Category: Fiction

Printed pages fly out of a computer monitor

What is plot? Pinning down fiction’s elusive structure

Recently, I was evaluating a fiction manuscript in which the really compelling part of the story didn’t begin until 200 pages in, halfway through the manuscript. The foregoing pages read like a journal of the protagonist’s everyday life up until the point of the inciting incident, which in this case happened to be a murder for which he was charged. While I wrote up suggestions for structural changes that would have that dramatic event occur much earlier in the story, I thought about how my self-publishing authors are often uncertain about how to structure a story, going at it blindly or by instinct.

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A man dangles from a stack of books with an open door at the top

Accidental comedy in grammar—dangling and misplaced modifiers

The inspiration for this blog post came a from a juice box. I was standing at the fridge one morning a few weeks ago, getting a drink of Sun-Rype juice—a well-known brand where I live—when I read the following on the side of the box: “Nestled in the heart of British Columbia, Canada lays a lush green valley of orchards renowned for sun-ripened fruit.” Oh dear. Canada lays a lush green valley? Canada is nestled in the heart of British Columbia? Don’t we Canadians have a better reputation than that to uphold?

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A forest with light shining through

How to recognize and avoid clichés in writing

Cliché. Such an elegant, pretty word. But such a dirty word to writers and editors. “Avoid clichés like the plague” is a clarion call stern instruction to all writers, but many find it difficult to do. In this post, I’ll explore why, as well as what you can do to avoid this writing pitfall and improve your prose at the same time.

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The reflection of a tree in a glass

How to write deep POV: It’s all in your perspective

In fiction writing, there are a lot of soft “rules,” many of which can be broken, but not before you’ve mastered them. For example, writers break fiction rules when they engage in too much telling and not enough showing, information dumping, improperly structuring scenes, and misusing dialogue tags (also known as attributions). But there is one rule I consider unbreakable in modern fiction, especially for first-time authors: stick to just one point-of-view character per scene.

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An oyster shell with a pearl in it

Want to improve your fiction writing? The internet is your oyster!

So many people leap into fiction writing just because they have what they think is a “plot” in their heads. The fact is, you need only have a glimmer of a plot in mind if you want to write fiction. The only question you should have in your mind at this stage is, “What tools do I need in order to write good fiction?” And I don’t mean fancy computer technology. Writing is a craft, and just like any other craft, the right skills and tools are needed to produce an exceptional product.

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