Editing, Self-editing Tips, Writing tips

How to Write Good Dialogue (Part Two)

My ancient (by Internet standards) post on “How to Write Good Dialogue” is inarguably the most popular of my bloggish renderings, based on search data anyway. (You probably preferred this one because you don’t like to follow the crowd. You’re the anti-hipster of hipsters.) It seemed prudent, then, to follow that up with another post on dialogue. [Checks date on previous post.] Yeah, I’m a little slow when it comes to prudence. Anyway, here you go. Wait…you read the other post, right? Well click here (or above where it’s also linked because I’m a linking fool) first. Then come back to this page for more…

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General, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

How to Write a Novel

You’re going to need an idea. It can be a clever plot. Something about uncontrollable magic or unpredictable mayhem or unconventional love. Or maybe your idea is a character. Someone who stands out. Someone who blends in. Someone who lives in a coffee house attic. Someone whose feet never touch the ground. Okay, now the hardest part: You must write a sentence. Any sentence will do (yes, even a sentence fragment) because you’ll probably change it a hundred times anyway. Here, I wrote some for you: The monkey never saw it coming. Halfway between the sky and the sidewalk, she realized she had forgotten how to fly. His favorite…

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Meaningless Drivel, My Thoughts, Uncategorized

Spinning

The earth is spinning on its axis at 1000 miles an hour while it whips around the sun at  67,000 miles per hour. And I can’t keep up. I know what you’re thinking. I don’t need to. The earth is going to do its thing regardless of my thing and thanks to the magic of physics, we don’t even have to hang on. But I’m not here just for the ride. I want to stand on the leading edge and see the sunrise before it knows its colors. I want to stick my toes out as we cross into autumn,…

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My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

Meet Me at the Breaking Place

“This book is incredible. You absolutely have to read it.” Ah, these words. More than mere validation for authors who spend so much time in uncertain solitude, they are payment and a generous tip for all the pain endured on the road from first thought to last word. They are the perfect reward. “It’s a good book.” “A great read.” “So well-written.” These are fine words, too. Encouraging words. We’ll take them above silence any day. But they fall far short of “you have to read this,” which, when expanded to its original size, looks something like this: “If you…

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The Writer's Life, Writing tips

The Shiver

It goes by many names. The Tingle. The Aha. The Wow. I call it The Shiver. It’s that moment when you know you’ve written something good; something worthy of sharing. The words themselves aren’t anything special. They’re common words, words you’ve used before. But this time it’s different. The words…they…you have no words to describe it. They. Just. Work. For half a second you wonder if you actually wrote them. Are there writing elves? No, it was you. Surely not the you who labors over every sentence and struggles to put a thousand words on the page. Could it be…

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My Thoughts, The Writer's Life

The Other Authors

Writing is a lonely business. This does not come as a surprise to you. Whether you write in the midnight quiet of a room lit only by the glow of your laptop, or in a crowded coffee shop exploding with sound and color and scent, you do it alone. No one shares your headspace when you’re trying to choreograph the tapping of fingers on keyboard with the spin and leap of ideas. A writer, while writing, dances alone. There is exhilaration and debilitation in this truth. That a man, woman or child can organize words gathered from a thousand places into a…

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About Me, The Writer's Life

The Buoyancy of Words

Fair warning: I’m going to stretch a swimming metaphor well beyond my non-metaphorical comfort level. Feel free to believe that this discomfort serves some greater meta-metaphorical purpose. Then let me know what it is so I can say “yeah, I meant to do that.” Writers spend a lot of time going nowhere. We start out strong enough, with a perfect swan dive into the ocean of ideas. [Already the metaphor is causing me gastric distress.] But after a few weeks or days or hours of swimming in a Direction We’re Absolutely Sure Of (Until Suddenly We’re Not), we find ourselves…

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