Writing

Six Common Forms of Bad Writing Advice

A Medieval painting of a university lecture.

It probably won’t surprise you that there’s a lot of writing advice out there. Everyone seems to have their own take on this endeavor we call storytelling. That’s to be expected, but it’s often hard to tell the good tips from the bad. Without the … read more »

How to Avoid Melodrama in Your Writing

On the cover of The calculating stars, a group of women walk in front of a night sky overlaid with a start chart.

Melodramatic writing is a common mistake for writers. Most of us want our stories to have emotional impact, but if we don’t understand how that’s accomplished on a technical level, it’s easy to end up with purple prose instead. Let’s have a look at what … read more »

Lessons From the Writing of The Name of the Wind

man wearing black cloak in the woods

You asked me to critique The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, so here we are. What will win: this award-winning, best-selling, critically acclaimed book, or my dislike of practically everything? Read on to see! While I usually record my first reactions to a … read more »

227 – Voice

The Mythcreant Podcast

An author’s voice is generally considered to be important; sometimes it’s even said to be the most important element of writing. But what is voice, exactly? Is it really that important? Does it change from book to book, and how is it different from character … read more »

Seven Ways Writers Sabotage Beta Reading

A woman dressed in a fancy steam punk outfit reads book through her monocle

Beta reading is a critical part of the writing process. It’s a preview of how real-life human beings will respond to your work, something every author should get before their book hits primetime. And yet, I keep seeing authors mishandle the beta reading process. Over … read more »

How Do I Communicate My Character Is Black?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Hello! I love this site and really appreciate the depth of thought you put into the articles here and how you approach difficult topics. I was hoping for a little help with introducing a physical description of a character. I am aware of the clichés … read more »

Planning Your Story’s Opening Passages

Double doors opening with a bright sky on the other side

Readers have a lot to learn during an opening, and somehow they have to learn it while being entertained. Doing that takes a careful, piecemeal approach. However, all the information readers need is often interconnected, making it difficult to figure out where to start explaining … read more »

The Five Stages of Becoming a Fiction Writer

I’ve heard many people describe their progression as a writer, and I’ve been surprised not by how different these stories are, but how similar. That doesn’t mean everyone goes through these specific steps or does it in exactly this order, just that these growth experiences … read more »

Narrating a Close Point of View

A magnifying glass focuses on a character in a painting

Many writers hope to create the immersive experiences they watch on a screen. Ironically, delivering the most immersive experience in writing depends on learning techniques that don’t exist in film. The narrative style writers need for this is close perspective. Read more »

How to Use the Uncanny in Your Writing

A hand with all of the fingers the same length. Eye whites that aren’t white. Seeing a stranger in the mirror. A subtler cousin of horror, the uncanny is more about discomfort than fear. Sigmund Freud* described it as, in greatly paraphrased form here, making … read more »