Writing

Crafting Micro Stories

Micro stories are not only great fun, but excellent practice for writers. Creating micro stories forces you to tighten your prose – an essential skill for any kind of writing. Naturally, these tiny narratives come with challenges of their own. Let’s look at this unique … read more »

Five Essentials of Omniscient Narration

What do Discworld, Alice in Wonderland, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and Lord of the Rings have in common? If you guessed “omniscient narration,” then you’re right, but you also cheated by reading my title. No matter – I will still share the secrets of this powerful but challenging … read more »

Five Speculative Fiction Novels You Can Learn From

What we read influences what we write, often without our conscious intent. So if you’re working on your writing skills, pick your books carefully. Great books can show you how it’s done. Terrible ones can encourage poor habits. But which books are great? If you’re new … read more »

Ten Ways to Switch Up Your Sentences

Fiction is made of people doing things, and the standard “protagonist verb object” is a strong way to write that. But if you structure all your sentences that way, you’ll have a monotonous mess on your hands. When that happens, it can be a struggle to inject some life into stale phrasing. To keep your head from hitting the desk, I have some quick ideas you can use. Read more »

Five Perspective Mistakes to Avoid

Narrative perspective comes in many forms. In first-person limited, the narrator and the protagonist are one and the same, and the audience knows only what the character knows. In third-person omniscient, the narrator is free to rain down information from on high and use whatever voice … read more »

Five Exercises for Stronger Narrative Personality

Speculative fiction calls for a vast array of narrative personalities. A spec fic writer could be called on to write in the voice of a clockwork golem, a garter snake, or an otherworldly alien. But instead of flavoring your wordcraft with these perspectives, it’s all too … read more »

Lessons From the Sloppy Writing of The Tommyknockers

Shadow of person in green glowing woods

It’s time to tear apart The Tommyknockers, written by the venerable Stephen King and published in 1987. In his long and prolific history of writing, King has both gems and duds. Even within a work, his improvised storytelling technique tends to turn out both brilliant moments … read more »