Writing Tips Articles

Advice for beginning authors

Va, petit livre

August 8, 2017 6:08 am Published by Leave your thoughts

“Go, little book” This exhortation from an author to his newly published book has been rattling around in my brain for some decades. I had thought it originated with one of the 19th-century French symbolist poets like Rimbaud or Mallarmé. I had also thought it meant that once the book... read more

Metaphors and Similes

May 2, 2017 12:55 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

From Shakespeare: Metaphor It is the east, and Juliet is the sun. Simile O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night, Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop’s ear. Metaphor makes equivalence, while simile uses ‘like’ and ‘as.’ Simile is an... read more

Word Count

April 7, 2017 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Note: This blog is a follow up to Size Matters and How Big Is Your Canvas? where I discuss in general terms imagining one’s story in terms of a painting. I can tell a writer is new to novel writing when I encounter a mismatch between the size of the story... read more

English Settings III: Americanisms/Anachronisms

December 27, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

This is the sequel to English Settings I: Britishisms and English Settings II: British Slang. I’ll start where I started twice before: So you’re an American novelist and you’ve chosen to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. Namely, American English. It’s one thing... read more

English Settings II: British Slang

December 23, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

This is a sequel to English Settings I: Britishisms. I’ll start where I started before: So you’re an American novelist and you’ve chosen to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. In my earlier blog I said that British slang was a category unto... read more

English Settings I: Britishisms

December 20, 2016 5:05 pm Published by 2 Comments

So you’re an American novelist and you’ve decided to set your story in England. That’s great. But now here’s your problem: English. If your story is set in France it’s perfectly legit for your characters not to speak French if they happen to be, say, American. If your setting is... read more

romance novel writing tips for authors

Plot, Characters and Story Magic

June 1, 2016 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Note: For more on this topic, see my previous blog post on Plot and Character Development where I state: “For me plot and character develop together, just as bone and muscle emerge together in the developing fetus.” To illustrate the points in this blog’s title I’ll use The Alpha’s Edge,... read more

Size Matters

April 13, 2016 9:00 am Published by 1 Comment

Last week I was on the phone with an editor discussing my short story The Alpha’s Edge. She told me that when she hears a novelist say, “I want to write a short story” – mostly for the purpose of getting more material out into the marketplace quickly – she... read more