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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How to add words without bloating.

So you have a killer story and want to send it to a publisher who you know will love it. Only they insist submissions be a few thousand words more than what you have in your book. Here are some ways of adding in words without making your story feel

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The Joy of Nuance

The slow death of boring beats One of the things I see over and over again as an editor and critiquer is the two word beat. It looks like this: “Hello,” John said, “how’s it hanging?” “Mmmhp.” Bill shrugged. “Not so good these days. John nodded. “I know what you

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Writing Emotionally Gripping Text

At the beginning of Romancing the Stone, Kathleen Turner’s character is banging away on her typewriter as she bawls her eyes out over the conclusion of her story. A nice scene and one I heard other writers talk about playing out in their own writing life. Here they are finally

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Ready for your close-up?

Jim Bondo rolled under the table with his gun. He always had his gun handy for situations just like this one. He squeezed the trigger and a carefully controlled stream of glue was forced into the space between the loose leg and the rest of the old wooden table. He knew Sara loved this table and fixing it was

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