Tag Archive 'CRAFT'

Bombing Through It

Back in the nineties, before social networking or even blogs had been invented, I belonged to a chat list for published writers.  You carried on a slow conversation with like-minded people by sending e-mails to a central server, which then sent them out to all members of the list.  Tom Clancy, another list member, used […]

When Your Scene is Dragging: 6 Ways to Add Tension

One of the very first books on craft I ever read, way back at the beginning of my writing career, was Writing the Breakout Novel, by our own Donald Maass. The book is full of excellent points on improving your craft (Don isn’t paying me to say that or anything; we’ve never met, and he […]

Change

The surest way to stir emotion in readers can be summed up in one word: change. Change is a universal experience.  We’ve all gone through it.  We cannot avoid it.  The passages of life guarantee it.  Change is necessary, difficult, wrenching and individual.  When a character in a story changes we each recall the emotional […]

Character Cue: Whose Line is it Anyway? An Easy Exercise to Strengthen Voice

Voice is one of my favorite aspects of craft to play with and talk about. Voice was the subject of my very first post here at Writer Unboxed. Today’s post will be short and sweet—a nifty, easy peasy, so-simple-it-seems-stupid trick to strengthen voice in revision. When I’m helping someone with a manuscript, I sometimes find […]

What Kids Have Taught Me About Writing

As a writer, it can be remarkably helpful to spend time around kids. When I’m not doing my own writing I work with kids ages 8-18 on everything from short stories to college essays, and at least once a week something happens that takes my breath away. Young kids—eight to eleven-year-olds— who love to write, […]

What Do Your Readers Know and When Do They Know It?

As any good operative can tell you, information is power.  Whether you’re dropping bombshells on your readers, teasing them with hints and suggestions, or letting them know ahead of time that disaster is approaching, you control their reactions by how and when you dole out the facts.  So how do you best wield the power […]

Tying Character Types to Plot, Suspense, and Emotion

Our guest today is Jeanne Cavelos, creator of the Odyssey Writing Workshops Charitable Trust, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization devoted to helping developing writers of fantastic fiction improve their work. A writer, editor, scientist, and teacher, Jeanne began her professional life as an astrophysicist, working in the Astronaut Training Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, but […]

Surviving a Drought

I was sitting in D.C.’s Lincoln Theater about three months ago, listening to The Milk Carton Kids and Sarah Jarosz, talented folk musicians who sing some of the most gorgeous harmonies I’ve ever heard. The theater itself is a visual concert—a beautiful 1920’s-era building, with gold ceilings and crystal chandeliers and lovely arched moldings and […]

The World According to You

How do you see the world?  Is it the Land of Milk and Honey or The Hunger Games?  Is the glass half empty or half full?  Is our human existence hilarious, serene, tragic or full of hope?  Do you sort, filter, organize and understand everything around you primarily through feelings, family, cost versus benefit, politics, […]

Corrections Are Good: How to Take Critique Like a Dancer

Today’s guest is Kim Bullock whose novel-in-progress (working title The Oak Lovers) has already been receiving praise. Historical fiction author Stephanie Cowell says this, “I’ve seldom read a novel with such intense passion. I was unable to put down The Oak Lovers; this is a riveting book.” The story, based on family member Carl Ahrens […]