Wordcraft

Writing

Labeling Your Dialogue

Argument at the Council of Elrond

Writers use labels, known as dialogue tags, to tell their readers which character is speaking. Many writers think dialogue tags are part of their story’s narration. That’s a mistake. Tags aren’t narration; they’re a technical necessity like punctuation, font, and quotes. We don’t want readers … read more »

Writing

How Do You Describe a Character?

When we use description, we have to prioritize carefully. Too little description leaves the story without flavor, too much gets boring fast. The more effectively we use it, the more we can surf that sweet spot between short description and strong impact. Read more »

Writing

Ten Ways to Inspire Your Description

Good description is meaningful and imaginative, but it can be difficult to conjure an exciting rendition of every tree and shrub in your story. If you’re struggling against another bland paragraph, here are ten ways to give it some interest. Read more »

Writing

Should You Show or Tell?

“Show; don’t tell” is one of the most popular adages in writing circles. For many writers, it’s tried and true advice. However, the real rules behind showing and telling are more complex than this simple statement suggests. There is a smooth gradient between showing and … read more »

Writing

Six Tips for Doing More With Less

Speculative fiction readers are interested in different things. Some of them are passionate about characters, some want to explore new worlds, and others look for a riveting plot. It’s easy to make any of these elements memorable if you throw enough words at them. While … read more »

Writing

The Four Rules of Using Fake Words

If your story takes place in another world, none of your characters are really speaking English. They aren’t telling stories or recording history in English; they’re doing it in the language you invented for them. An English language book describing their journey is clearly an anachronism. Read more »

Writing

Distinguishing Characters in Dialogue

One of the challenges of writing strong dialogue is making each character sound unique. Without different speaking styles, it’s hard for readers to tell who’s speaking, and conversations become lackluster. Luckily, there’s a variety of options for distinguishing characters in dialogue. Read more »

Writing

Clichés Are Bad, Mkay?

A cliché is usually defined as “an overused phrase or expression.” How much use is overuse? 42. While this is wonderfully objective, it neither clarifies which phrases people are referring to, nor explains what’s wrong with using them often. Read more »