Nobody likes a Passive Hero

This article represented a colossal mistake on my part, and now I am fixing the mistake. Gooshy tomatoes are available at the end of the article for tossing at me for my failure. Was + verb does not automatically count as a passive voice sentence. Dive in and let me

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Character Assassination

I need a character for a story. Lets call him Fred. Fred is 5’11”, weighs 185 lbs and has blond hair and blue eyes. Do you love him yet? What if I tell you he has a six pack? No? Neither do I really. I mean who names their character

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Plotting to save your life

You have a great idea for a book. This guy meets a girl. So they fall in love. The End. Sounds a little boring. Maybe the girl is in love with someone else, so the guy has to bump off the other guy so he can comfort the girl. Wait,

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Cliches, let’s not think about that.

What is cliche, what isn’t? It’s a discussion which comes up in almost every critiquing group I’ve belonged to. I am not going to try to come up with an exhaustive list. I don’t think that’s possible. We all like to poke fun at cliches, but when was the last

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Don’t think, don’t feel

In my article on Show, Tell and Narrative Summary, a reader kindly pointed out to me that using words such as thought/felt/saw/heard are a form of telling. They are ‘filtering’ words in that the experience is filtered through the MC rather than coming to the reader direct.  Filters add distance between

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Show, Tell and Narrative Summary

Here’s a scene I wrote some time back.  A scene is a little bit of the story. You string a bunch of them together like pearls in a necklace to make your story. Harry walked into the party with his wife on his arm. Sculpted beauties gazed at him. He was

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The Joy of Nuance: The dreaded Thesaurus Rex

A thesaurus can be a writer’s best friend, but like all good friends it can lead us into trouble. When we gleefully substitute synonyms for the word we’re overusing it is essential we pay attention to the nuances of meaning. Let’s look at smile as an example. Here are some

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Shades of Nuance: Shades of Feeling

Everyone knows feelings are essential to evocative writing. Without emotions there is little reason for the reader to care about what is going on in the story or what happens to the characters. So we write how our characters are angry, or sad, or furious, or happy or any of

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The Blurb, life or death in 50 words or less.

I was once a book reviewer as well as an author. Many sources for review books post a thumbnail of the cover and perhaps a sentence or two. That sentence or two is what is going to convince me to click on more information to read the rest of the available

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Break Dancing, or Where to End your Chapter

Some people like long chapters that pull them deep into the world that the author is weaving around the the story. Others like short chapters. To say that all chapters must be long, or that all must be short would be similar to saying that you have write all long

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