Category: Writing

Down with show don’t tell

Down with show don’t tell

‘Show Don’t Tell’ is one of the most common pieces of writing advice around (followed closely by ‘Kill Your Darlings’ which is daft but that’s another post). The problem with show don’t tell is that it’s unspecific. And also just kind of impossible. Let’s start with the impossible (and I’m going to be very literal for a moment). When writing a book, I am going to tell you everything. I am going to tell you what the character does and what they say and where they say it and how. When it comes down to it, I’m using words to convey the story so telling is really all I’ve got. […]

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#AmCurrently 8.16

#AmCurrently 8.16

I’ve barely turned on my computer all last week. At some point (Mon or Tues) I decided I wanted to find the blog I read years ago with all the contract details, publishing insight and overall exceptional information. I had to look through some old notes too find a link but I made my way back to Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s Blog. #AmRecommending I kid you not, it’s a Masters class in publishing. The kind you get from an internship instead of a university because it’s filled with hard truths, detailed info and the personal, real world experience of someone who has walked in pretty much every part of the business. […]

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The Darling Killings

The Darling Killings

I have always thought, ‘kill your darlings’ was terrible writing advice. I, therefore, mostly just disregarded it. No, let’s be honest. I kind of spitefully worked to prove that they were worth keeping. I wasn’t always correct, which is where a good editor is important. But I still don’t think you should kill your darlings – you make them work. The real question is, what really matters to you? Because some lines, some snippets of dialog, or even a whole scene just won’t work in your novel. If you didn’t love them, they wouldn’t be darlings. Those are the easy edits. Your editor gives you a note that something’s just […]

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writing like an actress

writing like an actress

I grew up as an actress. For a multitude of reasons as complex as my fluid perspective on identity and as simple as being cast as the lead in the kindergarten play. I was in plays throughout high school and college. I moved to LA, got an agent and had a co-star role on a tv show.  Then I decided that wasn’t the career for me. But changing careers didn’t mean that I stopped exploring different characters and emotions; toying with them to discover the truth that lies within that moment and within the character. Before long I directed that creativity into writing. A few times my editor would ask something […]

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the peril of proper names

the peril of proper names

It all started with pimchie flowers. The Blue Sword is one of my favorite books and a few years ago I finally got it into my bookclub for everyone to read the wonder that is Robin McKinley. And for about 20 minutes at the beginning of our discussion, they could only talk about pimchie flowers. McKinley mentions them a few times in the opening chapter; nothing I would have considered over the top. We all understood she was trying to create this world with some nice, specific but foreign thing that said this wasn’t our earth. But my book club didn’t care about pimchie flowers and if it had been […]

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the 80 percent rule

the 80 percent rule

I have an 80% rule when writing. It is the supporting caveat to all my other writing rules. You could say, though I call them all rules, that it turns them more into guidelines. Because the 80% rule is that I only follow all my other rules 80% of the time. Writing is not the domain of the perfectionist. You will never do everything in any story 100% of the time. You will use adverbs. You will need boring dialog tags. You’ll need an extra “that” to make the sentence flow or a passive verb just to get the point across. I will absolutely have fragment sentences (ask my editor). […]

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the Joss Crossroads

the Joss Crossroads

So, here’s a story secret for you. One I deduced from watching all the Joss Whedon stories. And with the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron it seems an opportune moment to share because for the first time I was looking for a Joss Crossroads and it wasn’t there… Joss Whedon writes brilliant stories (no, that’s not the secret). I have no doubt there are college courses on this man’s writing and what he does with characters; how he manages to rip your heart out while making you love him more for it. It’s a trait he shares with Melina Marchetta. The question I found myself asking one day is […]

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the key to predictability

the key to predictability

I’m reading this book and it’s predictable. Which isn’t awful. The characters are amusing enough and it’s not great, but it’s not bad. But it got me thinking… I’ve also been reading this book a little bit every night before bed. I think I started, I mean really I started a few weeks ago, put it down for a week or so then finally picked it back up. I never read like that. I sit and read books. I immerse myself in the world, resent having to put them down to eat or drink or whatever and finish them in a few hours. This is why I find bookmarks an […]

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The 777 Challenge

The 777 Challenge

While I don’t often jump into meme/tag/sorts of things, I came across this at Tracey Neithercott‘s blog and couldn’t resist. Out of curiosity I looked up page 7 of my second novel. And counted 7 lines down in the word doc. Hence the 777 bit of the title, well the thrid 7 is coming. Anyway, it was the beginning of a brand new paragraph – which didn’t need a lot of context to understand – and was exactly 7 lines long. It was too perfect to pass up. So, on the eve of Sci-Fi November when I will actually be posting once a week (I know, you can hardly believe […]

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Writer Blog Hop: My Writing Process

Writer Blog Hop: My Writing Process

When Amy tagged me in her writing process post she had no idea what a gift it would become. Obviously, neither of us foresaw what a crazy week this would turn into – in both work and life and everything. Now, in the aftermath, I get to sit down with a cup of coffee and a good playlist and talk about writing, which is an unexpected gift. The interesting thing about being a writer is you kind of can’t talk about what you do. And by that I mean, you can’t really talk in depth about your WIP. Because why spend all that time trying to describe it instead of […]

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