2 Tricks for Powerful Description

Communication demands description. Incorporating it into narrative, however, can be tricky, especially when writing for entertainment. Linear storytelling demands that action occur and characters interact. Much of the art of writing requires description not only convey information, but also...

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Show, Don’t Tell (In Moderation)

Far from being a hard and fast rule of writing (or professional writing advice), the common adage “show, don’t tell” is better described on a spectrum of style. Firmly on the “tell” side, many early writers struggle to include the details...

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Plotting a Great Ghost Story

Halloween may be over, but ghost stories have a lot more to do with the winter holidays than just the harvest-time festival of sweets. According to Victorian tradition, November and December are just as good for a haunt as Halloween....

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Dialogue and Subtext: What Isn’t Said

Dialogue, as any other narrative tool, operates best when it advances more than one goal. Single-purpose narrative devices often come off flat, lacking color, or uninteresting. Screenwriters call this “on-the-nose” dialogue, and if any writers know the power of...

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Description: When Less is More

A certain story circulated among first year students in the creative writing program: The university had had a visit from an up-and-coming author, a young woman who promised to make waves in the literary community. She brought nothing with her...

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Writing First Chapters: Best First Impressions

First lines, first paragraphs, and first chapters shoot fear into the hearts of authors. Editors and agents stress their importance, demanding high quality, brief force, and creative genius to catch their attention and the attention of readers. Not good...

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Writing Exercises for Super Fans

Fanfiction is writing original content based on the work of another artist. Many people invest incredible time and energy into their fanfiction projects, and the potential variations are endless. This post is not to explain what it is, who...

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Tuning Fiction to Your Audience

Every written communication has an audience. Even someone who writes a note in order to recall something later has an audience: themselves. Quality writing links directly with how well it meets the needs of the audience. If that note...

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Writing Diverse Characters: It Takes All Kinds

Characters are a part of their author. They come from just a spark of thought, an original spin on a deep-seated fear, or a half-recalled image of their childhood. Certain character types can appear frequently for authors, not just...

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Strengthen Your Story Concept: Interest, Story Generators, and Playing What-If

Translating an interesting idea into a good story starts with finding the story in the idea. It’s very easy to be excited by something and want to write about it. Inspiration is excellent! It also fills up files like...

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