Still More Contest Entries ?>

Still More Contest Entries

Yes. More of your entries to read and enjoy. And if that’s not enough for you, consider this silly old post on Fiction Trends of the Future! (This re-post is offered in honor of “The Time Traveler’s Wife” movie, which opens Friday and is based on the book, a book so good I was still able to fall in love with it even though when I read it I was in the middle of a terribly deep depression brought on by…

Read More Read More

More Contest Entries ?>

More Contest Entries

As promised, below are a few of the entries I received in the “First and Last” contest. If you haven’t yet read the winning entries, click here. Also, this might be a good time to read one of my older, educational posts. Like this one on subjectivity, perhaps. Okay, you caught me. I’m trying to distract you from the fact that I’m not writing original posts this week. Guilty as charged. Except… the paragraph you’re reading now is All New…

Read More Read More

Contest Winners! (And Other Friday Fun) ?>

Contest Winners! (And Other Friday Fun)

I’ll bet you’re here to find out who won the “First and Last” contest, right? Well, I’ll get to that in a minute. First, I wanted to say “thanks” to all who entered, 20 of you, as it turned out, though I received 21 entries because I never said you couldn’t submit more than one and one intrepid writer happily sent two entries with my blessing. These were lots of fun to read – so fun, in fact, that I’m…

Read More Read More

Talking About Talking [Updated] ?>

Talking About Talking [Updated]

I promised a post about writing good dialogue. So here it is. (Because you don’t want yours to end up looking like this.) Before I share a few book excerpts, consider these general tips. Keep in mind, these are principles, not hard-and-fast rules. Avoid repetition of attributions. While you need the occasional “he said” and “she said,” you don’t need one for every line of dialogue. If it’s a conversation between two people, establish the characters at the beginning, then…

Read More Read More

Let It Die ?>

Let It Die

Is it time let your novel die? That’s a question every writer faces at least once in his or her writing life. The decision to pull life support is difficult at best, debilitatingly impossible at worst. You’ve worked on this novel for, what, months? years? How many hours have you invested? Even a poorly-written novel takes a long time to write. Then there’s the emotional cost. Whether you love your characters or hate them, they’ve most likely become real to…

Read More Read More

A Few Words of My Own ?>

A Few Words of My Own

A couple years ago, on a blog far, far away, I invited readers to send me a word or phrase that I could use as the basis for a short story. Readers sent me words like “cheesecake” and “dragonfly” and “rick-rack.” I wrote a story for each. But there was this one reader who thought it would be funny to send me more than one word. Here was her list: pus-oozing scabs maggot-infested corpses lightning bugs Hello Kitty band-aids Silver…

Read More Read More

Your Novel Doesn’t Stink Enough ?>

Your Novel Doesn’t Stink Enough

Scent. The forgotten sense. Take a look at your work in progress. How often do you invite the reader’s nose into the story? My guess? Not as often as you should. Consider real life for a moment. (In case you’ve forgotten, this is the life where you have to do laundry and feed the dog and occasionally acknowledge the existence of your spouse and/or children.) Breathe in each the following. Be sure to pause long enough for the brain to…

Read More Read More