Category Archives: About editing

Truth and lies in fiction—how to write an unreliable narrator

I’m excited about this blog post. While most of my articles are on common topics that you can find information about all around the Internet, the subject of unreliable narrators doesn’t get a lot of ink. And that’s probably because relatively few fiction writers know about the literary device of unreliable narration, and if they do, they haven't any notion of how to create it or use it to best effect. In this post, I'll get you started with techniques for successfully writing an unreliable narrator. Continue reading ➝

Dialogue in fiction: Part V – Writing your characters’ thoughts

Written fiction is the only art form that allows its audience to know a character’s internal, unspoken thoughts. Only in novels can a reader delve into a stranger’s mind and learn of his fears, his insecurities, his motivations, his rationale for planning a proposal of marriage or an affair or a murder. Because of this, it’s possible to develop a far more intimate relationship with characters in fiction than it is with those in film or on TV. Throughout the history of literature, authors have used the unique platform of the novel to reveal to readers their heroes’ and villains’ innermost thoughts, such as stream-of-consciousness (half thoughts, impressions, subconscious associations) or conscious inner talk. Continue reading ➝

Dialogue in fiction: Part IV – The nuts and bolts, cont’d.

This is the fourth article in my series on how to write effective dialogue in fiction. In the first, I wrote about accents and dialects. The second covered the essentials: realism through artifice, the four purposes of dialogue, and creating distinction between characters. In the third, I discussed the balance of dialogue to narrative, dialogue in your opening pages, dialogue tags, action tags, Tom Swifty adverbs, and gave you some extra dialogue tips. Today, after looking the broader issue of conciseness, I’ll focus on more mechanics of dialogue—contractions and punctuation—and then I’ll discuss information dumping. Continue reading ➝

Dialogue in fiction: Part III – The nuts and bolts

This is the third article in my series on how to write effective dialogue in fiction. In the first article, I covered foreign accents and dialects. The second covered the essentials: realism through artifice, the four purposes of dialogue, and creating distinction between characters. Today, I’ll focus on the mechanics of dialogue—dialogue tags—but first I'll explain how to balance dialogue and narrative. Continue reading ➝

The advantages of traditional publishing over self-publishing

Last month, I posted a lengthy article on the advantages of self-publishing (also called indie publishing). It was easy to write; the ideas came almost faster than I could get them down. That post garnered some controversy—not surprising—and a request for a follow-up article. So, in the interest of fairness and objectivity, I promised to provide some balance with a look at the advantages of publishing through the traditional route—that of finding a publishing house to publish your book. But as I suspected, that task hasn’t been nearly as easy as the post on self-publishing advantages. Continue reading ➝

Transitions: quiet links that help your writing’s logic, flow, and clarity

When I talk about writing a blog post, I often liken it to writing a term paper. For me, the length, process, and deadlines are all similar. After deciding on a topic, Step 1 is jotting down all my own original ideas about it (in a very stream-of-consciousness way), then doing a bunch of research and making notes on what I’ve learned. I then let it all simmer in my mind for a day or two. At this stage, it’s all very messy, scarily messy. Step 2 consists of examining my jumbled messes of ideas and trying to organize them into a coherent, logical whole—a piece that flows and makes sense, one idea leading organically into the next. And that’s where good transitions come in. Continue reading ➝
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