Writing Tips Articles

naming characters

Naming Characters: Three Tips

December 21, 2015 5:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Naming Characters Tip #1. Don’t give characters names that begin with the same initial. If you have two characters Richard and Robert, it’s going to be difficult for your readers to tell them apart when reading at normal speed. It will not help to change their names to, say, Rick... read more

story ideas

Story Ideas: How to Come Up With Them

November 9, 2015 9:00 am Published by 3 Comments

An upfront refinement: the challenge isn’t coming up with story ideas. The challenge is coming up with your interpretation of the plot you have chosen from the finite pool of story ideas that have existed for all time. So a surefire way to come up with story ideas is to... read more

finding writing time

Finding Writing Time: Six Tips

October 29, 2015 9:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Writers write. Writers have to write. Writers can’t help but write. The problem is: finding writing time. Here are six tips to help you expand your notions of writing, writers, and finding time to write: Finding Writing Time Tip #1: Don’t cripple yourself by imagining that if you’re not writing,... read more

Enriching your story writing by asking questions.

Story Focus: Ask Yourself a Question

July 16, 2015 6:58 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

When I’m writing fiction, I’m always asking myself, “What am I working on?” This question helps me to give my story focus. My first novel, My Lord Roland (affiliate), was set in mid-13th-century England. My goal was to create a reliable first-person narrator. I wanted Marguerite to offer the reader an... read more

authorial distance

Authorial Distance and Margaret Atwood

February 13, 2015 4:46 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

On Christmas Day 2014 I listened to an interview Diane Rehm had with Margaret Atwood about her new story collection Stone Mattress: Nine Tales. The interview made me aware of the differences in authorial distance. Note: The original NPR airdate was November 10, 2014. During the interview Atwood read the... read more