Tag: write

  • Off-Stage Scenes Rarely Work – Unless You Are Scarlett

    Here’s a common problem that I see in first drafts: the main action has happened off-stage. Think about Scarlett O’Hara and the other southern women sitting at home waiting; in an attempt to avenge his wife, Frank and the Ku Klux Klan raid the shanty town whereupon Frank is shot dead. But the raid takes […]

  • Odd Links: Resources for Comedy

    Do you ever stop learning? I don’t. I may be able to teach a number of things and bring out the best in my students, but for myself, I keep learning. Here are some things I’ve learned lately. Ban yellow highlighters! Highlighting is a poor learning strategy. Instead, stop ever so often and ask: Why […]

  • Picture Books: Trust the Writing Process

    A friend and I are working on an idea for a picture book based on a true life event. The challenges in doing this are multiple. First, it has to has to interest the audience of small children and adults, because picture books really have two audiences, the kids and the adults who read to […]

  • Adding Emotional Depth: Video

    Adding emotional depth to a novel is important enough to warrant a special pass through the manuscript. This video talks about how I did that on a recent mss. If you can’t see this video, click here. This is an experiment with doing a video to explain something about writing and revising. Please comment and […]

  • PLOT: You MUST be Brutal

    The biggest problem I have in planning a plot–still, after all these years–is that I am too nice to my characters. I can’t imagine the horrible things that need to happen, without a big struggle. Listen up: What is the worst thing that could happen to your character? It MUST happen at the climax of […]

  • Adverb Advice: Use Carefully

    Strong writing relies on strong verbs and strong nouns. Usually, that means the most specific, appropriate word possible. For example, poodle is better than dog; parrot, better than bird. And, stumble is better than walk; pirouette, better than dance. Modifiers like adjectives and adverbs should only be used after you have used the most specific […]