Writing Tip: Research the Obvious

Let’s say you’re writing a scene in your story, a scene that takes place in a beauty salon. Now, if you yourself have spent 20 years working in beauty salons, maybe you can write that scene off the top your head. But if you’re like most of us, you have only passing exposure to life […]

How to Write: Show and Tell

“Show; don’t tell.” Writers take great pride in passing on this standard advice. But what does it mean to “show” instead of “tell”? What does “show don’t tell” look like? And is that a hard-and-fast rule or just a rule of thumb? Are there any situations in which you should “tell,” not “show”? If you’ve […]

Everything’s a Metaphor—7 Ways to Build Meaning into Your Story

I should begin by clarifying what I mean by “metaphor.” I do not mean abstract symbolism that you force the reader to dig through, so that he can make-believe he understands what the story’s about, while looking down his nose at the Philistines in the audience. What I’m talking about is “show; don’t tell” metaphors. […]

7 Ways to Eradicate the Copulative (How to Get Rid of the Verb “To Be”)

“To be, or not to be?” Not is usually the answer. Eliminate the verb “to be.” This basic writing and revision tip you’ll hear all over the place, although much of the advice I’ve read is missing important points—or at least points that I consider important. What do we mean by “to be” verbs? We […]

9 More Sources for Character Ideas

Ideas are a dime a dozen, which is no consolation when you just can’t seem to come up with that perfect idea that will pull you past your writer’s block and bring the story you’re trying to write into focus. And the more you wrack your brain, the harder it is to come up with […]

Writing Interesting Sex Scenes

Okay, you knew that I was eventually going to write this post, didn’t you? The first rule about writing sex scenes is that you have to know your audience, and that there are no hard-and-fast rules. At least that’s what I’ve come to conclude, because different people’s tastes vary widely. Some readers enjoy erotica–or at […]

How to Make a Character Sound Angry

The other day, my Little One and her friend were going over a story they were writing, when my ear caught a dialogue tag: “she shouted angrily.” Naturally, I butted right in. And unfortunately, my advice was not taken to heart by my Little One’s friend, who, I gather, had originally written the line and […]

Flash Fiction Turn-ons and Turn-offs (part 2)

Yesterday, I began with part one, the first 3 turn-ons and 5 turn-offs. In this part, I finish with the final 4 turn-ons and 12 turn-offs. (Sounds like I’m designing a freeway, doesn’t it?) I briefly want to reiterate one small point from the introduction (just in case you didn’t read it or don’t remember […]

7 Flash-Fiction Turn-Ons (and 17 Turn-Offs)

PJ Kaiser suggested—probably because I’ve been doing weekly “#FridayFlash Favorites” posts—that I write about what catches my attention in a flash story, and what turns me off. I thought that was a pretty kewl idea, and I further decided to link to last week’s #FridayFlash stories (because they’re still fresh in my mind) in order […]

Crime Fiction: Ten Cliches to Avoid

I’ve been wrestling with a lot of personal issues, and I haven’t had the time I usually do to write. So I pulled out this useful article by author William Meikle, as a guest post for today. -TimK Crime Fiction – Ten Cliches to Avoid by William Meikle Crime fiction is big business at the […]