discover Your Story Plotting Style

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Has anyone ever told you that you have an architect or gardener style of plotting?

There are all sorts of names for styles of plotting. Another set is pantser/plotter, although those terms never seemed to feel right for me. Both styles have various pros and cons, neither being right or wrong. Each method also has certain strengths and weaknesses, which we’ll go over later in this post.

So which are you? Let’s dive in.

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3 Types of Conflict to Improve Your Story

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I love the show Survivor. I know, I know. It’s a guilty pleasure.

I’m a bit of a junkie for the show. I’ve probably seen 90% of the episodes since it started 57 years ago (ish). May Jeff Probst never retire. I was wondering to myself why I love the show so much. Sure, the scenery is beautiful, and the challenges are fun to watch. But plenty of shows have that sort of thing. Then it hit me: the conflict. Survivor is rife with conflict. People are selected from different walks of life and put together as strangers in a high stress environment. Shenanigans ensue.

We’ve all heard writing advice to search for the conflict in a scene. But what does that really mean? How many of you actually sat down to think about why conflict is so crucial to a story? Heck, conflict is essential even down to a scene-by-scene basis. We’ll visit that later in this post.

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Altering the Reader’s Perspective

 

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Who doesn’t like the thought of being able to direct someone’s thoughts or emotions? Sure, it’s typically in fantasy only, but I’m sure most have skirted around the thought. When we imagine someone doing so, it’s usually an evil villain’s doing, involving elbow-length gloves and an over-sized, veiny head.

But actually, we writers do this all the time. We use words at the tip of our brushes to paint the reader’s emotions. We essentially angle wording in a way to guide the reader how to feel.

Now, you may be thinking, “Ryan, that’s ridiculous. The readers come to their own conclusions.” And yes, they do. However, let’s visit an example.
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How to Avoid Info-Dumps

 

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Dumping is rarely appreciated anywhere, and inside your novel is no different.

When I started writing, I can remember feeling the urge to clue the reader in on every tidbit of information on a character/setting, including the culture, people, landscape, type of plants that grow there, every holiday, flavors of tea consumed, what type of bear is best (a Jim Halpert reference), etc.

I’m exaggerating a little, but not by much.

For some reason new writers often feel the urge to tell a lot of information and backstory, usually at the very beginning. At such a crucial point in the story, that is probably the point where you want huge blocks of information the least. Heavy info-dumps also drags down the pacing, and it can cause the reader to skip over sections until it seems like something is happening again.

So what’s the solution?

Here are some ways to convey the same information but in ways that are easier for the reader to digest:

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