Tag Archive 'CRAFT'

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 […]

Forthwringing Tonguishness

A client recently asked me why English is so bizarre.  She was trying to explain its quirks to a precocious, bi-lingual eight-year-old, and not doing very well.  Not that I did much better – English is a genuinely freaky language, with random spelling rules, no particular sentence structure, and far more words than any reasonable […]

What the Incredible Hulk Can Teach Us about Emotion in Fiction

Today’s guest is Harrison Demchick, an award-winning, twice-optioned screenwriter, and author of the literary horror novel The Listeners. Harrison came up in the world of small press publishing, working along the way on more than three dozen published novels and memoirs. An expert in manuscripts as diverse as young adult, science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, literary fiction, women’s […]

Stirring Higher Emotions

What was the most emotional day of your life?  Google for people’s stories and you’ll read a lot that are probably like your own: birth, death, betrayal, trauma, marriage, divorce, miscarriage, failure, second chance, recovery, a dream achieved, a confession of love, getting a helping hand. Now, those are events.  Let’s look at the emotions […]

Creating Unforgettable Characters

I’m fascinated by personality tests, you know, the kind you run across all the time online or in magazines. I’ve taken the Myers-Briggs test twice (I’m an INFJ), the Keirsey Temperament Test (also an INFJ) and studied the Enneagram (I’m a 2). And while all of this is fodder for good cocktail party conversation and […]

What Media Do You Study for Storytelling?

Every year or so, I re-read Stephen King’s The Stand and Bag of Bones. King may not be master wordsmith or inspiration by your reckoning, but he is by mine. I love those books. I don’t read these novels for enjoyment anymore, however; I read them to study King’s storytelling. King’s earthy writing style, memorable […]

Plotting the Non-Plot-Driven Novel

Have you ever grown impatient with a novel?  Have you ever restlessly flipped ahead wishing that something would happen?  Of course.  It’s a common feeling.  Put politely, you feel frustrated.  Put plainly, you’re bored. Perhaps your own current manuscript has also had you feeling, at times, impatient.  Have you struggled to find a way to […]

Outlining: Why I Made the Switch and Tips for Trying It

Our guest today is Elizabeth S. Craig who writes the Southern Quilting mysteries for Penguin/NAL, the Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin/Berkley, and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She shares writing-related links on Twitter and curates links for the free Writer’s Knowledge Base. Her most recent book is Death Pays a Visit. From […]

The Point of Writing

There’s a lot of talk these days about getting yourself a presence on social media, upping your profile, selling yourself, marketing your work, using every angle and every connection in order to “get out there,” hustle your product, hit the bestseller lists, make a splash. This post is just to remind you that none of […]

Everything I Need to Know About Character, I Learned From Buffy

Which is more important, plot or character?  It’s one of life’s great dichotomies, like the question of nature vs. nurture or Coke vs. Pepsi.  And like most great dichotomies, the answer is:  all of the above. So it didn’t surprise me when last month’s column on Joss Whedon’s gifts with plot triggered a discussion that […]

The Meaning of Everything

It was my son’s seventh birthday.  We asked what he wanted.  He told us.  And so… …we got a puppy. A boy and his dog.  Growing up  together.  How sweet.  How classic.  Our son is adopted.  He comes from a hard place.  He has struggled to attach, a long process of pendulum swings from safety […]

Happy Halloween! Love, Salem

Since many of you will be joining us for the WU Un-conference in Salem this next week, and because I’ll be co-teaching a seminar called “Place as Character” with Liz Michalski, I thought I’d share the character chart for Salem that I created for my upcoming novel. Salem, where I’m fortunate enough to live, has […]